Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Writer Problem #1: High School Politics

This is a problem that I’m pretty sure not a lot of other people have. I believe that it is something that is unique to me, but I understand that some other people who are in a similar situation that I am in could have this problem as well.
            So, writing high school politics, it shouldn’t be too hard right? Everyone went or goes to high school, so they should be able to base that off of their experience in life right? Wrong. I’m not saying that I dropped out of high school, because I am currently in high school, but I don’t go to a normal high school. I go to a private all girls’ high school.
            This normally on the surface doesn’t seem like it should be such a problem, at least it shouldn’t affect my writing at all. However, after writing The Unusual Isles (which almost all of the characters are high school students) and looking back at their characters, I realized that none of them really seem that realistic, their problems are stereotypical, along with some of their personalities, and I feel some of their qualities are over exaggerated. It’s nice that I’ve noticed it after the book is done and has been edited seven times.
            The environment at a private all girl high school is very different than that of a public school, or even any other co-ed school for that matter. There’s a sense of “sisterhood” and that everyone is a family, pretty much no bullying, there is a lot less drama since there are no boys to argue over, you play your big homecoming game against yourself, and we can get pink shirts for a club without causing uproar. I shouldn’t complain THAT much, but with this however also comes a LOT of people being fake, SUPER tight cliques, and this weird kind of dividing line between those who are really rich, and those who are poor since they spent all their money paying for tuition.
            Because this is the high school environment I grew up in, I realized that I don’t know how realistic high school politics work and I just noticed how my writing has been affected because of it. All of the characters are stereotypical because that is the only thing that I’ve been exposed to through TV shows, movies, and books. I don’t know if any of my characters are realistic enough to be liked by an audience because they seem so stereotypical to any other books about high school teenagers. I realized that my book consists of characters like the blonde stuck up cheerleader, the smart Asian kid, the bullied awkward ginger, a girl with depression and a jock that falls in love with her, and feuding football quarterbacks. When I actually sat back to think about that, the reality of how stereotypical they seems actually hit me for the first time.
            This is a problem I really don’t know how to fix. I’m graduating next year and I’m obviously not going to re-do high school just so I can gain experience for my writing. This is just something that will always be a barrier for me, and it’s just something that I need to learn to get over as a writer. I understand that there is nothing that I can do about it now, but I’m hoping that I’ll learn to get over it as a writer in the future.
            Since the age and maturity of my books seems to change with my own age and maturity when I get older, I also realized that I am going to face a similar problem once I get to college. Yes, I and going from a private all girl high school to a privately owned college where the campus is 70% female. So this means I’m never really going to get that college experience that most people have. I’m not staying in a dorm and I doubt there will be many parties.
            People could find a very easy solution to this problem by telling me “why don’t you write a book about an all girl private high school if that’s what you know in real life?” To this I have a very simple response. Realistically, I have enough of that in real life than I would like to deal with. I don’t need or want to write a book about it.

So, I really want to know if anyone else has this problem or anything similar to it. Leave a comment down below letting me know!