Tuesday, February 6, 2018

EVERYONE A WINNER AT WIK'18: Deborah Halverson and Teen Talk Tips

The deadline for submitting manuscripts for formal critiques may have passed (hope you all got your manuscripts in on time!), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great opportunities for those attending wik’18 to enhance their conference experience with optional activities. 

There are still slots available for One-on-One sessions with an agent, and Linda Sue Park, Matt Ringler, Janice Hardy, Heather Montgomery and Jodi Wheeler Toppen, Kami Kinard and Rebecca Petruck, and Deborah Halverson are all teaching morning intensives on Sunday.

Deborah Halverson is one of SCBWI’s superstar teachers. When it comes to writing for teens, she wrote the book – literally, THE book on how to write for teens and young adults.

We hear it all the time: you need to have the right “voice” for your teenage character. Easier said than done when it comes to writing dialogue. For some of us it has been decades since we were teens ourselves, and have you tried to actually talk with teens the way teens talk?

Oh, the way they look at you, like you’re all creepy or weird even if you get the jargon just right. There’s just something about an AARP member throwing around teen slang in a conversation that feels awkward.

So if you can’t converse in teen-talk with teens to make sure you get it right, what can you do to develop that skill?

I was lucky enough to attend one of Deborah’s intensives on writing for a teen audience while at an SCBWI conference, and know that those attending her intensive will come out with new tools in their writing toolbox. You won’t want to miss a single tip, resource url or sneaky way to eavesdrop on teens talking with teens. Way better than camping out at the food court in the mall.


Claudia Pearson, Regional Advisor for Southern Breeze, is a retired trial attorney, earned a masters degree from Hollins University in Children's Literature, speaks French, and once worked as a sous chef in a French restaurant. She writes a bit of everything and has published two books about children's books.

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