Teenage Writers?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
kimko1o
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by kimko1o » August 27th, 2010, 6:44 pm

Hey, I'm a teenage writer too, actually (go us!), and I'm not a college student--I'm going into sophomore year. it's funny, i also have a blog, which is enterthebox.blogspot.com and I'm doing NaNoWriMo too, for the second time. The only way I kept up writing last year was by sitting down at 9 at night and not stopping unti 10:30, though I think I'll have to change that a little because I kept on falling asleep...Anyway, my username for nanowrimo is kimko1o if you want to be my buddy (I love how they say buddy rather than friend). And now I think I'll comment on your blog...

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Madeleine » August 27th, 2010, 8:44 pm

This is a fascinating conversation, and I'm glad you thought to ask!

I'm 14 years old and will start high school next month (right before turning 15 in October). I've been writing seriously (as in 2,000 or 2 hours a day) since last October and have been blogging since September (Wordbird - http://madeleinerex.com). Reaching out to other writers online has to be the best decision I ever made because not only have I found amazing CPs, but invaluable information I wouldn't have found anywhere else.

One of the things I make sure I do is write 500 words in the morning before school. Those words ensure that I make some progress every day. Waking up early is a small price to pay for steady progress. This summer, I pushed myself to finish my second MS (The Lemonites) before the end of July, and I ended up writing around 30,000 words in a week (and found that I can write 1,000 words in half an hour if I'm really pushing myself). Those days were magic. I'd write for 6-7 hours straight, and it was bliss.

However, when it comes right down to it, there's 24 hours in the day, and only half are daylight hours - when the world calls and things are buzzing. Writing, thank goodness, can happen in the dark.

-Madeleine
"A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life." - John Milton

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Regan Leigh
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Regan Leigh » August 27th, 2010, 8:48 pm

Madeleine wrote:This is a fascinating conversation, and I'm glad you thought to ask!

I'm 14 years old and will start high school next month (right before turning 15 in October). I've been writing seriously (as in 2,000 or 2 hours a day) since last October and have been blogging since September (Wordbird - http://madeleinerex.com). Reaching out to other writers online has to be the best decision I ever made because not only have I found amazing CPs, but invaluable information I wouldn't have found anywhere else.

One of the things I make sure I do is write 500 words in the morning before school. Those words ensure that I make some progress every day. Waking up early is a small price to pay for steady progress. This summer, I pushed myself to finish my second MS (The Lemonites) before the end of July, and I ended up writing around 30,000 words in a week (and found that I can write 1,000 words in half an hour if I'm really pushing myself). Those days were magic. I'd write for 6-7 hours straight, and it was bliss.

However, when it comes right down to it, there's 24 hours in the day, and only half are daylight hours - when the world calls and things are buzzing. Writing, thank goodness, can happen in the dark.

-Madeleine

I'm 30, not a teenager. ;)

BUT I wanted to say I think you guys are awesome. I have complete faith you can accomplish great things while in school and it's reinforced by my friendship with dear Maddie. I've read her stuff and I can see her published before she's considered an adult. I'm sure she's not the only young talent. ;) Keep writing. That's the key. Just write. As much as you can. That is all. :D
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AnnElise
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by AnnElise » August 27th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Teenage writer here. Hi! I'd say my current year level would equate to Junior year.

I manage to find time to write because I take a notebook (as in a paper one, not a laptop thing) to school. Lunchtime is my big writing session, though the time I get varies depending on which friends are hanging around and what they need from me. I also write whenever I get downtime in class (and often start writing in Maths because my brain refuses to take in anything else, which happens a lot). I'd write on the schoolbus as well if it didn't make me feel ill. Instead I listen to my iPod and stare out the window, sometimes formulating scenarios for my novel in my head. Finding time to write takes a little creativity at times, as well as making do with the materials you have at the time. I once wrote a story idea on a napkin in a restaurant, which is something a lot of writers might end up doing.

Anyway, I better stop before I ramble any further.
http://coldfirewriter.wordpress.com An overly opinionated adolescent writer with a penchant for rambling.

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Leonidas
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Leonidas » August 27th, 2010, 9:55 pm

Haha, I totally forgot to check on this thread until Nathan linked to it in his latest blog post. My bad.

Madeline, you sound more dedicated than I am, honestly. And that's awesome. I've tried to write early in the morning and it never works, but I do set aside two hours after school to write. Whenever someone asks what I'm doing, I tell them that I'm writing, because it's my writing time and they generally leave me alone. I've also taken to carrying a notebook around (massive five subject notebook, so it isn't the lightest thing in the world) for one of the stories that I'm handwriting. While I try to reserve my time at school for schoolwork, I always end up finishing lunch early and writing for about a half hour undisturbed in the library.

And I agree, finding writers online was one of the best moves I've made. One of the writing friends I've made in another writing forum is the person I credit with singlehandedly making me realize that I could write, and write well.

It's cool to see the topic still alive!

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Nick » August 27th, 2010, 10:10 pm

Eighteen, clock started on the closing legs to nineteen. Not horrendously active, but I'm here. And once again I do my "ignore every other post just to respond to the first or a piece of the first that makes me feel like responding" thing.

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Madeleine » August 27th, 2010, 11:28 pm

Writing during lunch is an awesome idea! I've always got my nose in a book during lunch time, but I *am* trying to get into the habit of carrying a notebook.Thanks for the tip!
"A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life." - John Milton

Blog: Worbird

The Lemonites Status:

1st Draft - Done
Out With Betas

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by karen » August 28th, 2010, 12:10 am

I love this post!

I've just turned 15 and this fall am going to be a high school sophomore at a rigorous boarding school. You can find me at my blog here: http://www.karen-yuan.blogspot.com. And I'm so glad to even be typing this post, because it means that I've found the incredible community of writers here on the internet that I had no idea about this time last year.

I fully expect my time management skills to go haywire the moment I open a textbook, because living at school will have me dedicated to, well, school 24/7. So I plan to sort writing and school-life by literally doing one and then the other- wake up early to write maybe 500-1000 a day, like what Madeleine mentioned. I think the trick is to see writing as another extracurricular like drama club or soccer... or I'm just fooling myself (get it, tricking and fool- okay I'll be quiet now). During the summer it's been pretty chill! I've been re-outlining and rewriting and researching in a love/hate relationship with my current novel and it's glorious, really.

This year I actually won't be participating NaNoWriMo. And that was a painful sentence to write, lol. But I'll probably be floating around on the forums because of the amazing and helpful community over there!

Good luck to all you teen- and adult!- writers out there! This post made me super excited.
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Emerald_Resonance » August 28th, 2010, 1:18 pm

Huzzah for teenage writers! I actually decided to join this forum when I saw the link to this thread in Friday's This Week in Publishing post.

I'm a homeschooled 16-year-old, and I've been writing seriously since I was about 14 (although I was writing not-so-seriously long before that). I participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years and won both times. Now my main struggle is to continue making progress on my current WiP.

Madeleine, I love your idea of writing 500 words before school to ensure progress. That's something I need right now, since I'm not even writing every day anymore.

Has anyone else found that learning how to write better can actually distract you from writing more than anything else? The past several months I have learned so much about my craft, but I have hardly written anything.

(And to all you lovely teenage writers who posted links to your blogs, thank you! I will probably be stalking them now. Oh, to be a writer in the company of writers!)

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Diamonte
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Diamonte » August 28th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Hi. With this post, I decided to stop lurking and join in the fun of the forums. I'm 17 and a fellow teenage writer. I really struggle with stay disciplined in my writing habits during the school year. I find that if I wander away from writing for a little while, if I just push myself to start up once again (even when I'm feeling uninspired), the inspiration will start flowing after a few days.

I try to find the time to write whenever I can. When I have a study hall and I've already finished my homework, I bring my current project on a USB and write during that time. During my 1st hour study hall last year, I felt really good after doing that. (How many other kids can say they've written 1,000 or more words already that day?)

And good luck during NaNoWriMo. Seize upon the little moments to write. I finished about 56,000 words in 20 days or so last year (and could get 7,000 in 12 hours) without feeling stressed by dividing up my writing time. Every hour that I was home, I would set an alarm. As soon as it rang, I'd drop whatever I was doing and go to my writing computer (which is an old machine without internet, to keep me focused) and write 750 words. I chose that number as a nice middle ground, since 500 is far too small and 1,000 can take too long for this exercise. This would usually take me 15 minutes or so, and I'd often end up with more words than just what I had set. After I finished, I'd drop my writing and continue doing something else. As long as I got up when the alarm went off, I could end up with 7,000 or more words in a day. And if I was very busy that day and only had a few hours to do this exercise, I'd set my alarm for every half hour.

Doing it this way broke up the monotony of whatever else I was working on (usually schoolwork), but didn't overwhelm me with big blocks of writing time that can feel intimidating. So even if I ended up with 3-4 hours of writing that day, it felt like so much less. Writing seems so much more daunting when you try to accomplish it all at once, especially when you're frazzled and stressed and unmotivated. Even the best of procrastinators (and I'm one of them) can't find much to complain about when you're only asking yourself to write 15 minutes or so at a time.

So because of this method and my other writing things, I currently have a 62,000 YA Steampunk Fantasy that is completed and sent out to beta readers (it will be re-edited afterwards then I'll query some agents). Plus I've got a 20,000 MG fairytale story that is entering its second draft and needs to be beefed up, and a 28,000 YA novel (no real genre here...) that is uncompleted. And some various other crappy pieces, like prior reincarnations of the steampunk when the setting/plot/characters were totally different.

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by LilaSwann » August 28th, 2010, 1:29 pm

I'm eighteen, and I just started my senior year of high school. The hardest thing about it is the balancing, definitely. College applications, five AP classes, a serious boyfriend and various clubs and sports take time away from writing.

The solution? No TV, ever. Seriously cut back on sleep during the week (and catch up during the weekends). Convince your school to give you an independent study so that 1) you have an hour to write every day, 2) have motivation to write, and 3) get credit for writing so that 4) writing becomes just as important as your other schoolwork. (Yeah, I know...my school is absolutely amazing.)

I'm almost done with my manuscript (only a chapter and a half to go!) but as of now it's at 120,000 words. I know that's long for YA Fantasy/Romance, but a lot of the beginning can be chopped so I'm not too worried. (Starting off, I was concerned that it wouldn't be long enough. Seems crazy now, but at the time I was genuinely terrified, so I tended to beef up the word count in earlier chapters.)

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by craig » August 28th, 2010, 2:58 pm

I'm no longer a teenager. I haven't been one for a whole lot longer than I care to admit. (My profile pic on here is deceiving as people tend to think I look up to nine years younger than I actually am.) [I'm 27]

I just wanted to say YAY for teenage writers! And, also, don't let age stop you from doing anything!

My first publishing credit was a short story that I wrote when I was 17, which I submitted in a contest when I turned 18, and which was a finalist in the contest and was published in an anthology when I turned 19. I beat out several thousand entries to be in the top twenty-three.

I've had a few close calls for being published again -- I was extended an open invite to submit novella pitches for a line of eBook novellas. I just about sold one and then the line ceased being published. This all happened when I was 19/20 or so.

Since then, I've been mostly working by myself, working on improving my craft and expanding from short story length fiction into novels. I hold myself to high standards and I think I'm finally at the level where I'm satisfied with my work. Along the way, I had four articles published on social justice issues when I was 26. And now I'm approaching the end of my second novel and will soon look to querying agents. (My first novel went nowhere.)

So, yeah, keep writing -- you never know what will happen! Sometimes people don't take teenage writers seriously -- my advice is to not take those people seriously. I work with teens, well, worked with teens as I'm currently unemployed, and I know that teens can be some of the hardest working and most dedicated people I know. Keep at it and good luck to y'all!

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by aeprovost » August 28th, 2010, 4:15 pm

I'm not a teenager anymore, but I wrote my first novel at 15. Ironically, it was my algebra teacher that encouraged me to write as a profession, even though I got "A"s in his class. He had chalkboards on three walls of his classroom and only used the one in front, so at alternating lunch times he let me and a guy (who I never actually met the first year) write satire on the sides. My nemesis would develop a character on his side, and I would kill them off on mine and vice versa. We got terribly creative with the death scenes and of course the overarching story involved an evil math teacher and horrifying torture devices like the quadratic equation. Sadly, I only copied one or two of these stories onto paper.

We didn't have the internet and I didn't know anyone who knew anything about getting published so I just wrote, mostly longhand, in notebooks (the paper kind), at any opportunity. I had lots of time during class when the teachers thought I was taking notes. I recall massive amounts of time being wasted is class during high school. I had three brothers so I rarely got to watch something I wanted on the one TV in the house so there wasn't that distraction either. Even then I was aware I needed to learn a lot more about writing before my stories would be publishable, but I've gone back to the things I wrote for inspiration and found some real treasures.

One advantage this has given me is that all that time spent writing in public places has allowed me to develop the ability to tune out the world and write anywhere I am. The worst place for me to write is home alone at my computer. I stare at the screen and get nothing. When I'm out in the world, the bustle of life around me provides a rhythm that feeds my creativity. I write while I'm in the car waiting for my kids, sitting at the playground, sitting in church (an environment with remarkable creative energy), in a restaurant or coffee shop. I know it seems weird, but I'm not the only one who writes better in a busy place. If you have trouble finding a quiet time/place to write, stop trying and start writing wherever you are. Fast longhand is not a bad skill to have. My first edit happens as I type what I've already handwritten and it inevitably improves a great deal. I'm more willing to scrap whole sections of my handwriting than I am to delete things I've typed. Plus, you don't end up with something interesting you want to go back to, saved in an outdated format. That 5 and a half inch floppy disk my first novel is saved on makes me want to cry.

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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Emerald_Resonance » August 28th, 2010, 9:30 pm

aeprovost wrote:I'm not a teenager anymore, but I wrote my first novel at 15. Ironically, it was my algebra teacher that encouraged me to write as a profession, even though I got "A"s in his class. He had chalkboards on three walls of his classroom and only used the one in front, so at alternating lunch times he let me and a guy (who I never actually met the first year) write satire on the sides. My nemesis would develop a character on his side, and I would kill them off on mine and vice versa. We got terribly creative with the death scenes and of course the overarching story involved an evil math teacher and horrifying torture devices like the quadratic equation. Sadly, I only copied one or two of these stories onto paper.
The chalkboard writing game sounds like so much fun! I love it when writers get together and spontaneously create something fun. That's why I'm continually tempted to get into roleplaying, but I can never quite justify allowing that big of a distraction into my life.

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Leonidas
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Re: Teenage Writers?

Post by Leonidas » August 28th, 2010, 9:37 pm

Diamonte and Emerald, I'm so glad that you decided to join the forums when you saw this thread! These forums are amazing; I don't know of any other place where an agent is so available to people who may never move beyond a rough draft, and everyone else here is really knowledgeable. Just look at this thread! I never thought this thread would take off like it has. Your suggestion of writing in chunks of fifteen minutes is interesting, but I don't think I could do so little time at once. It would annoy me to keep changing tasks every fifteen minutes. I do give myself an hour or two between coming home, eating dinner, and starting my homework to write, and I try to save my writing so that it's like the "reward" at the end of a long day.

Emerald, I've found that. Sometimes, I'm so interested in what others have to say about writing that I forget myself for a little while, but that's not a bad thing. So long as you're doing something that's ultimately related to your writing, it isn't wasted time. I often find it to be inspiring.

Apeprovost (sorry, don't know your name), you said that your algebra teacher inspired you to write. How many others have had this experience with a teacher? I told my English teacher last year about NaNoWriMo and by the end of it she stopped class for fifteen minutes so I could explain what it was and what my novel was about to the class. People were congratulating me the rest of the day, even though they didn't know anything about writing beyond the papers we're assigned in class.

Edit: Emerald, on roleplaying: I'm a member of an amazing roleplaying site, Twilight Sky. Most people there are working on novels of their own, or have considered it, and they're some of the best writers I've ever known. Writing with them has improved my writing in the best ways.

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