Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Young Writers

It's the awful truth that young writers don’t get much respect in the real-writing world. My personal opinion is that they get a bad rep from all those other teens, the ones that are playing with writing. Or, all they care about is getting published, regardless of whether they're good enough or not.

Another thing is that they have less life experience. I'll admit it, a 40 year old will know a lot more than a 14 year old, or even an 18 year old. But that doesn't make the adult a better writer. It just makes them older.

Young writers have a lot going against them. But it's been done - look at the authors Christopher Paolini, Alexandra Adornetto, and freelancer Lauren Berger. These are young writers that went out there and DID IT. They got published with a bang. People took them seriously. But do you know why? Because they took their writing seriously.

Let’s talk about getting real.

First: get real about writing. You know all that advice people give you? All those “dumb rules” like show, don’t tell, be more descriptive, blah blah blah? Every writer needs to listen to that advice. EVERY WRITER. Including J.K. Rowling, and Scott Westerfield, and Stephenie Meyer. 

Start fleshing out your characters. Edit your novels - a good edit should take at least half as long as writing your novel did. Avoid plot clichés. You should set a goal to learn as much as you can about writing, and to finish almost every story you start. Until you do, you won’t be ready for the publishing world.

Next: get real about publishing. You can’t just send a publisher your manuscript. There are steps to take and rules to follow. In following entries I’ll try to discuss the specifics of some of these rules, but for now, let me just say that getting published is not easy. You’ll receive a lot of rejection, and you need to deal with that. You need to be respectful and businesslike. You’ll need to do research. 

Thirdly: get real about what it means to BE published. Being published comes with responsibilities. You need to promote your work, improve your craft, and network like a crazy person. You need to realize that getting published once doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published again. You won’t become a famous author overnight. Or ever. And don’t you dare think you’re a finished product – even the greatest writers are still learning.

Finally: get real about being realistic. I know that doesn’t make sense, so let me explain. If you try to get too realistic you might start doubting yourself. You might feel overwhelmed. Writing is partially a faith process, and without that trust in yourself, you won’t be able to write squat. You need to expect the worst and hope for the best. Or in other words: write your plans in pencil, and give God the eraser.

I know. It’s some heady stuff. Let me explain how the mentality of “plan in pencil” works: You write, you edit, you learn more about writing, and you gather yourself a bunch of people that believe in you. You set small goals - a certain number of words per day, better descriptions, a finished work by next quarter. You'll learn about publishing. You send out your finished works, but you don’t die if they aren’t accepted. And if they ARE accepted, you keep on going as you’ve gone before, learning, working, proving to the world that you can do this. 

Try Googling the words “writing articles,” “writing forums,” “writing fiction,” etc. Or check out these websites:


- Creative A


1 comment:

Rafael said...

Great advice for even the no post-teenagers who are not yet old writers.


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