It’s no big deal really, unless you do want it to be big…unless you want to make it big. The only thing that differentiates an adult writer from a teenage one, I suppose, is perspective and how one projects what one sees. But then that can also be excused as style, can’t it? Style. Maybe there really is no difference and the “difference” we see is actually just a variety of styles–writing what you see in a way that fits how you see what you see. When you put that perspective of yours on paper, how it looks like on paper is your style. There are many different angles to perspective, and matching that chosen angle with your style of writing increasing the chances of uniqueness.
I guess what’s different doesn’t lie in the mental capabilities, but in the emotional one. The mental capabilities in the first place, just because they are all different, make them the same. That way they can’t be compared , only contrasted. The emotional capabilities lie in whether or not you can handle the criticism, whether or not you can handle what’s thrown at your back or at your front. There will be people who won’t be able to see what you see, who won’t agree with what you write, and they WILL express this. The adult writer, far more mature and experienced, will simply shrug it off without giving it a second thought. As for the teenage writer, it depends on how much you can handle. I can handle the insults–I don’t get hurt. What’s wrong with me is that I can’t handle the compliments. It’s the compliments that cause me to change my way of writing, especially when it’s said to me straight away. I’d rather that the compliments beat themselves around the bush than present themselves to me in a direct manner. I don’t know. I tend to over think things, and it makes me think how much truth there is in those compliments. Just the cynical side of me. The insults don’t change me as a writer. They simply challenge me. It’s when there are too much compliments that I tend to suspect something is wrong.
Then there’s experience, confidence, and the doubt that comes from the lack of the two. Adult writers, who too started young (younger than they are now), are more experienced; they’ve written more books, faced more criticisms, passed all those emotional factors. Because of this, I guess confidence just naturally emerges. They young writer, however, tends to doubt. I do, at least. Of course I know that soon this will all go away anyway and that this temporal state won’t matter in the future. As of now I simply try to feed on experiences of other authors. I feed on what they say about writing and I see patterns and similarities to mine, so I take what they say as advice. Makes me feel normal, I suppose, to be surrounded by ideas of those who weren’t considered normal back then.
At first, I thought my way of writing was strange, abnormal, especially since all I do is write what I see. I see the characters playing in my head as if they had their own lives, as if I was only an observer. What they did, I had to write down. I had no control over them. In time, I became comfortable with a serial killer running loose in my mind. It wasn’t the killer himself who scared me, but the fact that I was comfortable with that. The fact that I had no control over such characters as they mingled with my thoughts caused me to slightly question my sanity. Then I ran into Thomas Harris’ “Red Dragon”. Harris, in his “Foreword to a Fatal Interview”, wrote, “You must understand that when you are writing a novel you are not making anything up. It’s all there and you just have to find it.” To me, this meant that what I was experiencing was what he had experienced. He just seemed to be more at ease with it than I was. He seemed to accept what would happen to him every time he’d write. This was probably the first advice I took. The first piece of advice that didn’t seem to push me or force me into common structures and order.
I recently read Luigi Pirandello’s “A Breath of Air”, which made me take interest in him. I looked up some of his quotes, one of which was: “When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situations which they suggest to him.” Vladimir Nabokov, the author and entomologist I have taken a great interest in said, “The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” That’s three authors who have experienced what I had experienced when writing “Keeping Her in the Light.”
History, because we can learn from it, teaches us to first learn from it before we can actually learn from it. Things said and written by authors in the past who, though they have died, have written works that live on, are things that teach, that comfort us, telling us that we aren’t the only ones feeling such things.
Those who write young would do well to heed their advice masked as quotes. It took them far and it will take us even farther.