You have likely heard the negative stereotypes: that Millennials are needy, focused on themselves, lacking strong work ethics, and frequently switch jobs. As employers, teachers and parents, it is time to encourage Millennials to be successful by tapping into their creativity and inspiring their vision. It is also time to let go of the negative stereotypes associated with the generation that is destined to make up nearly three-quarters of the workforce by the year 2025.
I talked to a creative and talented Millennial who breaks not only the stereotype for her generation, but many other stereotypes, too. Nanishka Torres wrote her first novel, the Fenrir Chronicles: The Prince at the age of 17. She is a visionary who created a world where science and reason are driving forces, until a fringe element attack those ideas. Bold and daring, her writing speaks not only to Millennials, but to everyone who would like to see a society that is accepting to all, is fair, and honorable.
Duffy: As someone who began writing at 17 and went on to release a very compelling book, what advice do you have for young creatives?
Torres: The best advice I can give, is to keep creating no matter what. Even if you hate what you produced and end up trashing it; even if you see someone else – or hundreds of someone else’s – creating a better version; even if you’re pretty sure nothing will ever come from what you created: keep creating. You should continue to flex those creative muscles and produce as much as you can.
Duffy: Young people can be creative in many different ways, how do you recommend inspiring them?
Torres: We are lucky enough to live in a time where we have access to so many mediums of creativity, and we have the opportunity to be creative in so many aspects of our lives. We should be taking advantage of every creative chance we are given. The photos posted on Instagram, the tutorial uploaded to YouTube, the article written on Tumblr, the meals made with garnish, and the colorful outfit compiled for less than $20 are all outlets of creativity. Everything we experience can inspire a new facet of our creativity, just make sure you don’t stifle it!
Duffy: Sometimes there is a disconnect with Millennials in the workplace. What advice would you give to managers to help inspire and motivate young employees?
Torres: Managers should remind their young employees that they are part of a bigger team. I find Millennials – like all people, but particularly my generation – want to feel they belong to something. I think that’s why there are so many fandoms and social media communities of shared interests; we look for commonalities with people from around the world. Reminding young employees that they are a part of a team working toward the same goal can inspire them to achieve greater things for the team as well as themselves.
Duffy: Building worlds in fantasy, sci-fi, and in many forms of fiction, can be quite daunting. How did you go about developing your world for The Fenrir Chronicles: The Prince?
Torres: I knew I wanted Fenrir to be a blending of medieval and futuristic. I wanted castles to be among skyscrapers, and knights with swords to ride motorcycles. I started with Brawnwyn Castle as I knew the majority of the story would take place there. From there I worked outwardly: the castle grounds, the vehicles, and surrounding civilizations like Bastion City, the Staxeon village, and Namor Forest.
Duffy: What does writing mean to you? Why are you a writer?
Torres: Writing is a shape-shifting tool for me. As I write, I am able to transform into another person with different characteristics, family, career, abilities, and struggles than I. I love being able to take a glimpse into another world, another society, and find someone with a story worth writing. I write to allow other people to escape their lives and delve into another, and hopefully enjoy the trip!
Duffy: You’ve taken a unique approach in developing your characters—can you discuss what inspired them?
Torres: From all the books I’ve read, and films and television shows I’ve watched, there were only a handful of gay characters represented. Of those stories, their primary conflict was always coming to terms with their sexuality and/or those around them coming to terms with their sexuality. But there’s more to a person than that. I wanted a character whose sexuality was never in question and was never an obstacle to be overcome. I wanted this character’s sexuality to have zero impact on the plot of the story, because that’s how much effect someone’s sexuality should have on their life. I wanted to go against the stereotypes of women with a military-trained queen; the stereotypes of the “damsel in distress” with a self-sacrificing mother; the stereotypes of gay men with a couple of powerhouses whom don’t allow anyone to get in their way. I wanted to present characters that aren’t seen nearly often enough in the mainstream media, but exist everywhere around us.
Duffy: How do you find inspiration?
Torres: Inspiration usually finds me, which sounds really pretentious, but it’s true. I’ll be listening to a song, people-watching on the street, reading a comic book, or talking to my boyfriend about a video game, and something will inspire a new idea. I’ll focus on one aspect of something, then change it slightly and ask how that small change would affect everything else. What if a girl’s super powers suddenly erupt right here? What if a guy rescues someone and they turn out to be an awful person? What if an adult child finds letters addressed to their dad written from a former student? What if a couple only pretends to be naive tourists to lure out predators? What if a little girl is walking her dog whom grows to the size of an SUV to protect her from an oncoming car? I’ll take inspiration and a new idea from anywhere I can find it!