Monday, December 15, 2008

Arrested Development-- Alyson Noel

No, I’m not referring to the defunct TV show (why—oh why were you cancelled?)—I’m referring to me. Apparently I’m deeply mired in a case of arrested development, which probably comes as no surprise to those who know me, though it does kind of surprise me.

I guess writing teen fiction makes it easy for me to insist that my more juvenile tendencies are solely due to all the “research” required in order to capture the teen voice.

Beginning all of my sentences with, “Oh my gawd!”-? “Research.”

Attending the midnight showing of Twilight and squealing when Edward came on screen? No question. Definitely falls under “research.”

Blatantly hinting for a new iPod and Ugg boots last Chrismukkah, then jumping up and down in excitement when I got them? So obviously in the “research” category.

Braces at forty??? Please. Just how far do you think I’d go?

Apparently, that far.

And while I’m told there are plenty of adults who get braces—according to one orthodontist I saw, adults make up a good amount of their patient load—all I could think as I gazed around a room purposely decorated to make it seem as though we were sitting inside a ginormous aquarium is—Really? And is that why you offered me a game of pogs when I checked in?

Seriously. The only adults I’ve seen in there so far are the ones chauffeuring their kids to and from their appointments. And while you’d think it would be research heaven to sit inside an aquatic themed room with a giant orange fish eyeballing me from its place on the wall and a seemingly never ending supply of pogs and Teen People—well, I’m sorry to say it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be.

Because the truth is, I feel kind of silly. Like I’ve taken this whole YA research thing way too far. And now, after hours of examinations, forms, and x-rays, it’s beginning to feel like it’s too late to turn back.

But that’s exactly what I was planning to do the other day when my husband and I stopped by Burger Bar on our way home from Las Vegas. I was cutting into my turkey burger with a knife and fork—(my front teeth don’t meet, making them useless for biting, tearing, eating, and just about everything else but smiling for photographs)—when it struck me. The epiphany. A true, Oprah style, light-bulb moment. Because the moment I brought my fork to my mouth, I gazed down at my plate covered with tiny bite sized pieces of hamburger and thought: Oh my gawd! Talk about juvenile!

And that’s when I decided to go for it. No whining, no complaining (well, maybe a little), and definitely no looking back. I mean, so I’ll spend the next year as a metal mouthed brace face, so what? Next time I eat a hamburger (and I average about one a year) I’ll eat it with dignity. And pride. And hopefully without a fork and a knife.

Besides, think of all the research it’ll provide!

But even though there’s no doubt my next protagonist will sport a mouthful of shiny metal braces, I’ll be kinder to her than life was to me—she’ll wear them as a teen, I won’t make her wait until she’s an adult!

So how about you—just how far are you willing to go in the name of “research”? And do you have any tips on wearing braces??

Happy Holidays!!!

Alyson Noel is the author of seven novels. Her upcoming, THE IMMORTALS series, begins with EVERMORE on 02.03.09, followed by BLUE MOON on 08.04.09, and three more untitled books for 2010. You can visit her at:


Gina said...

Oh My. my sister had to wear bracers at a late stage. She had fun changing the "tighting bands" sometimes yellow or red or pink that way it was cool. Hope that tip helps. I will go all out for research. I did it with my thesis and it paid off. Dressing as different individuals like a business woman, exercise trainer, doctor, even a clown for my research. The main thing is the impact you want to have on whoever reads it.

Pam said...

Oh, Alyson--you have my sympathy. Dental work is evil, and I have bad memories of my braces (lower teeth only and some twenty five or so years ago), so I'm hoping the process is better now.

As far as research goes, I either write historicals or try and write from what I know. (That or pick really fun research!!!)

Alyson Noel said...

Gina- love the rubber band tip! I'm definitely game for "funning" it up!
And you're right about the research, stepping outside of your comfort zone to learn something is one of the best parts--not to mention what it's all about!

Alyson Noel said...

Pam- I'm amazed by people who write historicals! I LOVE reading them--but could never manage the voice, which is why I write for teens- perfect for someone who still says "awesome!"

And yes, from what I've seen so far, braces have improved, for one thing they're much smaller!

Michele L. said...

Oh gosh, my heart goes out to you! My nieces had braces and they had to wear them for a long while. They had to be careful what they ate. I know they are very pleased with the results. There teeth look wonderful.

Just try to grin and bear it! Sorry, couldn't resist. Seriously, just think how beautiful your teeth will look when you are all done. Good luck! and I hope it goes by quickly!

Merry Christmas!
Michele L.

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Michele- Thanks, I hope it goes quickly too!!!

Lori Ann said...

I had braces for three years during my high school years. The only thing I can really tell you is that you will have days when your teeth are killing you with pain. Just remember that the pain is temporary, but your beautiful smile will last forever.

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Raven- Thanks! That's good advice!