But I couldn't do it alone. I couldn't think of anything unique, anything realistic. So I talked to some girlfriends about it. Some non-writer girlfriends.
This is what we looked like.
Though there was less pink.
We talked about our own experiences of high school, the different types of groups we were in, we talked about smoking at school, skipping, being suspended and expelled, what we define as being "the popular group" (which is never the fact that everyone likes them and wants to be friends with them) and how we changed as people from one year level to another.
Not only was it helpful for me to branch out of my own experience of high school so that I can use it for my writing, it was an eye opening conversation and some of the high school experiences I heard were quite surprising. I thank these wonderful girls for sharing with me, not just for how it has opened up new themes and personality traits for my characters, but because they trusted me and each other to share themselves and I feel it has made us closer.
It's good to get out of the writing bubble once in awhile, get out of your head, talk to others about your story and not just writers. I find that discussing plot issues encourages others to share their own experiences and helps you form more meaningful friendships as well as more meaningful manuscripts.