Friday, August 2, 2013

Real Teen Answers (Part One)

Two weeks ago you asked the questions. And there were a LOT of great questions! So many that I'll post half the questions today; the other half, next Friday! Here's what our teens had to say in response…

What's your favorite thing to do in the summer? Hiking, swimming, something totally out-there not many people know about it?

GRACIE: I love all of those things! My favourite thing to do though is probably biking with my friends. I also like getting ice cream and walking around the park. I also like enjoying all the summer cultural events and festivals when I can!

MADISON: My favorite thing to do in the summer is to sit by the pool with a book :) I'm not really active by any means (mostly I just watch Doctor Who and Grey's Anatomy on Netflix) but I do run to stay in shape! 

LENNON: I'm an indoor-sy person, so my favorite thing to do during the summer is to read, listen to music, and sleep late.

LEXIE: It's hard to name just one.  My favorite things about summer are polar opposites; hanging out in the sun with friends, swimming, barbecuing, all the exciting, extroverted, outdoorsy activities, but also the ability to lounge around the house and do nothing but read or catch up on the television I can't watch during the year.  It's a nice chance to let loose before a new school year and a new boatload of stress start up again.

CHIHUAHUA ZERO: Really, just reading and listening to music. I'm sedentary, although I've been running.

RANDI: I adore watching big action movies in summer, it literally takes up half my time. I saw Avengers six times last summer in theaters. It was just the perfect summer action movie. I go to the library a lot too.

ERICA: Honestly my favorite thing to do in summer is read - it is my time to catch up on all the books I miss during the semester when between courseload and trying to resume build I don't have a lot of time.

Your favorite summer moment so far?

RANDI: Definitely the local Doctor Who convention I went to. It was one of the best moments of my life thus far.

CHIHUAHUA ZERO: Visiting New York. It's exciting traveling around and experiencing the possibilities. I even dropped by the Stonewall Inn, which I wrote a research paper on. It's still a gay bar, so I couldn't go in.

LENNON: My favorite summer moment was probably when I was at writing camp and was just hanging out with my fellow campers. The entire camp was fun and it was great to be at a "camp" that really fit me and wasn't forcefully outdoor-sy. 

MADISON: Hmm...probably the day trip my family and I took to the beach. We live within reasonable driving distance of one('reasonable' being one or two hours,) so we packed a picnic and spent the day by the water. It's not the cleanest beach, but it was fun...if you didn't mind the piles of seaweed everywhere! My mom said I used to think seaweed was "fish poop." Not that anyone needed to know that. 

ERICA: I have had a few fun bookish events - like the Young Authors Give Back event was pretty stellar. 

GRACIE: Biking with my friends.

LEXIE: Favorite moments this summer were probably either going to the Met with a friend I hadn't seen for a year, or attending my cousin's Jewish wedding overseen by a rabbi and a drag queen. Not precisely "summer moments" in that they aren't activities that scream summertime, but my favorite moments DURING the summer, for sure.

Do you have a favorite length or "sweet spot" for a book, or does length/brevity not matter? Do you prefer longer or shorter books? What about chapter lengths? Do you prefer the old-fashioned style of longer chapters split into sections, or shorter chapters of only one scene?

LENNON: I don't really care about length if I'm truly into a book. Different lengths work for different stories. As long as the length can do the story justice, I don't see a problem with the book being short or long. Due to my short attention span, I prefer shorter chapters. 

MADISON: My opinion on length really depends on genre and how quickly I can get into the plot. If I'm immediately drawn in, then I'd obviously want the book to be longer since it's a good story. But the norm YA contemp. Fiction is between 75k and 85k words I believe, but YA fantasy and sci-fi can be much higher- over 100k words (don't quote me on that- I'm drawing from memory here!) 

The chapter length also depends in the story for me. For more action based plots, I like shorter, one scene chapters but for more heavily character based novels I like longer, sectioned chapters. 

ERICA: I have an issue with books being too short sometimes, but other than that I couldn't care less. I am more concerned with the content. I want things to be fully fleshed out, and as long as that happens, length is not an issue.

RANDI: The thing is, I just like reading so much that the thought of a sweet spot never even occurred to me. Just let me read a book, I'll be happy.

GRACIE: It really depends on the book. If the story is big enough, the book should be longer. If it's not, then shorter is good. Depending on the story a shorter or longer book works better. Some books I feel like drag out the storyline waay too much, and then it turns out there's a sequel and I just think why couldn't you have just smushed it all together and sped up the pacing a bit and not have it made into a series? And I almost never notice chapter lengths.

LEXIE: I really don't have a preference. If I enjoy a long book, I won't care that it's lengthy, and if I don't enjoy it, its length is rather immaterial.  As for chapter lengths, I don't have one specific preference that applies to all books--I think different styles work better for different stories.  All I care is that there ARE breaks--old-style long chapters are fine, but there need to be enough scene breaks that the reader doesn't get exhausted/has a convenient place to set the book down.

CHIHUAHUA ZERO: Lately, I've been preferring books in the 200-300 page range, especially when they're in a genre that lends themselves to speed. Chapter length don't matter that much, as long as there aren't long stretches without any breaks. Yes, I love breaks, although I find myself taking breaks mid-scene.

Do you see a lot of body modification (i.e., tattoos and piercings) at your school? Do you have any body mods yourself, and do you think the legal age to get them without parental permission should be lowered to 16 everywhere?

LEXIE: A fair amount. Lots of piercings, not a ton of visible tattoos. The only "body mod" I have is ear piercings.  As for the legal age, I don't think it should be lowered to 16.  This may make me sound like a stodgy old lady, but quite frankly, the 16-year-olds I'm around every day are nowhere near mature enough to make decisions that will literally stick with them the rest of their lives (unless they want to pay a lot for laser surgery).  I'm not opposed to tattoos, but I think they require a lot more thought than most 16-year-olds are ready to give them.

 CHIHUAHUA ZERO: My school newspaper did a large article on the subject! Telling from the grades, it's mostly among juniors and seniors. They're not real obvious though, being either small or under clothing. From the article, some tattoos have personal meaning. I'm okay with lowering the limit, but everyone should be REAL thoughtful about tattoos before getting major ones.

GRACIE: Yes. A lot of people have piercings or tattoos, especially girls. I only have my ears pierced, but nose and belly button piercings are really popular, as are tattoos. I think the age to get them without parental consent is fine.

RANDI: I see more gauges and piercings at my school than tattoos, and the tattoos I have seen are usually the sort you get at 2 in the morning out in the boonies where a guy will do your tattoo if you pay him in alcohol. So yeah, not much. I think our school might have a policy against it. We do get a lot of crazy hair colors though.

ERICA: I most definitely don't think legal age to get body modifications should be lowered to 16 everywhere. I have my ears pierced, which I got done in the 2nd grade, and one other set in my ears which I got done a few years ago, like my sophomore year of high school. But other than that, I don't  go for the body mods. I think a lot of people as teens want different body modifications and don't think about the long term results - for example, tattoos are permanent. A lot of employers don't want you to have them. While I know at 16 I had everything planned out, most people I knew did not and wouldn't even think about the long term consequences of something like that. There is so much people do in the name of teenage rebellion. 

MADISON: At my school, visible tattoos have to be made invisible, if you know what I mean. They aren't quite as strict with piercings, but that doesn't mean people walk around the halls looking like human pincushions. I have 2 piercings in one ear and 3 in the other (one of which is a cartilage) and I plan on getting one more in each ear and maybe a nose stud. 

I think that as important as self expression and creativity is, the legal age to pierce and tattoo things without parental consent should not be 16. Though it is your body and you should get to do whatever you'd like to it, your parents should still get to have a say about what goes on in their house. Plus, if they say no you only have to wait 2 years, which isn't really that long. And what seemed like a good idea when you're 16 may not seem like a good idea when you're 18. Maybe you'll thank your parents for saying no. 
LENNON:  There are some people with body modifications, but not many. One of the guys in my grade has a flaming skull on one forearm and on the other he tattoo'ed a picture of his daughter. The majority of the girls and some of the guys have pierced ears, but I don't think that truly counts as body modification anymore. I have pierced ears and want to get a couple tattoos when I'm older. I do wish that the legal age was lowered because I wanted a tattoo for my 16th birthday however, logically I know that permanent decisions probably shouldn't be made by underdeveloped minds. 

Great answers, right?! Thanks to all our teens for their insightful answers and to you for all the awesome questions! I'll be back next Friday with answers to questions on installment books, social media, and first dates. Stay tuned!



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