Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To Be Really Immature (Plus MyNoWriMo Update)

Sometimes... writers have to be immature. Y'know? We just gotta. Especially if we write YA or MG. We have to be able to identify with our target audience. It helps to be able to pull that little kid out of ourselves and bring him out to play. Or even the not so little kid, the middle-schooler we all have smirking inside of us.

Fortunately, I am GREAT at being immature, having had many years of careful study and practice, living among and observing my target audience. It wasn't all that long ago, either.

Let's just say I picked up a few things. This is one of my favorites.

Step 1. Get your fingers wet, at a faucet, drinking fountain, or kitchen sink full of sudsy water. Don't let anybody see.

Step 2. Sneak up behind the victim, holding your hands up near your face.

Step 3. Flick the water off of your fingers at the back of their neck, and yell 'Achoo!' Make it sound like a real sneeze.

Step 4. Make sure that you look sufficiently horrified/mortified/stricken/sickened when they turn around.

It also works if you catch them from the side, so that you're just barely in their peripheral vision. The different angle gives a whole new dimension to the splatter effect, with surprising and satisfying results. Hold your hands up near your face, so that it looks like you TRIED to stop it. The wet fingers may or may not add to the effect, depending on how wet you got them.

Step 5. (optional) Wipe your hands off on their clothes. (consider the implementation of step 5 very carefully, taking into account all possible ramifications.)

Isn't that GROSS? I learned it when I was fourteen from a buddy of mine. It still cracks me up when I think about it. Of course, I would never do that now. Ever. Because I'm mature. *whistles, looks away.* But if you write middle-grade... I'm just sayin'. Captain Underpants was a success for a reason. And it could be a great way to break the ice, say, with that cute girl on campus you've been wanting to talk to, or at a business conference. I'm sure it would be memorable.

Oh, here's another one. But it will only work if you're fairly tall, or you can jump high with accuracy.

1. Stand inside a doorway, facing the victim, with your hands resting behind the sides of the door.

2. Say to the victim - 'Hey, watch me do this cool trick!'

3. Jump.

4. At the moment when your head would have hit the top of the door frame, jerk your head forward ever so slightly. Simultaneously rap the wall (on the opposite side from the victim) with your knuckles. This will produce the visual and audio effect of cracking your skull on the frame. You may want to practice this for a bit, a) because timing the bonk sound is everything, and b) if you jump too close to the doorframe or you don't jerk your head forward in time, you'll hit your head on the top part anyway. Two banging sounds is a little suspicious. A look of surprise helps - as if your 'cool trick' didn't work.

5. Yelp in 'pain.' Or go 'Ow ow ow ow!'

Pay attention to who laughs and who demonstrates concern. You have just found out who your real friends are.

Now's your chance. What's your favorite 4th/5th/6th-grader immature thing to do? What's your favorite immature thing that one of your characters has done? (And we know that it was you, or that you wish that you had done it, but you can tell us that your character did it. Mum's the word, right?)

MyNoWriMo Update:
About 2k words so far today. I spent a little time in a book about Jungian archetypes, now that I'm nearly 20k words in, to see which archetypes I unconsciously selected. I think that my MC is an Apollo, and my other MC is a Hestia/Persephone mix, although she displays strong Isis tendencies and as she grows, she may become a full out Isis. She's hard to pin down - I think I haven't got her voice yet, not fully. But it helped me ground my characters further. I will post the final stats and last sentence tonight. (It's my first day off work since starting this thing, with the exception of Sunday, but I don't write on Sunday, and I'm amazed at how much I can get done when I have a full day!)


4096 words for the day
21426 for the total
A map (finally.)
An antagonist who is not a villain (there is a difference, at least in my mind.)
An antagonist who is a villain

Final sentence: "It protects us, but it flickered slightly, as we crossed the border."


  1. Still reeling over you doubling your target... And I love the first #5 (wiping hands on their clothing--perfect touch.) I'm getting to the age where I don't have to remember my immaturity...senility opens a whole multitude of new doors--and I'll probably be able to get away with it too!

  2. HA! That cracks me up. Fortunately I still have a bit of immaturity to help inspire me in my writing. :)

  3. LOL! Isn't it a pity that we have to "Grow Up"?
    I'm still working on being a kid!