Confessions of a Goody Two-Shoes by Donna

Bret and Veronica wrote great posts in the past about staying true to your own story.  You can read it here and here.  This week we shift gears just a bit and talk about staying true to ourselves and our audience. When writing for teens, this can be especially challenging.

I'm going to confess something shocking in the teen lit world (especially in the contemporary story world).

I was a Goody-TwoShoes.

No, don't roll your eyes.  It gets worse.

I was the teen who didn't wrap houses because it was "against the rules."  I didn't skip out on senior skip day.  I never smoked or did drugs. I didn't have underage sex. I didn't use the F word (or many other curse words for that matter). I was an A student, honor club member, and sang in the church choir.

You get the picture.

Don't get me wrong, I still READ BOOKS about drugs, sex and breaking the rules (and I still do), but I also read (and write) books that are true to my own teen identity.  I would love to write with a sizzling, sexy voice (like Talia's) or with gorgeous, rich description (like Katherine's), but I can't write that way. It doesn't feel like ME. My writing voice is pretty goody two-shoeish.  That's okay with me.  I believe there is room in the teen writing world for Goody Two-Shoes, just as there is the need for stories from the other end of the spectrum (and everything in between).

 I'm not advising anyone write characters only like themselves.  Far from it.  But I am suggesting a writer's true voice is steeped in the past--the unique blend of all we were together with who we are.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." 

So I challenge you to honor the past and respect the teen you were--even if you were a Goody-Twoshoes.  That cup you've been filling over the years is the "stuff" of your unique writing voice.


I love what you wrote, Donna. There's a gold mine in experiences from our teen years, no matter what they were like.

Donna, I read this on Monday & have since directly applied it to the protagonist of my SNN. All of my characters are a little bit "me," but this sparked a new idea!

Oh, this is magical. Thanks, Donna.

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