I had never heard of the New Adult genre until I landed my book deal, and my editor at St. Martin’s Press told me that’s what I wrote. I hadn't realized there was a category for my story, other than romantic suspense. All I knew, at the time, was that I was looking for a certain kind of story involving certain kinds of people. When I couldn’t find it, I decided to write it. That is how I landed in New Adult.

The more I investigated this emerging genre, the more worried I became. What do you mean its target demographic is 18 to 25-year-olds? Having celebrated more than a couple of anniversaries of my 29th birthday, I thought there was no way I could write stories that honestly related to people of this age. So, how did I do it?

I am an avid people watcher. I assume most writers are. I love to back my introvert self into a quiet corner and watch a room full of people. By observing body language and listening to conversations, it is easy to submerge yourself into a world you may not naturally be a part of. To do research for my novels, I just made my people-watching location age specific.

I needed to write about college-age characters, so I parked myself where college-age people hang out. I took notes on how they flirted, how they interacted with strangers, and listed any words or terms I was unfamiliar with. Later, I would go home and search the web for things like “totes ma goats” and “booty crickets.” (I’m still not sure about that second one.)

Another way to keep up with a younger generation is to spend a lot of time on social media. You couldn’t even comprehend the things I’ve learned on Twitter. Most days, I’m amazed by the amount of WTF that fits into 140 characters or less. Facebook not only keeps me updated on where they’re hanging out and what topics are trending, but also their reactions to the latest Kanye stunt or how they really feel about stuffed crust pizza.


Now, all of this may make me out to be a creepy old lady lurking around college campuses. But I’m not. I swear. I’ve always gravitated towards younger people. Maybe it’s a Peter Pan complex and my refusal to grow up. Maybe I’m just attracted to that youthful energy. I figure if you average my mental age and my physical age, I’d end up somewhere in my early twenties. So, don’t judge me, bro.






Post a Comment

  1. Nice, Season! People-watching is one of my favorite past-times. ;)

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  2. I feel like I'm always trying to catch up to the younger generation :)

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  3. What does it say about me that I've always gotten on better with those older than me? I swear, I'm going to start writing "old adult." Think it'll catch on? I'll start a new blog: Old Adult Park Bench. Or Cruise Ship. Where do old adults hang out if new adults hang out in an alley? I'm already failing at this...

    Great post!

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  4. Nicely said Season! I'm a total people watcher too. We have to be. Such a great idea to go to a campus and watch since that's the age we write about. I have a sharp memory of those years but so much has changed since I was that age. It helps me watching movies too to keep up with the lingo.
    I really wanna know what booty crickets are!!

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  5. I think a huge part of our job as writers is to put ourselves into the shoes of others. We have to see the world from other points of view or we'll never convince our readers to suspend their realities enough to enjoy the story. Love your process for getting into the new adult's head space. Creeper gotta creep, yo! :-)

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  6. Very interesting insight into your process and its accidental outcome. I seem to have written an NA novel myself without knowing quite what I was up to. Glad I'm not the only one. :). Congrats on your book deal!

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  7. Very interesting insight into your process and its accidental outcome. I seem to have written an NA novel myself without knowing quite what I was up to. Glad I'm not the only one. :). Congrats on your book deal!

    ReplyDelete

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