Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Young writer?

   
Author Topic: Young writer?
Collin
Member
Member # 8522

 - posted      Profile for Collin   Email Collin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Truth be told, I'm really only fourteen. If I were to actually send a manuscript for a novel to a publisher without having had any past writing experience other than doing it for fun, would the publisher even consider my writing or would he chuck it immediately? Also, how can I get true writing experience, and grow as a writer at such a young age, if I can't publish my work yet?
Posts: 90 | Registered: Mar 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cheyne
Member
Member # 7710

 - posted      Profile for Cheyne   Email Cheyne         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To tell the truth I'm only forty-four... but seriously, if you have a finished manuscript then you have nothing to lose by sending a query to an agent.
Others could probably offer specific advice on that part of your question.
But as to writing, the best advice I can give is to keep writing every day. Write for contests, write for fanzines, write for fun. There are many contests for writing that are aimed at people your age. In my experience they have far fewer entries than they would like. Your writing may not be saleable at this moment, (and it may be) but you are ahead of many of us in this game. I only wanted to be a writer when I was fourteen; I didn't write. The only way to get better is to keep writing. Read a lot of books in the genre that wish to write in and take risks.
Taking courses and joining writers' groups are things that may help in the networking part.

Posts: 340 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hteadx
Member
Member # 6563

 - posted      Profile for hteadx   Email hteadx         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the end, it's all about if your story is good enough to be published.

As for gaining a true writing experience, there is only one way; Keep writing and keep reading.


Posts: 76 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Collin
Member
Member # 8522

 - posted      Profile for Collin   Email Collin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Cheyne, thank you for your input. Oh, and also, do you know of a website I could go to to get more information on these writing contests for young writers? This sounds very interesting. Thank you.
Posts: 90 | Registered: Mar 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Google it. There are many young author competitions for all kinds of lengths of work. Do you have a good english/comp/lit teacher at school? Ask their help, too. You can use websites like duotrope or ralan.com and search for publications that are geared toward younger audiences. I believe some of those publications accept young author submissions (and if I recall correctly, some pay quite well.)

A suggestion for you that is a general suggestion, based on my own experience of starting out in the tech world at the age of 19, is to not make your age relevant in your professional dealings. It doesn't matter how old you are (don't offer it. Don't lie either, but I never offered how old I was at work...even down to the time I had to make up an excuse for why I wouldn't let the boss buy me a beer. When I was 19!) Your work is your work. You put your best effort into it. In the writing world, either it will stick with an editor or it won't. When it doesn't, see if you can learn anything from the experience/rejection (much to be learned from detailed rejection letters) and then move on. Don't tinker with your work unless *you* think it needs to be tinkered with. If a reader says the ending falls flat but the ending does exactly what you wanted it to do, then go to another market for that piece of work. If many readers say the ending falls flat, well you might want to consider if maybe what you were hoping to accomplish hadn't been accomplished with the words you chose...but then again, maybe not.

I've been teaching a middle school workshop for writers the last 6 weeks and I'd have to say that being young has little relevance in someone's ability to be imaginative, creative, expressive in their writing. Getting a good grasp of mechanics would be my only other advice (not that you were exactly asking for this...but I can't help myself at this point. Take what works, leave the rest!) - things like making sure you really understand point of view and when you chose limited 3rd person, that you stick with it, or when you do first person, you do it because you know the story will be best told that way. Get a good handle on basics of formatting (shunn's manuscript formatting guide is a great one to start with - google it.) Make sure to think about all five senses when writing, what does something feel like, smell like, etc. (but not all in the same paragraph or it'll seem weird!) Remember the most important thing about your characters is to make sure they undergo CHANGE in the story. The events of the story should change them, and through the actions the characters take, we should begin to understand who they are, what they're made of, their true natures.

Does this help? Good luck. You can do it. Oh, and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend Writing Magic, by Gail Carson Levine. it's a great writing book for younger writers (and for older writers like me who like to write fantasy and science fiction) Many ideas, and many thoughts on what it's like to be a writer.


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I made it to forty-eight...and, truth to tell, practically everything I turned out before, oh, about age thirty seems embarrassing to me. Unimaginative and poorly-written. But I sent it out at the time, not knowing any better.

That only proves something about me, nothing about you. Your posts here seem more literate than I think I could have managed when I was that young. If you've got a manuscript completed, send it out to someone.


Posts: 8717 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
At one point, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, and Dan Brown were all unpublished writers sending unsolicited queries/manuscripts to agents or publishers. The fact that you're fourteen...well, why do they even need to know that on the first contact? I don't include "I'm 27" in my queries. Once they've expressed interest in your manuscript, the personal details can come out on an as needed basis. Once they're interested in the story, they won't care how old you are.
Posts: 1528 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Collin, Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon was only 14 when he got his first book published. Mentioning your age could be a positive or a negative, you should let an agent help you decide that.

Before you worry about all of that, you should focus on completing a manuscript. Without a complete story, everything else is meaningless. Having ideas and starting stories is the easy part. Completing them from beginning to end is the challenge.


Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WBSchmidt
Member
Member # 8533

 - posted      Profile for WBSchmidt   Email WBSchmidt         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just read Christopher Paolini's website. He has an interesting story.

He wrote his first draft of Eregon when he was 15 and then showed it to his parents the year after that. They decided to self-publish the book and spent time editing it. Then, when he was 18, they published the book and spent two years promoting it in libraries and book stores. It was not until the stepson of a published author saw the book that Eregon eventually got published by a "big name" publisher. That happened when he was 20.

His bio is an interesting read. I think you should not worry about your age at this point. Personally, I would not mention your age until you have an agent or editor who asks to represent or publish some of your work.

--William


Posts: 354 | Registered: Mar 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for correcting me WB, I was just going by memory of something I read regarding Paolini. I guess he must have started the story when he was 14 (that number stood out in my memory for some reason). Anyway, the point was that you should try to write something from beginning to end before worrying about the other stuff.
Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WBSchmidt
Member
Member # 8533

 - posted      Profile for WBSchmidt   Email WBSchmidt         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
@philocinemas

Sorry if I sounded like I was trying to correct you. I thought his story was interesting in that he self-published his book and how he was discovered.


Posts: 354 | Registered: Mar 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
skadder
Member
Member # 6757

 - posted      Profile for skadder   Email skadder         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm twenty-two years old--in tortoise years. I figure they live at least twice as long as us.

You'd be ninety-eight years old (a respectable age for a writer) if you use dog years...

Just a thought.


Posts: 2989 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I didn't take any offense, WB. I always appreciate correction (intended or not) if my information is wrong, unless someone makes it personal - like calling me an idiot or something.

It serves me right for trying to go by my memory instead of looking it up first. I was being a bit lazy.


Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Arguing the merits of Paolini and Eragon is popular on these boards. I haven't read the book, but tend to get irritated at the sequence of events WBSchmidt mentions, which plays into my notions of "it's not what you write, it's who you know."
Posts: 8717 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
babooher
Member
Member # 8617

 - posted      Profile for babooher   Email babooher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
14? By 14 you could already be cannon fodder in somebody's war in some areas so why not an author? Don't worry about your age.

As for Nowall's comment "it's not what you write, who you know," There is some truth to that. How else are you supposed to be unappreciated in your own time?


Posts: 816 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2