When you’re a grown-up, you understand emotions differently than you do when you’re 15 (which is a good thing, lord knows). But you have to hang out with the Four Horsemen of the Teenage Apocalypse as often as you can if you want to write a believable novel. Who are those Horsemen? Anger, Sadness, Anxiety, and Love. If your protagonist is a teenager, the Horsemen must ride along with every single move your character makes. (Let’s call the Four Horsemen a bonus gift of the 12 Gifts–they’re a pretty good present, too.)
There’s one trick with the Four Horsemen: you have to find a way to get back to your *own* apocalypse-bringers, not anybody else’s. You need a method to find them. Know what mine is? Music, of course (for more on this idea, all you need is this, but you could also read this, too). Specifically, it’s listening to this man:
My Phil Collins Pandora station gets things galloping every time. Phil is crossed with every sort of 80s pop I can think of (Thompson Twins, Eurythmics, Van Halen), and my teenage years come flooding out of my computer speakers whenever I click it on. Thank god for that, because (despite my last post), some days my teenage version of those Four Horsemen are far, far away. So thank you, internet gods, for Pandora. I need it.
How about you? How do you get your Horsemen moving?