Dear Just A Teen…
Christopher Paolini and Abigail Gibbs prove age is no reason to hit Pause. But you’re wise beyond your years to ponder the path ahead. Be of two minds: 1) Book: Craft, not age, matters. Hire a pro freelance editor to evaluate your ms for craft and market potential and guide you in honing your skills to compete with veteran writers. Or try a local college ‘extension’ class for writing. Get feedback from writing experts. 2) Business: Pubbing a book is the same as opening a business whether you self-pub or sign with a publisher. With your parents’ help, get an agent to protect your rights, manage the money, and devise safe ways to put you and your books ‘out there.’ The Literary Market Place has an agent directory, as do writers’ groups like SCBWI or SFWA. Look into your writing category’s group, read my post Too Young to Be Taken Seriously?, and KEEP WRITING! This may not become your debut novel, but you’ll be a better writer for it.
He, Just A Teen! Get over it! You are more than a teen. You are a budding writer with far more accomplished than many who are much older than you. The Ed’s advice is right on and I’ll add that you must respect yourself and your work, recognize you have a lot to learn, and then dig in. Don’t ever apologize for your age or anything else!!!
A 17-year-old family friend has know she’d be a writer for years and had been working hard on completing her first novel. She has found many, many resources and communities online for teen writers…and I wish I could remember them so I could share. There may be a site called Teens Write or something like that that has been most supportive and helpful for her.
My 17-year-old has been working on a novel for a couple of years too. He took a teen writing course through Gotham Writers’ Workshop and learned a few things. Luckily for him, I have tons of books on writing (including your Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies”!) that he can access. He’s not as much into the online writing community as our friend is.
Best of luck to Just A Teen! 🙂
Great advice! Good luck to all the teen writers out there. Follow your dreams! 🙂
When you hire an editor, listen to him/her. If he says your characters lack depth, they probably do. If he says your plot is faulty, it probably is. Too many writers (adult writers) can’t take constructive criticism which is meant to help them develop into better writers. I’ve encountered a couple of self-published writers with seriously flawed stories who, although they ask for an honest opinion/review, can’t receive negative feedback, even if it is offered gently.
1. Constantly study books on writing. Take notes, if you can, because it helps you remember good points. (Some of my favorites are by Les Edgerton and James Scott Bell.)
2. Join a solid critique group for your genre. I love my critique groups, because I know they’ve got my back. They always help me identify blind spots early on. Your age is not relevant, but your craft is. A good critique group will help you as you hone your craft, and the result will be a better book.
3. Write even if you think it’s awful.
Loving all these great suggestions!
Thank you! I’m glad to hear that!
Good luck to you.