My writing corner is nothing special. A desk in front a window looking at the water, that is when all the tree leafs have make way and the winter wind comes back.
There’s a long blue couch thing, a couple of thin bookshelves.
A fluffy fern.
A picture of my kid, smiling bright.
The little place is more on the practical side of things.
Back in September, for a week or so, that’s where I slept, fold countless loads of laundry and tried to find a smidgen of mental space to write.
My mother-in-law, who was staying with us while she was recovering from a big surgery and required, needed 24/7 attention during that time.
One morning, stiff as heck (little blue couch is indeed little), I woke up at 4am, determined to write. All was quiet. All was good.
Peace, at last.
For about 3 minutes anyway.
How to Write a 73 Years Old Teenager Character?
Very important note to the readers: No ageism here. Age does not define us. Our hearts and our actions does.
In the dark, at 4:03 am, our recovering guest, on her way back from the bathroom, decided to hit the top of my head. Gently. But still, my jaw clenched on the spot.
The light from my laptop screen was making her glasses sparkle in the dark. « What are you doing » she asked loudly, with my kid sleeping not 2 meters from there. Teeth grinding.
As politely as I could, I mumble something about grocery shopping, a sure way to end this strange encounter but really, I had just started writing a post about how, from a writer’s point of view, it was interesting to live with a 73 years old acting like a cliché teenager.
In my life, I’ve encounter very few people or situations that were so cliché that, even if one tries to write about them, no reader would believe it. (Remind me to tell you the story of the widow and the perfect stranger one of these days…)
The Nature of Clichés
The word cliché first appeared when words where massively printed. Its a copy of a copy of a copy of a… copy. Something so often used it was common.
Depending of the language we’re using, the country we live in, the culture we grow up in, a cliché will vary.
Because if where I grew up, what I’ve read, watched on tv, and because of where I live, what I witness, what I hear, the clichés are slightly different
What is the adults common opinion about teenagers?
- They play videogames or watch YouTube-Netflix-Etc… all the time
- They are rude, lazy, selfish, vain, conceited
- They party all night and sleep all day
- They never clean anything and live their things everywhere
- They could hardly breath without looking at their phone every two minutes
And more presumptions, assumptions, judgemental statements that I can think of right now, mainly because it’s all crap anyway.
Yet, dear fellow writer, you get it. You can totally picture that teenage character. It’s out of countless movies, tv series, stand-up comedy, conversations overhead on the bus or at the grocery stores or where else.
It’s all cliché because we heard that before, for years and years.
Same goes for the elderly. A list of cliché’s immediately pops into our heads, based on culture, real life encounter, etc… Nice little grandma, grumpy little grandpa, living in a little cozy appartement which every visitors might be tempted to call an overheating furnace.
Again, you get the picture.
Now, about my baffled writer mind.
Can We Write (Well) Clichés Characters?
I fight the clichés with all my writing might, as I’m convinced you are too, fellow writers.
But… But… But, it’s too good.
So many fun story possibilities here!
It’s so incredibly hard to believe that a 73 years old adult would embody nearly every teenager cliché’s that comes to mind. If I hadn’t experienced it, I would not have believed it, I swear.
There’s so much we could do with such a character.
How about a quiet retirement home where such a character moves in ?
Better yet, parents of 2 teenagers are going on vacations – « difficult » grandma/grandpa moves in – teenagers life’s goes berserk!
And I haven’t finished revising (for the fourth time!!!) the ghost story – the one I wanted to write in less then three months, yes… !
Can we write about a real cliché character that refuses to change ?
I will let you know, dear fellow writers.
Until next time, may all the good words be with you.