It's almost Thanksgiving! How will you make the most of your holiday?
It's almost turkey day, people, or if you're of the vegetarian persuasion, tofurkey day. It's that time of year when hopefully you will be seeing your relatives gathered, catching up with cousins you'd forgotten, getting pinched on the cheek by your grandparents. Besides being an opportunity to chow down, though, Thanksgiving is a great chance for creative teens to work on their people watching. Writers are not just in the business of story writing; they're also dedicated story collectors. We're hungry for stories and we listen for them whenever we can. Chances are, one of your relatives has a story that could be turned into a great piece of fiction.
Try collecting stories this Thanksgiving by doing a few casual interviews of your own. Instead of zoning out when your grandparents start telling stories about what life was like back when they were kids, get interested. Pay attention to the details! Ask questions about what people were worried about, what foods were eaten, what people wore, what they learned in school. You'll be giving your relatives some much-deserved attention, and you'll also be collecting valuable details to fill your next story. What if you want to write a story set in the past? The only way to make it real is to do your homework and learn about what it really felt like to live during that time period. Ask your aunts and uncles what it was like to live during the Vietnam War. Ask your grandparents about living during World War II! There's no end to the amazing things you can learn if you get interested and listen up.
Another thing to pay attention to when you're gathered around the Thanksgiving table is what people don't talk about. Stories get interesting when we know there are mysteries lurking beneath the surface of polite conversation, or skeletons in the closet that are waiting to burst out. Try doing a little sleuthing in your family and find out what isn't being said. It may be tough, but writers and journalists need to be able to ask the tough questions and dig up the dirt.
Thanksgiving is a rare opportunity to see your family interacting all in the same room. Do a little eavesdropping and you never know what great story material you'll discover next.