Me and Cat were talking recently about the stories we wrote as teens. I was consumed by a melodrama that has only matured somewhat.
As we were talking I remembered the feel and texture of one of my notebooks – a recycled-paper thing, with flowers on the cover. Shortly after I got my own room for the first time (can I be remembering that right? At 11/12?) I started sitting on my bed for hours at a time, writing. We’d just had all the carpets steamed, and writing was a good way to escape the smell.
The story I put in that notebook was this:
A girl was travelling on a ship from one continent to another (I’ve just remembered, it was a diary!). She and a raggedy ship-boy came to understand one another, if you know what I mean.
Then there was a terrible shipwreck! Shock! Horror!
Lucky for her, she was saved by a merperson colony on the seafloor. Then she had gills cut into her throat and became a productive member of society. She married a nice merman.
Then one day a dashing stranger turned up – a human! I can’t remember how long it took her to realise what I am sure is already clear to you… Twas the ship-boy, and he’d never given up on her.
He underwent an initiation ceremony, which I think involved fighting a shark and, of course, having gills cut, bloody and rough, straight into his lungs.
Move over Stephenie Meyer.
I think Transformation is an important theme, essential really, and very prominent in the writing of teenagers who are, after all, undergoing some of the biggest changes of their lives. It was certainly a big theme for my writing and my dreams at that age.
you’re so right – here is the transformation, see? We were talking in class the other day about what makes YA fiction, and that seems like the defining factor, the “coming of age” part. My teacher said that for this reason she thinks Harry Potter children’s rather than YA, even though they grow up and start kissing. It makes sense, and I think I agree.