Great Gift for Teen Writers

14 03 2013
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Do you know any teens who dream of being writers? Many teens want to write or are already writing a novel. They ask for tips on how to improve their writing and how to get published.

Writers Jill Williamson and Stephanie Morrill have heard this question many times and decided that it was too broad a topic to cover on their blog, so they paired up to write a book with the same title as their popular website: Go Teen Writers.

Here’s the blurb:

Whether you’re just starting to write your first story or you’ve
finished and are wondering how to edit, this book will help you learn
how to perfect your craft and get your project ready for publication. Click to learn more.

Includes tips for:

-Getting published, finding
the right agent, book surgery, thicker plots, deeper characters, richer
settings, weaving in theme, dealing with people who don’t get your

Find this book at your local bookstore, or…

In ebook at: • • Kobo

But this book isn’t just for teens. Any writer can benefit from their sage advice. They have some great ideas for dealing with saggy middles and deepening your characters. The authors go beyond the usual advice of giving the character a goal and an inner desire. They suggest creating a lie for the character to believe and a reason for him or her to believe it. As they point out, “And just like the lie can be a point of weakness for your main character, it can be the downfall of your antagonists.”

Pick up a copy of the book to find out more tips for improving your writing. And be sure to give a copy to your favorite teen author.

Also one of Stephanie’s books is free. Take advantage of the offer while it lasts.


Letting New Writers Down Gently

14 09 2012

adult hand helping child writeAs an editor, I often have the onerous task of writing rejection letters. Many newbie writers dash off their first novels in a few months. Then proud of their efforts, they pop them into envelopes or attach them to emails, positive they will soon have a book contract in hand. And many also expect to quit their day jobs once the book sells.

I sat across the table from one starry-eyed hopeful a few months ago who told me that she was spending all her after-work hours penning her middle grade book. “I can’t keep up this pace forever,” she confided. “It’ll be great once it sells. Then I can quit my teaching job and just write full time.”

If only… I struggled with what to say. Should I tell her the truth and dash her dreams? Or let the shock of rejection letters and the truth of royalty statements (should she be so lucky) knock her down later?

I opted for soft-pedaling the truth. “You know, many writers, even famous ones, needed to keep their day jobs even after they were published.”

She gave me a dubious look, and I could practically read her thoughts, That won’t be me.

I have never understood why people – who would never think they could pick up an instrument, spend a few months practicing, and debut with a symphony orchestra – think that they can sit down and write a best-selling novel.

I think F. Scott Fitzgerald explained things beautifully when he added this to the end of a letter he sent to a beginning writer:

P.S. I might say that the writing is smooth and agreeable and some of the pages very apt and charming. You have talent—which is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.