Amy Scripps

Posts Tagged ‘teens’

Getting into the Teenage Mind: The Attraction of Risks

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I am currently writing a teen boy character, and I’ve been looking in to how they think and act. In a sense, I am inherently writing from the viewpoint of an unreliable narrator, because there are deeply irrational thought processes as work here which, unless you are under the influence of a powerful cocktail of adolescent hormones, you must stretch to understand. Slate published a series on risk and the adolescent brain last year that has been helpful. Basically, if you are writing a character with normal logic who is 16, you are not doing your job as a YA author. Check it out:

Young Adult Books Need Relatable Rebels to Attract Boys

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm

This article is really interesting. My new book has a male protagonist, so I suppose I’ve unwittingly entered the challenging arena of trying to get boys to read. Or, I am hoping girls will read because they have a crush on him. Either way, we are all fighting against the draw of the ipad, gaming and an ever-growing barrage of media competing for the young adult boy’s eyeballs. Is there any way that we, as writers, and/or publishing in general, have played a part in making books irrelevant to todays teen boys? The article below has some ideas for how we can get back on the same team with this important reader, and bring them back into the fold…

Libba Bray, I can’t wait to read your book

In 1 on April 16, 2010 at 7:26 am

A shiny copy of Going Bovine is sitting on my bedside table today and I can’t wait to crack it. I was lucky enough to see Libba Bray speak last Saturday and she seemed like such an organic, prodigious talent. It’s inspiring to see the level of literary creativity in the genre right now. I need to see what I would call “real writers” in YA, because I do get discouraged by some of the extreme genre work out there. Mainly because I know I couldn’t do that kind of work.

When asked what made her write and how she became a writer, Bray told of a personal tragedy that turned her diary into her lifeline… and the rest was history. Thank you, Libba, for sharing this with us and for your courage to busta move out of the expected.

You also have a career in standup should you ever tire of being a Michael L. Prinz Award-winning writer…

What is your personal legend?

In 1 on March 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Excerpt #3

In 1 on February 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm

After examining the grime under my fingernails, I broke the silence.

“Do you miss it?”

“What?” Lisa asked.


Lisa looked at me then went back to her charcoal sketch of an unlaced hiking boot. A fresh wave of anxiety doused my stomach as I waited for her answer.

“Hell no,” she finally murmured.

“Not even laying out at the Boulder Reservoir? Or going to Chautauqua?”

“A little sun would be nice,” she smiled.

Chautauqua was the park in Boulder where our neighborhood west of the university, known as The Hill, dead-ended at the foothills. Nestled just below the city’s jagged Flatirons – gentle mountains faced with massive sloping anvils of red rock – the park was a hub of activity for college students heading out for a hike or a Frisbee match, and for idle teenagers. While two-dollar movies played in a cavernous old wooden theater, bands of our friends roamed the foothill trails, having told their parents they were going to the movies.

“Why did you want to get away so bad? Did something happen with your mom and Tim?”

“Well, after he moved in, I could hear them at night.”


“I know,” Lisa said in a low voice. “But that wasn’t really the reason.”


I wanted more details on her mother and Tim, but I decided not to ask. Teepee life didn’t offer much in the way of luxuries, but it did offer a ton of privacy. I didn’t want to invade hers. I was worried that Lisa rued the day she gave up her sun-drenched summer at ‘the ‘Res’ to isolate in this cold, glorified mud puddle. To distract myself from my imminent abandonment, I scribbled anxious notes in my journal. Suddenly, Lisa looked up from her sketch.

“Remember Mrs. McBride – Trish, who I babysat for up on Mapleton Hill?”


I had visited Lisa at Trish’s house several times over the winter. An imposing white brick house with green shutters and colonial columns, you could pick the whole house up and plunk it in one of the east coast’s most stately suburbs and it would fit right in.

“She kind of spilled her guts to me.”

“Really? She seemed stuck up when I met her.”

“Yeah, that went out the window after I’d worked for her for a few months,” Lisa said. “She’s actually really friendly.”

Mapleton Hill was a leafy, tree-lined street that culminated in a narrow but beautiful canyon. Our house was near by, but being Mapleton-adjacent was a far cry from actually living on Boulder’s nicest street. Trish McBride and her professor husband had moved away from their upper crust roots, but her blue blood pedigree permeated the house’s museum-quality oriental rugs, Tiffany candlesticks and strikingly well-painted family portraits hung amidst Trish’s stark black and white photography.

“What did she say?”

“She said she wants to raise her young children in Boulder, so they can have a normal childhood. Then she told me she is horribly lonely.”

“No duh! She’s telling her life story to the babysitter!”

“She hasn’t slept with her husband for two years.”

“Whoa. Weird.”

“That’s nothing compared to what came next. She told me that she was attracted to women, and that over the past few months, she had fallen in love with me.”

“Gross!” I gasped.

Lisa looked up from her sketchbook.

“You think?”

“I don’t know. I just can’t picture her telling you that! Did you freak?” I asked.

“By the time she finally said it, I kind of already knew.”

“Did she make a pass at you?”

I was practically shouting. I mentally vowed to calm down. Lisa was confiding all of this in such a quiet, unperturbed voice.

“No. She never touched me, except for an occasional shoulder rub. We used to give each other shoulder rubs.”

“What did you do?”

“I told her I was flattered but I just want to be friends. But things were never the same after that. I didn’t really want to have any physical contact with her. She’s a nice lady, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But I got creeped out by the shoulder rubs after I knew what she was thinking. I had to tell her to stop.”

“What a trip!”

“I try not to judge her, because she’s really nice. And she wanted to help me out so badly. She asked me to keep working for her, and I did. But often, she wouldn’t even go out. I didn’t really know what to do. It felt strange, like she was paying me to hang out with her.

Outside, the rain swept against our canvas walls in sheets.

“God, she sounds a little desperate,” I suggested.

“Yeah. I know. By the time you invited me to the teepee, I was ready to just get away from the whole thing.”

“Damn. The woman doesn’t look like a lesbian.”

“What does a lesbian look like?”

“Motorcycles and lots of leather,” I said.

Lisa laughed.

“Not always.”

Lisa got up, threw on a poncho and stepped out of the teepee into the rain. It seemed like she considered the matter closed, although I had hundreds of questions about Trish, her bizarre confession and, most of all, Lisa’s reaction to it. How would it feel to let your guard down with a woman and to find out that she was just as hot for you as any guy? For a moment, I honestly felt for Lisa. I wanted to ask if having everyone – even women —  want you got to be a nightmare. But I decided not to probe. If I showed too much interest in Lisa’s secret, who was to say she wouldn’t uncover mine?

Girls in Movies Face Horrors of a Personal Nature

In 1 on January 6, 2010 at 3:30 am

(exerpted from the LA Times)

“The young heroines of ‘Precious,’ ‘New Moon’ and ‘The Lovely Bones’ try to lead ordinary lives but instead face harrowing experiences. But the movies are more restrained than the books on which they are based.

By Lizzie Skurnick

January 2, 2010

At first blush, the heroines of the films “Precious,” “New Moon” and “The Lovely Bones” seem to have little in common — except that they all started out as characters in novels.

Precious is an abused, teenage mother who can barely read. “New Moon’s” Bella is a vampire-in-waiting who lives to be courted by a glittering heartthrob of the undead. Susie, the narrator of “The Lovely Bones,” is the product of the kind of suburban idyll for which Kodachrome was invented.

Yet despite these diverging narratives, these girls are deeply, sweetly ordinary. All three want to feel comfortable with what they see in the mirror. All three want the boy they like to kiss them. All three would prefer not to be social outcasts, all three want happy family lives and all three will never, ever get any of these things.

It is, to put it mildly, not a great season to be a girl on screen. If we take the three books-to-films as a rule, sheer carnage is the order of the day.

In “The Lovely Bones,” Susie is raped and killed by a neighbor… Bella is always a kiss or paw swipe away from being slaughtered by a boyfriend — if she’s not hurling herself over a cliff in pursuit of one. Precious is the victim of beatings and incest by mother and father.”

I am heartened by the fact that current films are not sugar coating the experience of being a teenage girl in the modern world. The juxtaposition of adult pathos and youthful innocence is what intrigues me about YA stories. Now I need to quit blogging and get back to my new book– and my young heroine in harrowing circumstances…

click on photo for full story

Seven Things Teens Love About the Cinnamon Girls

In 1 on December 23, 2009 at 8:59 pm

1. They are brutally honest about their problems (bulemia, drug use, etc.) but never preachy
2. They are free to do as they damn well please (for a summer)
3. They call the shots when it comes to boys, not the other way around
4. They are brave
5. They stick together
6. They wear late 70s garb like bandannas tied into halter tops and overalls fashioned into mini dresses
7. They drive a jeep that is older than they are

Late 1970s Portrayed in The Lovely Bones, The Runaways

In 1 on December 17, 2009 at 4:43 pm

My YA novel Cinnamon Girls is set in 1979. Lately the movie world is demonstrating much teen interest in that oh-so-different era. The Lovely Bones movie has been marketed to the teen audience – with much success (see below.) I believe that it is a fantasy era for teens, with the almost bizarre amount of freedom and experimentation going on, and the tendency for parents to chuck the rules and try something new. Very different from the tight restrictions placed on teens today, although these freedoms of the late 70s often came at a high price.

With the Twilight-targeted movie The Runaways coming out this spring, starring Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, teen interest in the 1970s will hit an all time high (view the trailer here: )

click on photo for full story

Things I need to know about my main character

In 1 on November 25, 2009 at 2:12 am

Anger – Why is my character so pissed off (currently & historically?)

Envy – Who has stuff she wants but feels cheated out of having?

Loneliness – How does she hide her feelings of being utterly alone?

Determination – what accomplishment does she believe will “fix” her?

Isolation – In what way is she a misfit?

Lust – Who is unavailable to her and therefore exquisitely desirable?

Longing – If she could have her perfect world, what would it look like?

Survival – what does my character overcome in order to survive?

Blankie – What object from childhood does she still love –  a last vestige of being a little girl?

Shower warbling – what is her theme song?

Who Are You?

In 1 on November 24, 2009 at 12:17 am

This is the most important question a 15 year old girl faces. Her ability to formulate an answer during her teenage years will radically affect the course of her life…


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