View Full Version : I'm a teenager and I want to write - Suggestions?
12-04-2002, 06:50 PM
I prefer writing short stories, although I'm not against persuasive essays or opinion pieces. I have submitted to and been published by my school's literary magazine as well as winning a writing contest. I know that's not much, but I'm young. Now I want to try submitting to commercial magazines or literary journals or what have you. I don't think I can compete with adults, so magazines that publish writing by teens would be best.
I'm confident about my work but I'm ready for rejection. I don't expect to be paid or praised. I just want to try. So, do you know any magazines I could try or have some advice?
12-04-2002, 07:00 PM
Be aggressive promoting yourself.
Look for the most harsh criticism you can find, and go back to it.
Put your butt in a chair the first thing in the morning, and write. No excuses. If you find it's worthless later, throw it away ruthlessly.
Get a couple books that explain common problems writers have. "On Writing" by Stephen King. (It doesn't matter whether you like his style.) "The Screenwriter's Problem Solver" by Syd Field.
Accept criticism from teachers and professors. Take writing classes in college. Do not join writer's groups.
12-04-2002, 07:07 PM
I have submitted to and been published by my school's literary magazine as well as winning a writing contest I know that's not much
It's more than most people can achieve (talent wise)
12-04-2002, 07:11 PM
Go to your local bookstore and find the book "The Deer on a Bicycle, Excurisions into the writing of humor" by Patrick McManus. The book has lots of info on how to get started, writing for magazines, finding an agent, etc. Plus the book has some of the funniest writing you will ever find.
12-04-2002, 07:12 PM
Try to submit your short stories to some of the online magazines that accept work in your genre. If the work stands on its own, they won't care if you're a teenager, as long as they don't have any laws against it (as perhaps erotica might). Trying is the best way to get both paid and praised (eventually).
I've written three unpublished novels, and quite a few short stories, and the only works I've had published are game reviews and one upcoming article in a magazine, which still makes me a professional writer (I get paid for it), but wasn't what I set out to do. Consider areas you've never previously thought about writing about.
Only now, seven years into this, am I getting personal rejection letters (YES!) on my short stories (as opposed to form letter rejections), so be prepared for LOTS of rejection.
Best of luck. Writing takes perserverance and willpower as much as it takes skill and luck.
12-04-2002, 07:21 PM
This thread might do very well in Cafe Society. It's a bit of a judgement call but I think it fits better over there.
Movin' it on over....
12-04-2002, 11:13 PM
Get a copy of Stephen King's On Writing. Get a copy of The Elements of Style. Get a copy of The Elements of Grammar. Get a copy of On Writing Well. Read them all, and decide what you think of them.
Then write. A lot.
12-05-2002, 08:34 AM
Also try to track down Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain.
And keep writing. Also, when you've finished a story, send it to the best-paying market that publishes that kind of work. There's no reason not to start at the top.
12-05-2002, 10:18 AM
My advice is to NOT read books about writing or writing technique. If you are good enough then you will get published. If you are'nt then no books will help you. Its a matter of talent and talent cannot be learned. My suggestion is to just do your own thing, get a typewriter and write your brains out. Keep doing it and then do it some more. I am a fairly young writer (21) and I truly feel that by not following anyones advice on writing I was able to achieve my own voice and own style. I have managed to publish quite a bit for my age and have been able to even make a little money . I think art is something that comes from solitude and not from following other people. Leave the advice books on the shelf and learn how to write from yourself.
12-05-2002, 10:50 AM
I have written a memoir and am in the middle of another fantasy based book at the moment. Reality Chuck has a website about some basic things (like manuscript format and finding an agent and such). It is good advice.
Also, if you want to start writing longer things, it is a good idea to write a rough outline and keep notes about places the characters take you. If you can write a short story you can write a novel. It just takes more time. 50,000 words equates to roughly 150 pages so 25 2k word chapters is a novel.
One other place to check, The Writer's Market 2002 or whichever is the current is a good place to find places where you can submit your works and has a lot of research about it all thrown into one place. If you start to write books worth of material you will probably want to look into getting an agent to sell your material for you. He may take a chunk of what you make but he will likely get you a better package deal out of it. Again, read through Chuck's website (in his profile) for new writers.
Angel of the Lord
12-05-2002, 10:59 AM
Write a lot, submit a lot, and prepare for a LOT of rejection. That's about all I can tell you. Of course, all the suggestions in this thread are very good.
JOOC, which writing contest did you win? 'Cause there are some REALLY cool ones out there.
Actually...e-mail me for some links, ok?
12-05-2002, 03:02 PM
OfBlinkingThings, books on writing won't teach you how to find your voice or anything, but they'll teach you things such as how to properly format a manuscript, how to write a query letter, what showing instead of telling is, etc. As the OP is young, this is information she might not have been taught.
Azure, if you can't afford the books, then the Internet contains plenty of resources, which is how I learned most of what I know. http://www.sfwa.org is easily one of the best. It doesn't matter if you plan to write fantasy or sci-fi. The information is useful for anyone.
[slight hijack]For what sort of writing have you been published, OfBlinkingThings?[/slight hijack]
12-05-2002, 03:35 PM
Mostly journalism. (Art criticism, some political stuff)
I have published a few short stories and plays and am working on a novel now.
12-05-2002, 04:47 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll take a look at those books and try writing more. Angel of the Lord, it's nothing I'd want to brag about. A TV channel was having an essay contest where you wrote who you thought was the most important person of the year. I think they liked the person I chose, because looking back at the essay itself makes me cringe. Well, I got some money out of it anyway.
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