Teen Writers

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Is There A Teen Writers Group Anywhere???

August 2011

My high school daughter loves to write, mostly fantasy fiction. She is pretty serious about it and would like to connect with other teens that share a similar interest. Does anybody know of a teen writers group in the bay area? Lamorinda/Berkeley/Oakland area preferred. Mother of Aspiring Writer

Is your daughter familiar with National Novel Writing Month at www.nanowrimo.org? It was founded in the Bay Area and each year in November when the event happens there are lots of real-life writing groups forming, in addition to the online chats. She could join the site (free) and post for other writers. NaNoWriMo is a fabulous event and has some teen-oriented programs, as I recall. FYI, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It's all self-policed, and there are many ''winners'' who cross the finish line with the minimum word count. It's great fun and an excellent exercise for beginning writers. And I commend you for supporting your daughter in this. I wish I'd had that kind of support as a young writer. Four-time NaNoWriMo winner

We've mostly been going to 826 Valencia in San Francisco for classes/workshops. My teen daughter also writes mostly fantasy -- perhaps we can get our daughters together to see if they could workshop together. I could facilitate a little. We live in Berkeley and would prefer to meet here or at a nearby cafe.

in San Francisco... Dave Eggers co-founded 826 Valencia. http://826valencia.org/ Let us know what you discover. IL

Finding an Agent for Aspiring Talented Teenage Writer

Feb 2011

My 15 year old is a prolific and talented writer of teenage fantasy fiction. I know I am biased, but I think that her writing is so excellent that I would like an agent to look at it (and yes, my daughter is all for that!). Does anyone know how this is done, or have any suggestions for contacts? I know that there are lots of scam artists out there, and I have little idea of how to avoid falling prey to them. Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated! Paperback Writer

Hi there, How cool that your teen is a writer! As a recently agented writer myself (and boy, was that a long process) I would suggest finding a professional writer to take a look at your teen's work just to make sure it's really ready for prime time, unless you have experience judging that yourself. You can often find agents to approach by looking at the acknowledgements section of books that are similar to yours (or your teen's). Better yet is if you can find an agented writer who would be willing to introduce your teen's work to their agent, but it can be difficult to find a writer who will do so. Agents are as hard to land as publishers, so it might be better to skip the agent and identify some small publishing houses that don't require agented submissions and submit a query to them directly. (There are good books on how to write queries and identify suitable publishers.)

Good luck to you both! It's tough to get agented or published these days, but if your teen truly has talent, someone will want their work... if not right now, eventually (the trick is to keep at it!) local author

At 15 my daughter too was a very prolific and talented writer. Her short stories caught everyone off guard; even her teachers. Then she started posting some of her work online and boy did she get a reality check. First of all it took a while before the editors would even accept her work, then when she finally got one of her stories posted, the ''constructive'' criticism was brutal for a teen, but perfectly real for an adult writer.

Now in college, she is still writing; now at a much higher level. She has constant input from published writers. (her teachers) She occasionally gets a story or poem online, and takes in all that criticism very seriously.

Have her start small like a journal or zine, and see how that goes. Agents want to see previous published work.

Good luck to you and your daughter. she'll figure it out