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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Research => Topic started by: Christine B. on July 21, 2012, 02:29 PM

Title: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Christine B. on July 21, 2012, 02:29 PM
Okay, for all of you who have teenaged daughters (or who have been a fifteen year old girl at some point in your lives)...is there such thing as a fifteen year old girl who doesn't have a crush on somebody? I'm not talking about a girl who has absolutely no crushes--I'm just saying, would you believe a fifteen year old girl who sort of has this picture in her head of her knight in shining armor, but no one she knows at present fits the bill? In other words, she might see boys around and think they're cute, but she's not focusing in on one person at present.

Maybe I am worrying for no reason. A crush doesn't fit into my plot so adding one just for authenticity's sake is not where I want to go. And maybe I am over-estimating this, but I feel like crushes are a BIG DEAL when you are a 15 year old girl...but I'd really rather give her a general "someday my prince will come" kind of crush -- more like a movie star crush, rather than a crush on the boy down the street. Would you believe a fifteen year old who felt this way?

(Don't know why I can't figure this out in my own memory...I must have mentally blocked all the boys I ever had a crush on when I was fifteen years old, lol!)

Thank you as always!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: DonnaE on July 21, 2012, 02:43 PM
I DO know a girl like that. She is my daughter's best friend. Very normal, funny and precious girl - and sounds exactly like the 15yo you described.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: MysteryRobin on July 21, 2012, 02:51 PM
I certainly don't think every 15 year old girl has a crush at all times. :)
In fact - did I know anyone I liked when I was 15? I don't think so - 14 yes and 16 yes, but 15 feels like a wasteland to me. LOL!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Christine B. on July 21, 2012, 03:10 PM
Thank you both! I am working on draft 2 of my WIP and I am questioning every detail for authenticity...in draft 1, it was so easy to just say, "Hmm...she might have a crush, we'll deal with that later." But now in draft 2, I am trying to answer all those open questions. The mc is a princess who is being "shopped around" to potential suitors (of course she hates all those guys -- a bunch of greedy jerks!). But then it made me think, well if marriage is on the horizon, I should resolve the crush issue...Anyway, thank you for the response and I will keep checking back for more opinions!

(Robin...yeah, I think I might have blocked 15 too...  ;)  )
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: DonnaE on July 21, 2012, 03:16 PM
In that situation, I can certainly understand if she did NOT have a crush on anyone. If someone were trying to "shop me around", I'd rebel and against the system that had pigeon-holed me. 

So yeah - it sounds reasonable! (of course, a knight in shining armour could rescue her, giving her the choice to like or not like him!) :)
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: EmeraldGown on July 21, 2012, 03:18 PM
Yes.  Sometimes there be slim pickin's in one's immediate reality.  :-)
I think it would be refreshing to read about such a girl, too!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Larissa on July 21, 2012, 03:30 PM
Totally reasonable. Especially given the situation you presented.  Even in a more contemporary piece, though, if she had a bad relationship or something, she might stay away from guys for a while.  So I wouldn't question it at all.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Melissa K on July 21, 2012, 03:36 PM
I agree that a fifteen-year-old can be crushless. I seem to remember being enamored almost entirely with unattainable people--much older guys, movie stars, etc.--rather than people my own age. They were crushes in a way, I suppose, but I never expected or planned for or really even wanted anything to come of them.

It's worth noting that there could be parts of your character's life that don't figure into the story. I mean, she probably has some romantic thoughts/feelings some of the time, but if they're not important to your story, they won't necessarily come up.

Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: olmue on July 21, 2012, 04:24 PM
She could be in between crushes--maybe when she was younger, she liked someone, and now she's seen the error of her ways and what a dumb guy he turned out to be! And she realizes there's nobody better than that around, and she feels the lack thereof--but not enough to be in like with any of the immediate choices.

When I was 15 I had just moved, and while I had friends who were guys, I didn't have a crush, either. The previous crushes were um, dumb,* and I was just sort of feeling my way into a new place.

*Hopefully they have matured into wonderful human beings, but you've got to admit that 12-14O boys are kind of clueless at times...
**I was also not the fastest-blooming girl around...
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Christine B. on July 21, 2012, 04:35 PM
It's worth noting that there could be parts of your character's life that don't figure into the story.

I think this is exactly right. So hopefully I can make her a relatable character who undoubtedly has all those usual teenage crush-like feelings without addressing them in a focused or specific way.

I think part of the reason I worried about this was that I just finished reading a book (a really good one!) where I had one issue with the 17 year old mc, which was that she claimed never to have had any romantic feelings. I could be totally small-minded about this, but that was the one detail I didn't buy. Maybe because she ended up having romantic feelings later, but not in an AHA! moment, just in an "okay, so now I like this guy after all" way. I guess I'm hoping to make it clear that my m.c. is open to those feelings without making them part of the story.

Thank you again so much, everyone!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Julia K. on July 21, 2012, 04:36 PM
It can go either way- one daughter had no interest in any boy until she was 16 and now she has a serious boyfriend ( when she was 17) . My other daughter is 14 and still thinks seeing people kiss is gross- but always has a boy she likes at school. But Her friend I think was dating at 14.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: AuntyBooks on July 21, 2012, 05:27 PM
Some girls don't have crushes at 15. I didn't. Or 16 or 17.... I fell in love at 18 and married the fellow a couple of years later. We've been together 30+ years now.

:) eab
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Vijaya on July 21, 2012, 05:58 PM
Not all 15-yr olds have crushes or are even thinking about boys. I didn't. Like eab, I met my husband at age 19, though we were pretty stupid, selfish and full of ourselves to actually get married. We tied the knot 10 years later :) But I digress.
Vijaya
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: C.K. on July 21, 2012, 06:42 PM
I was totally like that at 15. Mostly had crushes on people like rock stars and actors because they seemed more interesting than the guys I actually knew.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: vivalalauren on July 21, 2012, 10:06 PM
When I was 15, I was really into the WB's Smallville. I thought Tom Welling was perfect, and no real guys could compare. Granted, that later gave way to me crushing on Lois Lane and realizing I was a lesbian, but that's beside the point. :)
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: RJ_Anderson on July 22, 2012, 04:05 PM
And some teenaged girls are genuinely asexual and aromantic and do not experience sexual attraction, not merely at the age of 15 but also at 17 and 19 (and beyond). It's definitely not impossible, and not as rare as you might imagine. And those girls are desperately longing to see characters like themselves in a book, even if those characters don't explicitly identify themselves as asexual.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Christine B. on July 22, 2012, 04:27 PM
I think those are great points, RJ (and everyone). There are girls who feel a variety of ways, whether it be very interested, not interested, uncertain, etc. I think the main thing is knowing as many details about your character as possible. In this case, romance will factor in later, so I want to set up where she stands on the issue, without focusing on it, if that makes sense.

In the book I read that didn't convince me, the mc explicitly stated and reinforced through her actions that human relationships, especially romantic ones, were not that important to her. I believed her...until a boy suddenly came along who without any resistance changed her attitude toward romance and friendship and she fell head over heels and changed her prior feelings in an instant. I needed to see her transition -- in which case, the story would have been about a girl learning to have relationships, friendly or romantic, and it was not about that at all. I guess the writer had other transitions that were more important to her, but then I would have bought into the story more if she'd just set up the girl's story slightly differently. And yet this is a best-selling novel!

The responses have helped me focus in on what I'm trying to acheive: my character later becomes fiercely jealous of a friend's romantic relationship, so I want to set up that she obviously has some interest, without pinpointing a specific person she is interested in. I hope I am making sense -- sorry for rambling! I am a person who needs to hash things out to figure things out!  :)
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: RJ_Anderson on July 22, 2012, 05:46 PM
Christine, what you're saying about what didn't work for you in that other story makes total sense, and it sounds like reading that book was a good thing because it clarified what you don't want to do with your own. And really the important thing isn't what the "average" or stereotypical teen would do, but rather what rings true to your character and her journey over the course of the novel...
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Liz Straw on July 22, 2012, 06:44 PM
I also think it depends on the group of friends you are in, the not so popular kids, popular kids, jocks, etc. However this plays out in your book or in real life.  I was not in a popular group, the guys that fell in my category were very immature and I never had a crush on them, crushes on popular guys were very short term - until you learned some of their true personality (some were very shallow), crushes on good looking movie/tv/band stars were always sort of there, but reality said not happening. 

I noticed the group of kids that go to my church, that many of them hang out in large numbers together.  Most do not pair up until junior or senior years and still, their is that going out as a group.  When I see their pictures from school dances, if I did not know who was dating whom it would be hard to tell from looking at the pictures as they are always trading off partners to dance, standing in groups together, etc.  I think some of the guy and some of the girls even go without dates or they hook each other up so they will have someone to be a partner with at the dance.  Still with this group, one girl has been partnered with the same guy since she was 13 or 14 and has now graduated from high school. 
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Hannah on July 22, 2012, 07:27 PM
Yes? I think when I was that age, I mostly made up amalgams of people from real life and that I made up and threw them into one package that I liked, usually with a real life name, like Shia LaBeouf or Brad Pitt, but obviously not based on someone. I can't imagine having a totally "original" crush because I don't buy that our brains work that way to totally make up at least a physical example of something we've never seen, but that could just be me.

When I think about it, quite frankly, I'm almost 24 and I still have the tendency to do that.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: MysteryRobin on July 23, 2012, 12:41 AM
Honestly, I think it makes *more* sense for your character to not have a crush, then get jealous, rather than to have a crush and get jealous - unless the crush is on her friends significant other. Because, when I had real crushes on guys, I didn't care a bit about who my friends hooked up with, because I was so convinced that my guy was better. Even if all he did was nod at me in the halls. ;) They were all sadly settling as far as I was concerned. ;)
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Vijaya on July 23, 2012, 08:38 AM
"And really the important thing isn't what the "average" or stereotypical teen would do, but rather what rings true to your character and her journey over the course of the novel..."

This from RJ!
Vijaya
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: guitarnaiad on July 23, 2012, 09:08 AM
Yep. I was that fifteen year old girl :)
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: KMT on July 23, 2012, 12:32 PM
"would you believe a fifteen year old girl who sort of has this picture in her head of her knight in shining armor, but no one she knows at present fits the bill? In other words, she might see boys around and think they're cute, but she's not focusing in on one person at present."

Absolutely! I didn't experience a crush, either, until I was a junior in college, though I thought that certain actors/scientists/journalists/etc. were attractive. (If Harrison Ford or Jim Fowler [from Wild Kingdom] had dropped by the house and asked me to marry him, I would have said "Yes!"   :applause )That "boy-crazy" phase that most of my peers went through completely bypassed me.

(I am rather relieved to read the posts here. Conversations with others on this topic have tended to leave me feeling rather freakish, even though my teen years are three decades behind me.)
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Christine B. on July 23, 2012, 01:06 PM
KMT -- Oh it was TOTALLY all about Harrison Ford for me!

You know it's funny you mention you have tended to feel freakish because I can relate. I lived a very sheltered teenaged life at an all girls high school. I had a couple of male friends I made through arts programs and a music camp I went to, but they were gay and I didn't have a crush on them. I really was not around a lot of boys, and therefore did not have many crushes on real people, and I too have always felt like this is totally abnormal. Which is probably the reason for my paranoia about getting it right!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: vivalalauren on July 23, 2012, 02:14 PM
And some teenaged girls are genuinely asexual and aromantic and do not experience sexual attraction, not merely at the age of 15 but also at 17 and 19 (and beyond). It's definitely not impossible, and not as rare as you might imagine. And those girls are desperately longing to see characters like themselves in a book, even if those characters don't explicitly identify themselves as asexual.

Excellent point. I can't think of a book where that's even been done, That makes me sad.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: KMT on July 23, 2012, 06:38 PM
I lived a very sheltered teenaged life at an all girls high school. I had a couple of male friends I made through arts programs and a music camp I went to, but they were gay and I didn't have a crush on them. I really was not around a lot of boys, and therefore did not have many crushes on real people, and I too have always felt like this is totally abnormal. Which is probably the reason for my paranoia about getting it right!

I went to ordinary public schools, had a younger brother with friends, etc., so it can happen even to those of us who weren't sheltered, so, though you're right to want to get it "right," you don't need to worry that you're creating something that doesn't exist!

RJ and VivaLaLauren have a good point. I never read much YA when I was a kid, in part because there seemed to be so much "young romance" to which I just could not relate. It was easier to read adult books that, even if they had romantic relationships, didn't make me personally feel even stranger than I already did. (I was the ├╝ber-geek/"artistic" one.) These adult novels (or biographies) were about people in a different phase of life that I hadn't experienced yet and wasn't expected to. I suppose they were like fantasy novels, in a way, which they often were, but not always.

There is almost no romance in the stories that I write, even for adults, though if a romantic relationship is necessary or logical for the story or its circumstances, I will be sure that it's there and treated as the story demands.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Barbara Etlin on July 23, 2012, 11:19 PM
Anything is possible, but that sure wasn't me!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: Christine B. on July 24, 2012, 12:00 AM
Anything is possible, but that sure wasn't me!

This cracked me up!
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: RJ_Anderson on July 25, 2012, 06:01 AM
To add a few comments from a personal angle, I was 15 I had never crushed on any boy my own age in real life. I had aesthetic/admiration crushes on musicians and actors significantly older than myself, but I didn't fantasize about dating them. Instead I based fictional characters on them and wrote romances for them with female characters I'd made up (who were nothing like me in either appearance or personality, but represented my idea of who would be an ideal match for them). Or, if they were already paired up fictionally with someone, I just wrote fanfic (Remington Steele & Laura Holt 4 EVA!).

I had my first actual real-life crush at 16, on a 19-year-old guy I'd met at camp one summer, and it lasted for nearly three years -- even though he lived hundreds of miles away, had never treated me as anything more than a friend, and we only saw each other once more during that time. I didn't even look twice at any other boys* until I'd convinced myself (finally) that nothing was going to come of it and I had to move on.

After that I had only two more crushes, one after the other, both lasting 2-3 years and never going beyond good friendship. I didn't date during that time, because the only guys who asked me out were so tentative about it I didn't even realize what they were asking until much later (but that was OK because I wasn't interested in them anyway). My friends were all dating and one of them went through about eight boyfriends during our teens and early twenties, but even though I longed for romance and marriage, I had yet to meet a guy I liked who was equally interested in me.

(To finish the story, by the time I connected with the man who would become my husband, I was 27. He was totally worth the wait, but it was a long wait. However, the best part about it was that he'd been through pretty much exactly the same process as I had, so I was the first person he'd ever dated as well. I don't think anybody would ever have guessed that by looking at him - I certainly didn't.)

So every teen is different, and the way they approach/handle any romantic feelings they may have is different as well. Some fall in and out of infatuation on a regular basis; some go back and forth between a couple of longer-term interests; some find a single real-life attraction too absorbing and overwhelming to even think of entertaining another one at the same time (raises hand); and some just aren't ready or interested to think about that stuff at all yet.

And vivalalauren, I am revising that book right now.

--
* My newly minted crush on Alan Rickman didn't count. He just went into the stories instead.
Title: Re: A crush-less fifteen year old girl?
Post by: jojohn on July 25, 2012, 08:47 AM
Love reading all your stories and can relate. I think there can be a lot of reasons a 15 year old girl wouldn't have a crush including being so focused on something very important to her that she doesn't have the emotional energy to even consider a boy that way. It feels like she is selling out her dream? Or she is afraid it will take away her focus/drive to pursue her goal? It seems temporary and her goal is long term and she's the rational type? Or she's just not there yet (emotionally speaking). You can make any reason you want, IMHO.