Monday, June 4, 2012

WRITE ON! HAS MOVED!

Hey there! Looking to join Write On!? We've MOVED to a NEW LOCATION!


(Or type writeonteens.com in your browser search bar.)

See you there!

Looking for the old blog archives? Scroll down (and see the Archives menu to the right) to browse through our history, and see where we began!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Check out Write On!'s new site!

It's official: we've moved beyond the limits of this blog. We're now parked at our very own domain -- writeonteens.com!

HEAD OVER THERE NOW

Make sure you sign up so we can all reconnect! And let us know (on the "FAQ" page, over there) if you have any questions or problems.

See you inside!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Out with one Team member, in with another!

Hey everyone!

Quick update before the Big Announcement tomorrow (have you signed up for the newsletter, followed us on Twitter, and liked us on Facebook?? Good! You'll be first to know.) that's both good news and sad news.

First, the sad news. One of our Teen Team has decided, for personal reasons, to call it quits. Let's all give Mad, who's been in this with us from the very beginning, a huge thank-you for all she's done for the group! From formatting contest/crit entries to writing From The Trenches posts, Mad's carved her name in the history of the blog, and we'll be forever grateful for her time and awesomeness. Thank you, Mad!

As we're waving one Team member off, we're excited to usher in someone new. The good news: Constance is joining the Team as a Chat Hostess! Look forward to her chats on Friday evenings. (Speaking of which, she's hosting one tonight! Be there. 7pm EST.) Welcome to the Team, Constance! We can't wait to see even more of your awesomeness around here.

That being said, we're looking to the future. Specifically tomorrow.

Keep your eyes peeled! And talk to you SOON.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Where's the newsletter?

You may have noticed our newsletter's just a couple days late this month. That's because there are a lot of changes going on right now behind-the-scenes. Just hang tight! You'll get your shiny all-in-one-place email SOON. We promise!

Thanks for your patience!

Come ask Editor Alison YOUR QUESTIONS!!


For the next couple days, editor ALISON WEISS will be answering any question you can possibly think of in the FORUMS! So don't be shy! We promise-- she doesn't bite.

Click HERE to head over there now.


See you there!

Friday, April 27, 2012

FROM THE TRENCHES: MAD


We’ve all heard the saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

I’m not going to mince words.

Whatever you do guys, please, make sure it makes you happy. Money is fine and all, but if you’re miserable, the job will be another job and nothing more. It won’t bring you joy and it won’t bring you peace.

Since I think it’s safe to say that everyone here loves writing to the point of insanity, I’m going to gear this towards that, and say that writing is sometimes just plain hard.

It’s not always easy, but if you really love it, you’ll push through that. You’ll keep going even when it’s hard, because there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

Don’t believe me?

Ask a published author. I’m sure they’ll tell you that when they were just starting out, they didn’t think they’d make it either.

But you know what?

They did.

I’m going to end this post now, before I say something really stupid. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the Trenches: Taryn: How to Get Published

How to Get Published

1. Decide to write a book.
2. Tell everyone about this book you're gonna write.
2b. Tell them they need to wait, like, maybe a year before they get to read it.
3. Open up your word processor.
4. Stare at blank page.
5. Write something.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Repeatedly.
7. Repeat step 6. Repeatedly.
8. Search the internet for critique partners.
9. Don't click with those CPs.
10. Repeat step 8.
11. Send manuscript to CPs.
12. Panic.
13. Eat chocolate.
14. Receive by CP notes.
15. Cry.
16. Eat more chocolate.
17. Incorporate notes.
18. Repeat steps 11-17.
19. Write query letter.
20. Get query letter critiqued.
21. Revise query letter.
22. Repeat steps 20+21.
23. Research agents.
24. Query agents.
25. Eat chocolate.
26. Receive rejections.
27. Receive partial request!
28. Receive rejections.
29. Receive full request!
30. Receive partial rejection.
31. Receive rejections.
32. Receive full request!
33. Receive full rejection.
34. Receive OFFER OF REPRESENTATION.
35. Sign with AWESOME agent.
36. Blog about it.
37. Get agent notes for revisions.
38. Panic.
39. Eat chocolate.
40. Revise.
41. Send revisions to agent.
42. Eat chocolate.
43. Agent returns manuscript with smaller line edits.
44. Eat chocolate.
45. Revise.
46. Send revisions to agent.
47. Get email saying "Looks good, we're going on sub next week."
48. Dance.
49. Panic.
50. Eat chocolate.
51. Repeat steps 48-50.
52. See pitch letter.
52b. See pitch list.
53. Organize your bookshelf by publishing imprint.
54. Dream of auctions and dollar signs.
55. Realize you'd be happy with ANYONE wanting your book.
55b. Even if it's only a $1000 advance.
55c. A $100 advance?
55d. FOR FREE, PLEEEEEASE!!!
56. Go on sub.
57. Surgically attach phone and computer to your body.
58. Eat chocolate.
59. Frantically call agent every hour, wondering if you were forgotten about.
60. Get rejection.
61. Get "editor interest."
62. Dance.
63. Eat celebratory chocolate.
64. Get told there wasn't enough support from the house.
65. Cry.
66. Eat chocolate.
67. Get more "editor interest."
68. Hold your breath, because you're an old hat now.
69. GET AN OFFER OMG OMG OMG.
70. Dance.
71. Eat celebratory chocolate.
72. Wait.
73. Finalize details.
74. Write a blog post about it.
75. Get editorial letter.
76. Cry.
77. Eat chocolate.
78. Revise.
79. Send off revisions.
80. Get more revisions.
81. Repeat steps 76-79.
82. Get line edits.
83. Repeat steps 76-79.
84. Get copy edits.
85. Repeat steps 76-79.
86. Get first pass page.
87. Marvel.
88. Get ARCs.
89. Marvel.
90. Start thinking about marketing.
91. Do interviews.
92. Plan author tours.
92b. Plan blog tours.
93. See finished copy of book.
94. Dance.
95. Freak out at typo on page 82.
96. Eat chocolate
97. Release day party!
98. See book on shelves at bookstores.
99. Pinch self--this must be a dream.
100. Realize you are published.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

FTT: Maggie -- How much description?

I've been mulling over this for a few days now, and since I'm late to post my From The Trenches, I figured now's a good time to get it out.

So, character descriptions. They're what let us know what a character looks like. (Duh!) I'm a visual person, so to me, they're extremely important. I like to know what to imagine when I'm seeing the scenes play out in my head. Who's throwing that axe? What do they look like? Who's saying that while waving their arms? How does this group of people look together?

While I think you shouldn't over-describe your characters (just like everything else, too much is too much!), I actually need the details. Height, weight, skin color, eye color, hair color. All those things are really helpful to me when I'm reading.

I've read a few books now that have gone quite a few chapters before they mentioned what their protagonist looked like. When they finally did, it was jarring, because I'd had to fill that blank, visual-less space with an invention of my own. Particularly when the novel's first person, we're right in our MC's head, it's SO easy to avoid how hard it is to describe them without the use of a mirror. But for me, I really need it to happen, within the first few chapters, if at all possible.

I need that visual.

Some of you may disagree. And that's what I'd like to know. How much should characters be described? Which parts do you think should be left to the imagination? How soon in a novel should a writer mention physical appearances?

Discuss in the comment box below! See you there!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Author Interview -- Jodi Meadows

As promised in the newsletter, we have another Author Interview for you! This time, it's with newly-published author Jodi Meadows. Write On!, meet Jodi!

JODI MEADOWS

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.

*A Kippy is a cat.


-----

MAGGIE: Your debut novel, "INCARNATE", was just released this year! How exciting! Tell us a little bit about it-- the premise, the story behind writing it, and how it ultimately landed in book stores.

JODI: Hah, this question is totally cheating. There are like five questions in one! But okay. I've actually gone over the publication process with Authoress Anonymous recently, HERE*.

So, the short version is this: many years ago, I had an idea to write a story set in a world where everyone was perpetually reincarnated, except one new person. But that idea sounded hard, so I put it aside and worked on other projects. Then, when I was coming off a really low point in my writing life, I decided to write a story for me, rather than for publication. I wrote INCARNATE. It ended up getting published anyway. 

MAGGIE: Maybe just a little. ;) Perfect answer! Which brings us to: Querying can be a long and wearying process, and I'm sure you've had your fair share. What is the best advice you can give to those of us who plan to query in the (near) future, or who already are querying now and may be a little discouraged?

JODI: Hmm. Keep querying. Query more. Query until you run out of agents to query, and then start querying the next book. (You have been writing the next book, haven't you?)

But also, pay attention to what kind of responses you're getting. If your first ten or fifteen responses are all form letters and no requests, then you probably need to work on your query letter. Compare it to successful queries. (Many authors post theirs online somewhere.) Figure out what their queries are doing right and what you can learn from them. Make sure you're sending out the absolute best query possible.

And if you're getting lots of requests but no offers, it's time to start looking critically at your first pages or entire manuscript. If they give you feedback, don't ignore it. Consider their comments and decide if they're in line with your story. Believe in your manuscript, but don't be afraid to see its flaws and fix them.

MAGGIE: Excellent advice! Semi-related, I've heard tell that you're wickedly fast when it comes to drafting novels. What's your trick?

JODI: There's no trick. When I'm drafting a novel, I write every day for hours and hours. My average wordcount per hour isn't much different than most people's. The only difference is that I can write all day because I don't have another job.

MAGGIE: Ahh. Makes sense! On that note, how many novels, in total, have you written?

JODI: Oh goodness!

Finished manuscripts . . . twenty-one. INCARNATE was number seventeen.

MAGGIE: Wow! Just out of curiosity, do you hope to publish all or some or a few of those twenty-one stories?

JODI: There are a few of those manuscripts I'd like to see published, but a lot of them . . . no. They were good practice. I'm glad I wrote them. They helped me figure out my strengths and weaknesses, and they taught me a lot. But some just don't need to leave the house. Ever.

MAGGIE: Let's talk CHARACTERS. They're so important to a story. How do you, personally, bring characters to life? 

Image swiped from HERE
JODI: For me, my characters appear in my head fully formed, but transferring them to paper can be tricky. Even though they're all there already, I still have to get to know them. Some people do character interviews and take lots of notes on how their characters might react to different situations. Though I've tried that, it wasn't for me. The best thing for me has been to drop them in a scene (even if it doesn't make it into the story) and see what they do. I try to listen to their voice, consider their past and motivations, and learn their deepest fears.

MAGGIE: When it comes to editing novels, a lot of us feel daunted or buried alive in our own mistakes and failings. How do you tackle edits and revisions? What mindsets have you found help to carry you through?

JODI: The first thing I do when I get back edits is walk away from the computer. Alarmingly, I tend to go on cleaning binges while I let ideas tumble in my head. It's important for me to think about things before accepting or disregarding them, that way I don't ignore something because they're WRONG or accept something because I'M SUCH A TERRIBLE WRITER I WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH WOE. Neither extreme is good for the story or me, so thinking about it while I do something productive -- that works best for me.

Once I've come to terms with my perfect story not being so perfect, I try to make a plan. If I'm still feeling good about it after a couple days, I get to work.

MAGGIE: Excellent advice. You're famous for your epic kisses (and I do agree, INCARNATE has one of the best I've ever read.) What is your view on romance in novels, and what you've found works or doesn't?

JODI: I love romance in novels! Obviously. :)

Writing a good romance isn't easy, but a well-written romance just stays and stays and stays with you. They make me happy. 

Since you mentioned my kissing scenes, I'll also add that while I like it when they kiss . . . I also try to focus more on the emotions that come with the physical. Those emotional responses are just as (often more) important than whose hand is where and what someone's tongue is doing.

MAGGIE: So true! At the end of the day, published or unpublished, most of us reading this are writers. Because it's always uplifting to read, what are your dreams as a writer? Where do you want your stories to take you? 

JODI: The thing about writing dreams is that no matter what goals you accomplish, there are always more just beyond that. If your dream is to write a book, well, what about getting that published? What about writing more books? What about hitting a bestseller list, or award nomination, or reaching a certain audience, or selling a certain number of copies . . . 

I played the goals game for a long time before INCARNATE sold. I still do, to an extent (because I want to be able to sell more books and feed my cat and ferret in the future), but I've also learned a lot about how focusing solely on goals affects one's happiness. 

So for me, the best thing has been to have a few goals, sure, because they can drive me to do better than I am, but my biggest focus needs to be writing the best story possible. I need to write a story that moves me, first. I need to write for myself, rather than everyone else, and trust that someone else out there (hopefully lots of someones) is going to love the end result as much as I do.

My biggest dream as a writer? To never forget what's truly important when I'm writing a story.

MAGGIE: Beautifully said. Are you writing anything now? If so, describe it in three words.

JODI: Incarnate number three. ;)

MAGGIE: Woohoo! I can't wait. If you could have only one super power, what would it be and why?

JODI: Supergenius. Because who doesn't want to be ridiculously smart? Maybe I would finally be able to achieve Perfect First Drafts.

MAGGIE: Love it. We'll end with a fun one. Favorite ice cream flavor?

JODI: Chocolate chip cookie dough. Ice cream AND cookies together in one bowl. Yum.

MAGGIE: Excellent choice. Now I want some. 

Thank you so much for participating! You've given some AWESOME answers. 

JODI: Thank you for having me!

-----

*Link not working? Copy & paste: http://www.misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/2012/01/release-day-interview-with-jodi-meadows.html


Until next time!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thank you, Alison!

As we wrap up the St. Patrick's Day Critique (didn't leave leave a comment yet? It's not too late!), HUGE thank-you's go to our special guest critter, Alison Weiss, who took the time to leave super awesome feedback on all the entries! You rock, Alison!

Critique can be hard, so during this time it's important to make the choice not to let the faults of your work override how much you love it. Take a deep breath, step back, and tackle those problems when you're ready!

Thanks for participating, and hope everyone enjoyed.

Until next time!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #9

TITLE: Aqueous
GENRE: YA contemporary fantasy

“Where’s my camera?”

Dad looked thunderstruck. “Is that all you can say? You almost died. You shouldn't have been out in the first place. This is why I--"

“Lane!” That was mom. “Shut up! Just shut up, will you?” She stroked my hand. “How are you feeling, honey?”

“I want to know what happened to my camera.”

“Well, where did you have it last?”

“On the boat.” I swallowed an unwanted lump in my throat. “I put it in one of the storage compartments.”

“It should be fine. When Joseph realized you were gone, he circled back to look for you. He ran the boat ashore.”

“And left it there?”

Mom nodded, patting my hand gently.

“But my camera!”

“Do you mind?” dad snapped. “That camera almost cost you your life!”

I knew dad talked louder the more upset he got, but it didn’t soften the sting of his words.

“The best thing you can do right now is try to relax, and get some sleep,” the nurse said, her calm voice a lifeline in a sea of discord. “You've had a close brush with hypothermia.”

I bit my bottom lip, and then winced. It was swollen, painful to the touch. What had I done, bit a chunk out of it?

“Can’t hypothermia kill you?” I asked.

The nurse’s forehead creased. “Yes. Very easily, and very quickly. You’re extremely lucky.”

I wasn’t sure if I felt lucky. I wasn’t sure of how I felt about anything. Except that I wanted my camera back.

I wanted those pictures.

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #8


TITLE: Practissimo
GENRE: Historical Adventure/Romance

Taylor lifted his weapon—a sharp stick—and jabbed Manerow in the face.

Eric roared, clapping his hands to his cheek.  “Guards!  To me!”  His call rang across the garden.

Eric swiped, and Taylor ducked, thwacking the branch across Eric’s knees, and the man stumbled back, almost hitting Addie.  She jumped to the side and ran around the fountain to the the hedge opposite him.

Manerow stepped forward and swung, keeping a hand to his cheek, and Taylor cracked the stick against his wrist.  Eric grunted and swiped again from the right, and Taylor lashed him near the eyes, sending him backwards.  The strategy held for now, but against more than one opponent, he wasn’t sure.  He wasn’t sure against just the one.  He hadn’t planned for things to get this far.

Eric abandoned his one-handed attack and lunged for the branch, managing to grab the end.  Taylor jerked at it, but it didn't budge, and Manerow rammed the stick into his gut, forcing a yell from him and thrusting him back into the hedge.

Taylor pushed off the branches, getting halfway to his feet, and Eric punched him in the face.  His vision flashed dark, pain shocking around his left eye.

“Eric, please, that’s enough!” Addie cried.

Another powerful blow dug into his stomach, and he curled in on himself, dry heaving into the leaves.

“Eric, please!”  She sounded close.  The rumbling of boots on dirt surrounded them, and Taylor glanced up.  Addie had wrapped herself around Eric’s arm, and ten guards filed into the alcove.

She stepped back, rose petals falling from her gown, eyes at her feet.

“Sir Manerow?” one of them asked.

Eric pointed at Taylor, red-faced with exertion.  “This is the intruder.  Take him to the king’s dungeons as instructed.”

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #7

Title: Begging to Breathe
Genre: YA mystery

I spend the first length of the pool underwater, dolphin kicking along the bottom, dragging my fingertips across the tiles. The bulkhead that separates the part of the pool for competition from the part of the pool for easy swimming floats two or three feet off the bottom, and from my perspective, I can see a shadow of something trapped underneath it. Something big.

I porpoise up, take a deep lungful of air, and dive back down. I’m less than five yards away, and my heart is pounding, because what I think I see can’t be real. I need air again, even though I can usually hold my breath for a couple minutes. I start to remember last year. As I tread water, taking deep, shaky gulps of oxygen, oxygen that refuses to inflate my lungs, Blue comes up behind me.

“Get out of the middle of the lane,” he says, swimming forward.

I pull his ankle backward. “L-look under the bulkhead.”

“Is it a condom again?” His voice breaks. He bites his lip.

Usually he throws out dirty jokes like I throw out second place ribbons—or, like I would if I had any—so I narrow my eyes. He raises his chin. I sigh. “Ew, no.”

He turns around and swims back the other way, leaving me alone. With it. Whatever it is. I focus, exhale, then inhale, and dive down, keeping my eyes closed until my searching fingers hit plastic. I follow the bulkhead down until it ends, then I open my eyes—and let out a scream of bubbles and kick away hard, fast, choking and gagging.

Oh my god oh my god oh my god.

Because it’s Julia.

And she’s dead.

And it’s all, undeniably, my fault.

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #6


Title: Beyond the Horizon
Genre: Mystery/Romantic

As I near the turn in the corridor, my back against the white walls, my heart beating wildly in my chest, I can’t forget last night and the message that I saw. Crouching down and peeking to make sure all is safe, I turn back and signal to Tania to come. She runs towards me silently, her silver hair swishing with every step.

“Look, I know we’re not supposed to be here but I really need that book! I’m sorry if I—” I say, whispering but she covers my mouth with her hand suddenly, signalling that someone might be here. I switch off the flashlight and we both crouch down, listening to the sound of slow, heavy footsteps and our racing hearts.

A gruff, low voice then says, “I got it. Let’s get out of here.”

His partner, in an equally gruff voice adds, “Check to make sure we left nothing behind.” They then separate and footsteps begin to come closer to us. Trying to squeeze ourselves into a ball, I grab onto Tania’s hand and we try to be silent, not even letting our breaths make a sound. My mind races, thinking of where to run if he gets any closer. If we get up and run now, we might be able to make it to the second floor. Okay, God. It’s all up to You now. 

Reacting on instinct, I grab Tania’s hand and run as fast as I can, praying we don’t get caught.
“He’s seen us!” she screams, and we zip through the old familiar hallways, running towards the light.

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #5


TITLE: The Night
GENRE: Epic YA Fantasy

Taeon strode out of the trees, fists clenched in an effort to restrain the fire as he approached.

“Get away from her, Varloi,” he said through clenched teeth.  The fire raged against his control, pressing in on him, wanting to burn this magician to the ground.

“I interrogate a prisoner,” the Varloi replied, unmoving.

The heat redoubled, and Taeon tried to think through its stifling presence, to consider the consequences.  “Leave her, Varloi.”  The fire licked at him, more insistent, and the invisible tongues of heat became claws.  The noon sun saturated the air around him.  He had to get rid of it, before it became too much to control.

The magician only smiled.

And then the heat recoiled, and light dimmed, flickering.  The Master Varloi stood beside him, holding a small golden box.  The metal inside glowed a deep, malevolent red.

The red metal drew more, though the heat was gone, pulling and grabbing at the fire that lived inside him until he collapsed.  He shuddered with weakness, and with the pain like daggers of ice.

“Stop!  You’re killing him,” Nari cried.

The Master Varloi closed his box slowly.  “Very well.”

Taeon gasped, stealing back his breath.  “What is the meaning of this, Varloi?”  He struggled to pull himself up as warmth returned in an aching flood.

“As an ehkel of fire, an uncontrolled display of power would prove fatal to many among us, including our prisoner.  It was my duty to the keralen to eliminate the threat.”

“I had it under control.  And it is my duty to keep the prisoner safe from your methods, magician.”

“That has been removed from your responsibilities.  You have proven yourself unfit to lead this mission, and, therefore, I shall be reinstated as master.  You will obey me.”

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #4


Title: We've all Been There
Genre: YA

“We are here today with rising country pop singer, Juliet Summer.”

This was it. I fingered my purity ring willing it to give me luck. It was St. Patrick’s day after all.

“Please my friends just call me Tex.”  I inwardly cringed at the word friends; they weren’t what-you-might-call plentiful.

“Where does that come from?” The audience laughed, I couldn’t really see what was so funny about it.

“It’s my middle name.” My slight twang seemed magnified against my host’s culturally neutral drawl.

“Alright Tex.” She specially put a cowboy sound on it. It sounded so fake it was sick.  “Do you know who Timothy Walters?” And then smiled like I should know, like everyone knew, but I didn’t.

“No.”

“Really? Well you can meet him now.”

“Okay.”  I  stood up and turned my head toward the entrance I came in.

In walked in T.W. the famous, like really famous singer, who hadn’t heard of him? And I had just said I never had. So much for luck. I had never really believed in luck before. I knew God orchestrated all those details. So more likely it had been bad luck for me to believe in luck.

“Tim I would like you to meet Tex.”

“Hi.” I shook his hand, blood creeping up my face.

He sat down next to me on the couch and I was sweating bullets.

“I think I have heard of you before. I mean I just didn’t recognize your full name. Sorry.” I didn’t know to whom or why I was apologizing. It was just something I had to do.

“We’ve all been there.” He laughed at my stupid, na├»ve mistake.

Before I could respond, I heard, “And we will be right back with more from Tex and T.W. after this.” And we went to break.

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #3


TITLE: A Gamble
GENRE: Fantasy

Only three Blots landed purple side up. Famiem huddled closer to the back of the Drawn's wagon, her shackles clinking.

Raylen took a deep breath, and slid the Blots toward her competitor.

Bad toss, that was. Pity. The trader smirked as he shook the flat disks. Purple and green flashed between his fingers, whirling and clashing but never escaping his grip.

He's experienced. Raylen gritted her teeth. But only luck matters here.

So said the Drawn, who watched impassively at the side of the board, gauging and measuring and weighing, as always. The youngest fidgeted.

With a flourish, the trader spun the Blots onto the board. Half spun straight into the dust, yet more than three greens remained. Raylen's mind stalled.


What does that mean?

Her heartbeat quickened, the trader swore, and the oldest of the Drawn shook his head.

"Poor luck. Very poor luck," he said slowly. A pause as he regarded Raylen, then Famiem. "The girl has freed herself. But she must bet that freedom back again to win her sister."

Hardly a daring wager; she'd already staked her life on the Blots to catch the Drawn's interest.

Raylen scratched her wrists. She shook the Blots. Then her eyes closed - dropped them onto the board and jammed her fists into her armpits, waiting.

"Lucky girl," the old Drawn said. Respect laced his voice. "A perfect win."

Raylen opened her eyes. Purple stared up from every Blot.

And the youngest Drawn stared hard at her from across the board. Here came the real gamble.

The boy slowly cleared the board as the other Drawn ran off the "luckless" trader and removed Famiem's shackles.

He didn't say a word about the pouches strapped inside Raylen's sleeves, or the purple paint coating both sides of the disks.

Raylen had been lucky.

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #2


Title: Substitute
Genre: Science Fiction (short story)

Some people have skeletons in their closet. Things they don’t want as public information, whether out of fear or shame. Things that shouldn’t have happened. Things that shouldn’t exist.

Some people have skeletons. The Senate of Eochatos has me.

“Claudia.” said a loud voice. I jerked my head up. The doctor stared at me, his glassy eyes shifting as he looked over me. He stroked his chin with one steel hand, “How is your emotional processing?”

“Just fine.” I said, smiling tightly as a grey-clad nurse approached with a syringe and two-inch needle.

She murmured, “This won’t hurt a bit.” and began to wipe the back of my hand with a sanitizing cloth.

The doctor leaned back against his silver chair, “Senator Drendle said you’ve had trouble sleeping lately.”

The needle sunk into my hand, sending a thin plastic tube into the vein. I watched out of the corner of my eye as blood filled the capsule on the table. “I guess.”

“You know, Claudia, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.” he said, irritation bleeding into his tone, “That’s why we’re here, you know. To help you.” Because without us, you won’t be here. Without our help, you’ll fall to pieces. 

“I’m tired of being treated like glass.” I said finally, pulling away from the nurse. The tube tugged against my hand, “I’m not going to break if I don’t come see you every week, Dr. Mallon. Besides, you’re the psychologist--it’s not good for people to be controlled this much, especially not at my age.”

“Not good for people.” he repeated, putting emphasis on the last word.

I clenched my jaw, “I am a person.” The nurse silently pulled out the tube and threw the needle aside, capping the vial of blood.

LUCKY CRITIQUE ENTRY #1


TITLE: Extraction
GENRE: YA Sci-fi

I sink to my knees and scoot back from the edge as far as I can, gritting my teeth and trying not to think about slipping. I am too high, too high, too high.

A loud whirring arises in the streets below me. From around a corner, a round silver contraption lifts into the air, its rotors spinning a cloud of dust. A flight pod, come to rescue me.

Only, no way is it really for rescuing. I'm going to need a clever story.

As the pod nears my beam, my throat tightens. The chances of them letting me into the Core, letting me grow old and live to save Logan are next-to-nothing now. Why did I do this? I should have found some other way to escape the boys, not started climbing a restricted building.

A door slides open, and an official reaches his hand out. “You'll have to jump,” he shouts over the loud rotors.

Act. Innocent, I tell myself. That's the only thing that might help me.

I jump with a cry into the pod and stumble when my feet hit the metal floor. The patrol catches me as the door slides shut, silencing the wind's roar.

Hands release me, and my legs give out.

“I'm s-s-sorry,” I fake-sob. “I didn't mean to c-c-climb!”

“It's all right.” The official drops to a knee beside me. “We're going to catch the kids who were chasing you.”

Shaking from the cold, breathing unsteadily, I stare at him.

His eyes are narrowed, but not in the way I am used to. Like he's on my side, all of a sudden. Still programmed to harm, but this time it won't be me. This time, it will be for me.

I don’t know how I ever got so lucky.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Critique SUBMISSION WINDOW CLOSED!

The submission window for the St. Patrick's Day contest is now officially CLOSED! All the entries will be posted TOMORROW, open for critique by anyone who visits the blog, as well as our special guest critter, Alison!

Make sure that, if you entered, you critique a minimum of 3 other entries.

Good luck, everyone!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Special guest critter announced...

We're STILL TAKING SUBMISSIONS for the St. Patrick's Day critique, until tomorrow at 6pm EST or when we hit 15 entries, whichever comes first.

All the posts will be open for critique by all the Write On! teens, anyone who visits the blog, and our SPECIAL GUEST CRITTER. That special guest will be Alison Weiss of Egmont!

If you don't already know from our monthly Ask-The-Editor rounds, Alison is an editor, and has agreed to give feedback on all the St. Patrick's Day entries. Get your lucky excerpt/scene together, and submit while there's still space!


Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Critique -- SUBMISSIONS WINDOW IS OPEN!

Aaaand it's time to get those no-more-than 300 word lucky scenes ready, because the SUBMISSION WINDOW IS OPEN! Full guidelines below.

We're accepting NO MORE THAN 15 ENTRIES, so waste no time getting yours in!


  • The submission window closes FRIDAY, MARCH 16th at 6PM EST.
  • You may only submit if you're 13-19 years old. Sorry, grownups!
  • Submit no more than 300 WORDS of your lucky scene. It can be part of your WIP, an unfinished novel, or simply a 300-word piece you wrote up specifically for this crit round. The focus is your writing skills, so don't worry where the words come from!
  • You may only submit one entry.  Subsequent entries will be disqualified.
  • Send your submission to writeonDOTsubmissionsATgmail.com with the subject "LUCKY CRITIQUE."
  • Format your entry EXACTLY AS FOLLOWS.
    • SCREEN NAME: (type it here)
    • YOUR AGE: (type it here)
    • TITLE: (type it here)
    • GENRE: (type it here)
    • (Put your lucky less-than-300 words here)
  • You will receive a reply email with your post number.  Please be patient! Mad will be taking care of submissions by hand.
  • By entering this critique round, you are giving implicit permission to have your work posted and publicly critiqued.
  • By entering this critique round, you agree to critique a minimum of 3 other entries.
  • All entries will be posted anonymously.  (Your age will not be included, either.)

We're aiming to post our entries ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Critique!



In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we're having a special critique round. This is an opportunity to have your work read (and critiqued!) by teens, adults-- basically anyone who reads the blog! You interested yet?

The theme is luck. Whether it's a pivotal scene where your MC's luck is changing, a lucky escape, an unlucky day, or anything you can think of relating to 'luck' is up to you. Complete submission guidelines below

  • The submission window opens MONDAY, MARCH 12th at 6AM EST and closes FRIDAY, MARCH 16th at 6PM EST.
  • You may only submit if you're 13-19 years old. Sorry, grownups!
  • Submit no more than 300 WORDS of your lucky scene. It can be part of your WIP, an unfinished novel, or simply a 300-word piece you wrote up specifically for this crit round. The focus is your writing skills, so don't worry where the words come from!
  • You may only submit one entry.  Subsequent entries will be disqualified.
  • Send your submission to writeonDOTsubmissionsATgmail.com with the subject "LUCKY CRITIQUE".
  • Format your entry EXACTLY AS FOLLOWS:
    • SCREEN NAME: (type it here)
    • YOUR AGE: (type it here)
    • TITLE: (type it here)
    • GENRE: (type it here)
    • (Put your lucky less-than-300 words here)
  • You will receive a reply email with your post number.  Please be patient! Mad will be taking care of submissions by hand.
  • By entering this critique round, you are giving implicit permission to have your work posted and publicly critiqued.
  • By entering this critique round, you agree to critique a minimum of 3 other entries.
  • All entries will be posted anonymously.  (Your age will not be included, either.)
Entries are planned to post St. Patrick's Day! Make sure to spread the word. The more people who know, the more feedback you'll get.

Good LUCK!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chat with agent Sarah LaPolla!

Our 10th Agent Chat is approaching fast! This Saturday, we're offering you the opportunity to chat with agent Sarah LaPolla for one hour. Details below.

When: Saturday March 10th at 7PM EST
Where: A chatroom accessible by registration only!
Who: Any teen 13-19 years old who has questions to ask, or would simply like to learn more about books, writing, publishing, queries, etc.


CLICK HERE* TO REGISTER! Not sure if you can make it? Register anyway, so the link will be in your inbox, if you need it.

See you there!


*Link not working? Copy & paste: http://writeon.forumotion.com/t521-agent-chat-with-sarah-lapolla-saturday-march-10

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Come ask Alison Weiss YOUR QUESTIONS!

For TWO STRAIGHT DAYS, editor Alison Weiss will be answering our questions in the forums! Ask anything you want about anything you want-- books, writing, publishing, editing, cupcake-making. (Okay, maybe kidding on the last one.)

See you there!

Friday, March 2, 2012

FTT -- Maggie: Staying True To YOU

First off, I'd like to say that this blog post is for those of you who -- like me -- are writing with a future goal of publication. Whatever your motives: money, fame, touching people's lives, you know that at some point you're going to have to go through the process of querying and trying to sell a novel.

All stories begin as inspiration. A random idea, a momentary thought, caught on paper and developed into a fantastical world full of characters, feelings and happenings. If you've chased that idea to the point where you have a novel in your hands, it probably means that you love it. You're excited about it. It's your baby.

These two things -- pursuing publication and writing something you're excited about -- have their very own sets of emotions. The publication side tends to be more stressful, more focused on "what's selling" and on the "do"s and "don't"s of the publishing world. On the other hand, the excited-about-this-story side, though potentially just as much of a pain when it comes to structure, world building, editing, etc., is much more fun. We love it. It's special. It's irreplaceable. It's why we do what we do, right?

When these things meet, there is a tendency for one to completely suck the life out of the other. If you get too focused on the publishing, you may lose that love for your story, that excitement and that thrill that's so vital to creating something unique and original. Similarly, if you focus too much on how awesome your story is, you may not see things that need to be corrected if you ever want to reach publication or, ultimately, success.

Finding a balance is harder than it sounds, but it's achievable. This is the road I'm on now. I aspire to be published one day. I plan to query, land myself an agent, and, eventually, a killer book deal. (Like the optimism?) But my downfall is focusing too much on this goal. Much as I love my stories, as soon as it comes to sharing them with the world, or fixing them to query-able state, I start to panic. I lose faith in what I loved and spend too much time thinking about whether or not it will sell.

In the end, I think it's so important that you begin your journey toward publication with a healthy dose of each. Make sure you don't lose that passion! Stay true to the novel that kept you awake at night. That novel that sent a chill down your spine. That novel you screamed at because it wouldn't take the shape you wanted, and then doted over when it finally did. That novel that started in your head, and can only emerge through your fingers.

Sure, there will always be a risk of rejection. You may fail the first time. Or the first few times. But that's not a reason to give up. And this is what I need to keep reminding myself.

So. That being said, what are your thoughts? How do you keep the balance between your goals and your love of your story? Do you disagree with anything I've said? I'd love to know!

Happy First Friday of the Month, everyone! Until next time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

From the Trenches: Taryn has an Agent!!!

Hi guys! Some of you probably follow my blog and saw this post on Monday, in which I announced that I am now represented by Vickie Motter, thanks to a contest here. All sorts of yay-ness and the whole story can be found in the aforementioned blog post.

Over here, I just want to talk about the whole teen aspect of the agented thing.

I only queried 15 agents, received 8 full requests, and ended up with more than one offer. Most of the agents who passed said things like "I'm so impressed by the things you've accomplished at your age."

(On the other end of the spectrum, I got one pass from an agent who clearly didn't know my age. She said "YA is definitely your genre...you nail the teen voice...")

But part of being young has nothing to do with writing. When did you write your first full length novel? I was 11. When did you start looking seriously at publishing? I was 16. It's a common saying that you aren't publishable until you've written 1 million words of fiction. Whether it's true or not, I've definitely hit that threshold.

In writer years, I'm mature.

Just because someone else is 28, that doesn't mean they're somehow more deserving of being a serious writer. Writing takes practice, just like anything else.

There are freak stories out there in which someone writes a novel, fixes some typoes, sends it out, gets an agent, and gets a book deal (Michelle Hodkin comes to mind), but most people? Most people are like Natalie Whipple and Beth Revis and the countless other authors who work really really really hard and face many many many setbacks before finally getting to where they are, where we would consider success.

If you're here, reading this blog and learning more about publishing, you're already steps ahead of most adults. Doesn't that feel great?

Friday, February 10, 2012

FROM THE TRENCHES: MAD

I really hope all of this makes sense. I have no idea what I sound like to other people when I blabber…

As I prepare to go on sub for the first time in my life (!), I’ve been thinking a lot about the best tool a writer can have, and it isn’t material, like a spiffy laptop (I dealt with a laptop for months that shut off every five minutes and demanded its own personal fan, and I was extremely tempted). In my book, it doesn’t even involve other people.

I think the best tool a writer can have is a good attitude.

I mean, when you think about it, your attitude can affect your success as a writer in a ton of different facets.
If you don’t have the perseverance, you may never reach that one agent who falls in love with your work, no matter how much work it might still need, because you let those rejections bog you down.

If you’re not open to critique and correction, you might never reach your full potential as a writer, and your writing might not be as good as it could be. There are enough people out there resting on their laurels. Being one of them doesn’t really get one anywhere.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to leave your ego at the door, keep your head down and work hard, asking for opinions and thoughts on your writing, you’re going to be a much better, and much more humble, writer.

I know that my writing has improved tons since I’ve dropped the whole “I don’t need crit partners” crap and really buckled down and seen my work in an unbiased light. Now I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I know how much hard work and persistence can pay off, guys. With aikido—my seven month anniversary is this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier—I work extremely hard, and when I say I work hard, I mean I WORK HARD.

I’m there every week, for every class. I get there early and I practice, practice, practice. I ask my fellow students (who are above me) and my sensei to nit-pick me and to constantly tell me what I can improve on, because I WANT TO GET BETTER. I’m willing to lay my faults out there and have someone tell me how terrible something was, and then how I can fix it.

The best part is that all of my hard work’s paying off. I’m 6 months ahead of schedule with rank testing, and I pretty much know everything below black belt because of how hard I’ve worked. Not only does it make me feel good, but it gives me an advantage on future tests.

I give all of the credit to my success in the martial arts to my hard work, and nothing else.

My point, guys, is that the only thing you really need to worry about with your writing is your state of mind. Everything else will take care of itself.

Does that make sense?

Author Interview -- Kate Constable

It's TIME! Another wonderful author has agreed to an interview, sharing insight and encouragement. WOTeens, meet Kate Constable!

KATE CONSTABLE

"Kate Constable was born in Victoria but spent much of her childhood in Papua New Guinea, without television but within reach of a library where she 'inhaled' stories. She studied Arts/Law at Melbourne University before working part-time for a record company while she began her life as a writer. She has had stories published in Meanjin, Island and other literary magazines. The Singer of All Songs, The Waterless Sea and The Tenth Power form the Chanters of Tremaris series and were her first books, published by Allen + Unwin with very successful overseas sales, followed by a stand-alone novel set in the same world, The Taste of Lightning. She has also written a junior fiction book, Cicada Summer, as well as two books for the popular Girlfriend Fiction series - Always Mackenzie and Winter of Grace. Kate lives in West Preston, Victoria, with her husband and two daughters. She blogs HERE."

____


MAGGIE: You're the published author of more than one book. Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your stories, in particular the Chanters of Tremaris trilogy (which I've read, and adore!)


KATE: The Singer of All Songs (the first book in the Chanters of Tremaris trilogy) was my first attempt at writing fantasy. I'm not a big fantasy reader though I loved fantasy books as a child, so I really came to the whole genre without much baggage. Having said that, there were three big influences on the world of Tremaris:

1) The Earthsea books of Ursula Le Guin. I read these in one big gulp just before I started writing Singer, and it shows (at least I hope it does). I absolutely loved Le Guin's complex world-building, and her thoughtful and compassionate philosophy. I deeply admire her writing, with its serious, spiritual core.

2) The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley was a favourite book for me as an adolescent and young woman, and I reread it several times. I loved the whole idea of the Arthur myth being retold from a female perspective, and I was very attracted to the notion of a women's community dedicated to the learning of magic. Calwyn's walled home, Antaris, was strongly influenced by the descriptions of Avalon and its priestesses.

3) Blake's Seven was a cheesy British sci-fi TV series which I adored when I was a teenager! It was very dark, very witty, but very cheap... all about a gang of space outlaws on the run from the evil Federation in a dystopian future. For ages I flirted with the idea of writing my own space opera with a similar rebel gang, who eventually morphed into the characters of Calwyn's motley crew in Singer. Darrow was actually named for the actor Paul Darrow, who played the character of Avon, who I swooned over in Blake's 7, though my Darrow is LOT nicer than the cold and calculating Avon!

Chanters of Tremaris trilogy
MAGGIE: Super awesome! You've created such a beautiful world. How do you worldbuild? What are your tips, tricks and methods for bringing the places in your mind to life?

KATE: I decided quite early on that Tremaris would be a society without literacy, so no written language, and also no accurate time-keeping. So instead of writing 'a second later...' I would have to write 'a heartbeat later...' or 'In the space of a breath.' I think having to remind myself about that as I wrote helped to preserve the 'otherness' of Tremaris. I worked out the Nine Powers, or different kinds of magical chantments, before I did anything else, which was fun, and that dictated some of the shape of the story as it unfolded. I'm the kind of person who likes to make rules and stick to them!

I also relied quite heavily on a fascinating book called The Year 1000, by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger, which describes what daily life was like for English people in the year 1000 - a largely pre-literate, pre-industrial society not unlike Tremaris. So I picked up a few tips from there too.

I tend to have a very vivid mental picture of the places where I set my characters - sometimes based on real locations, or places I've seen on TV - but tweaked for my own purposes. But many of the place-names, cultures and architecture of places in Tremaris drew on worlds and countries and cities I'd dreamed up as a teenager and written down in notebooks when I was supposed to be doing my maths homework - so all that daydreaming wasn't a waste of time, after all.

MAGGIE: You have one of those casts of characters that we as readers fall in love with. (Or at least, I did!) What are some pointers on bringing characters to life? And what inspires your characters -- people in real life, movies, etc.?

KATE: I guess I put my characters together with little bits from everywhere - characters I've seen on TV or known in books, people I know in real life - though I try not to base anyone too closely on someone I know, because that can get embarrassing!

To tell the truth, I'm not too sure exactly how characters come to life for me. I think this might be part of the writing process that happens unconsciously in my case! One thing I do try to remember is that no one ever believes they are doing the wrong thing - everyone has a reason for acting the way they do. But people's reasons clash and conflict. That's what makes the world interesting.

MAGGIE: So true. Most of us here on Write On! are not (yet) agented. What's your finding-an-agent story? When did you decide that it was time to stop fussing and start querying? 

KATE: I must admit that I didn't ever actively hunt for an agent, in fact I'm not entirely sure what a query letter looks like! I was very lucky that an agent contacted me after I'd won a prize in a national magazine's short story competition. At that time I had only ever written short stories, but she took me out for a coffee and said 'If you ever write a novel...' It was a wonderful encouragement and when I did later finish a novel manuscript, I sent it to her. That novel ended up unpublished, but my next one was The Singer of All Songs. I was very, very fortunate to be spared that whole gruelling process, it all happened very organically for me.

MAGGIE: Wow! How awesome and lucky! So, you have a very sumptuous writing style. Does it come naturally or is there a trick?

KATE: Ooh, sumptuous! I like that, thanks very much! In fact, as time has passed, I have worked on paring back my writing style, so Singer is about as sumptuous as it gets for me. Almost the first thing that my first editor said to me was (quite sternly), 'Too many adjectives, too many -ing words.' I try to write quite plainly now and not let the scene get too cluttered with 'describing' words - you know what writing teachers always tell you -- a strong verb can do the work of ten adjectives, or something like that... But I do love my adjectives and adverbs and I have to be careful that they don't take over! So I guess the answer is that it does come naturally - maybe too naturally!

MAGGIE: Good advice! It's true adjectives are easy to over-use. What are some of your favorite books and authors?

KATE: [Here Kate listed 12 wonderful books*, and then proceeded to choose one (or some) to focus on.] I'm thinking I might pick the Green Knowe books, partly because they're fresh in my mind as I'm currently reading them to my ten year old daughter and loving them all over again. They are gently magical, written with a wonderful sense of poetry that really benefits from reading aloud, and a lovely awareness of the way history runs through a place - in this case, a very old house and its garden and river - which is a particular favourite theme of mine. In fact a few of the books on my favourites list share that same theme.

MAGGIE: Awesome! I'll add them to my to-read list. What's the hardest part of writing for you (i.e. editing, drafting, huge revisions, etc.)? How do you tackle it?

KATE: Actually I really love redrafting and editing! That's my favourite part of the process, polishing and chipping and recrafting to make the material as good as I can. What I find most difficult is coming up with ideas - is that peculiar? I'm certainly not one of those writers who has notebooks overflowing with ideas for books and can't choose between them! I am quite methodical, I like working my way through one project from beginning to end, then moving on to the next thing.

What I enjoy most is the part where the hard work of thinking up and structuring the story is all done, I have a rough draft in front of me, and I can concentrate on just seeing the action in my mind's eye as it unfolds, and describing it as best I can.

MAGGIE: Neat! Are you writing anything now?

KATE:  I'm working on a YA novel set in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s, just before the country gained independence from being an Australian-run territory. It was an interesting time, historically, but not many people in Australia know much about it. And of course I'm interested in it because my family was there (though I was a lot younger than my main character). I've been working on this novel for a long time but it's finally starting to come together. It's tentative titled Independence.

And I've just had a new book come out in Australia called Crow Country, which has been pretty exciting!

MAGGIE: How exciting! And now, to wrap everything up, what's the best advice that you can give to young aspiring authors?

KATE: The only advice I have is to read as much as possible, and as many different styles and genres as you can -- try not to get stuck always reading the same kind of book. If you normally read fiction, try non-fiction. If you usually read fantasy, try some sci-fi. If you only like realism, try some fantasy -- mix it up a bit!

And of course, write as much as you can. Apparently you have spend ten thousand hours practising any skill before you can hope to become really good at it, and I suspect writing is no different! So start clocking up those hours! And good luck. Everyone needs some.


*The Green Knowe books by Lucy M. Boston
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
A Vicarage Family by Noel Streatfeild
Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WRITE ON!


One year ago, Write On! emerged from its shell and jumped out of the nest to fend for itself in the big, bad World Wide Web. To our delight, it was received with warmth, open arms, and excitement, growing from an empty blue and green blog to a tight-knit community of young writers -- all in the course of 365 days.

As we celebrate our first birthday, we'd like to thank YOU for making us what we are today. Without your tweets, forum posts, blog comments, Facebook likes, participation, enthusiasm and support, there would be no Write On!. So today is really a day to celebrate you-- our community.

Here's to another year of more growth, change and excitement. If you have any ideas for the future of Write On!, or would like to help in any way this coming year, head over to the Contact page and drop us a line. We read every email we get.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WRITE ON!

And never stop being awesome, Write On! teens.

Happy Writing! (And reading.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

From The Trenches: Maggie -- Comparing Writers to Shoes

I feel like I apologize a lot on the internet -- usually for my lateness for something or another. Well, this is one of those times. I am late to post this, but this time there is a real excuse; I've been out of town twice this month, and everything normal and organized in my life has gone out the window and been chopped to bits in a jet engine.

All (slight) dramatics aside, I'm writing today on the uniqueness of writers, because it's something I've thought about at length, and I feel like I may have something for a few of you who need to hear this. With that incredibly long sentence out of the way, I'll jump right in with italics, to emphasize my point.

Every writer is different.


You've probably heard it before. Or thought it before. Or something. But I'd like to elaborate on just how true this is.

Let's compare writing to shoes.

Think about all the different feet in the world-- big feet, little feet, (here I ignore the temptation to quote Dr. Seuss), narrow feet, wide feet. Then think about all the different styles of footwear-- sandles, chucks, boots, flats, heels, vibrams. Now think about everyone you meet. You're bound to meet more than one person that share a particular size, or prefer one kind of shoe. But at the end of the day, everyone is different in what they wear and like-- what fits their style, yet is comfortable or effective in one way or another. I believe it's the same with writers, and the way that we tell stories.

There are some basic 'sizes': Pantsers, plotters, in-between-ers.

There are some basic 'styles': Speed writers, organized drafters, slow writers, fast writers, scrambled writers

And, just like shoes, there is a size and style for you. However, I think the most important thing is NOT finding where you "fit in", or trying to map yourself to a specific "writer personality type." While that's fun, it has the potential to drop a couple boulders on your path of creativity. Trying to conform to one size or style isn't, ultimately, going to yield original, stylized, personality-infused novels.

So.

My advice to you, O Writer Who Needs To Hear This, is not to go Perfect Fit Hunting, but to try on several pairs and find what's most comfortable, while still being effective. Something that gets the job done, but does so in a way that doesn't hamper with your creativity, or dampen your personal flair.

That's all I've got for today-- and it's been a long one!

For the comments, what gets the job done for YOU? Do you like to draft in a week and tear it to shreds later? Do you write in 100-word chunks? Do share! Your words may encourage someone else. It helps to know you're not the only one out there.

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, and KEEP WRITING!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vote for Miss Snark's First Victim!

There's a Top Writing Blogs Award going on, and now's the time to vote for the blogs you think are best! Authoress, the fantastic founder of Write On!, is on that list! Let's show our love and give her blog, Miss Snark's First Victim, as many votes as it deserves.

CLICK HERE*

*Link doesn't work? Copy & paste url: http://blog.ecollegefinder.org/writing-blog-award/

Friday, January 20, 2012

Register for next week's AGENT CHAT!

The dates and details are HERE! Want to spend an hour chatting with a real LITERARY AGENT? Have questions you want answered? Looking for ways to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry? Here's your chance!

Next week, we're hosting an hour long chat with guest agent Danielle Chiotti! Grab a seat, because it's going to rock.

WHEN: Thursday January 26th beginning at 7PM EST sharp
WHERE: In a separate chatroom, available only by registration! (We email you the link.)
HOW TO REGISTER: CLICK HERE*

Please remember this is ONLY for teenagers, ages 13-19, so if you don't fit into that age range, please step the other way!

Tweet, Facebook and email the word! Your teen aspiring author friends will thank you.

*Link doesn't work? Copy & paste: http://writeon.forumotion.com/t503-agent-chat-with-danielle-chiotti-thursday-january-26#5350

Friday, January 13, 2012

FROM THE TRENCHES -- MAD

*If this doesn't make sense, I'm on very little sleep right now. I blame that.

With 2012 already here, it's got me thinking a lot about resolutions, and goals both practical and lofty.

For me, my resolutions for this year are to make more time for my writing and art, take at least 2 aikido tests, get an agent, and sleep more. Notice how every goal is dependent upon my effort output except for getting an agent. That is out of my control simply because it's subjective.

That's what I'd like to talk about today: lofty goals.

Personally, I think we all need a  few lofty goals as writers, to keep us going when things get tough--which they will, no doubt. Getting an agent or becoming a bestselling author are great goals, but they're also not entirely in out control, so that's where the practical ones come in to keep us sane, like higher word counts and less purple prose. BUT, the lofty goals, while we achieve our practical ones along the way, help to keep us striving for better things.

All goals make us better, I think, lofty or not.

SO.

Tell me. What are YOUR goals, lofty and otherwise, writerly or not?

Friday, January 6, 2012

From The Trenches -- Maggie: Should teens be published?

I know this topic has been chewed to the bone in the blogging/writing world, but I want to add my voice to the crowd, and what better place than Write On!? I'll just dive right in.

The question is: Should teen writers be published?

This stands back to back with the question "Can teen writers be published?", which, in my opinion, has only one answer. And that's yes. Obviously. It's been proven and done. There are teen authors out there (way to go, guys!). That's not the question I'm tackling in this post. This brings our attention back to the "should" in my first question.

Should they be published?

I don't think there is one, solid answer, to tell you the truth. It is completely dependent on that writer, both as a person and as-- well, a writer. The way I see it, the deciding factors of whether or not you (as a teen writer) "should" be published are as follows:


  1. Your maturity. Can you handle a book deal? Can you handle a professional relationship with your agent, publisher, and editor? Are you prepared for the life of an author (book signings, tours, readings, etc.)? Are you prepared for both success and no success? All those questions should have a very confident "yes", with agreement from the older, wiser people in your life (peers, too) before you consider taking the road of publishing. If they don't, one of them might come back to slap you in the face, later.
  2. Your work itself. Is it well-written? Has it been read/honestly critiqued by your critique partners /writing peers? Is it at least a third draft? (I'm sorry, but you have to be extremely lucky and/or incredibly talented to have a presentable draft that's anything earlier than a third.) Is it properly punctuated, edited, and clean of all grammar mistakes? And (possibly most importantly) do you love it? If you pass all those tests, and you have something that's tight, squeaky-clean and that you're head over heels in love with, then you're totally ready to start asking the questions in #1.
  3. Your readiness and willingness not to give up. This is a hard one because it's so easy to become discouraged. Ask any author who's queried (well, not counting those amazing ones that land deals on their second try) and they will tell you that it's quite a ride. It's not going to be easy, and you're definitely not going to be offered a rainbow bridge or a flying unicorn to the Land of Published Authors. (Unless, of course, you are one of those amazing second-try deal-landers.) It's good to be prepared for rejection, to remind yourself often your vision for that novel (a.k.a why you wanted to publish it in the first place), and to be able to separate the opinions of agents from fact about you and your writing. That goes hand in hand with humbleness and being ready to back down and admit -- after the eleventh agent that says something -- that maybe your main character really isn't likeable.

While all the above is totally my opinion (do keep that in mind!), there is truth to it. I know this, having followed more than one writer in their journey toward publication. Some have succeeded, some are still trying. And what separates those (mostly adult) writers from us teens?

Nothing but a few years.

So my overall, summed-up answer to "Should teen writers be published?" is why not? If you are ready in all aspects mentioned above, and then some, then what should stand between you and success? Age is but a number. If you're ready, your novel is amazing, and you're surrounded in loving and supportive writer friends (hey, even if you're not!) GO FOR IT. And I wish you all the best.

Just my two cents. 

For the comments, I'd love to hear your opinion! Do you agree or disagree with what I've said? Are you a teen author with a goal of publication? What are the things YOU think should be deciding factors of whether or not teen writers should query, and ultimately, aim for publication?

Until next month!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More teen shout-outs!

Two more teen, end-of-2011 blog posts, both including shout-outs to Write On!, and the teens that make it  awesome.

Kaye shouts out to the Write On! teens.

Maggie thanks the Write On! teens for being there when she needed them most.

If YOU have a blog post where you mention how we impacted you last year (or any time!) send it to us.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to you, from Write On! Here's to hoping the coming year is your best yet; full of surprises, challenges, changes, growth, dreams come true, and plenty more writing! (And reading.)

For the comments, what's your New Years resolution? What are your plans for 2012? And in a word, how would you sum 2011 up?