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Terri Farley
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Monday, March 12, 2012

8 Tips that Work for Young Writers Now

Teen writers get serious, dedicating 4 days of spring break to writing for real with Terri

4th & 5th graders dive into writing with senses
  • Write about what you know. Does that sound boring? It's not. In northern Nevada, where I live, some people see cowgirls, soaring mountains, glossy red and white cattle and wild horses every day. My mail indicates those sights are not at all boring.
  • Use your senses. How does a sidewalk smell after a summer rain? Can you describe the sound of something that keeps you awake at night? What do you feel when you hug your grandmother good-bye? No experiences are wasted on writers, because we store each one in our brain cells!
  • Use plenty of conflict. Happily-ever-after isn't as much fun if your characters don't earn it. If your main character is rich, beautiful and lucky on page one and still rich, beautiful and lucky ten pages later, you might not have any readers left when you write THE END.
  • Find a critique partner (someone to read your story and offer suggestions). Be willing to listen to advice on things she or he knows about. Personally, I take horse advice from my critique partner, a former jockey and the owner of many horses. I take plotting advice from my mom, who reads about eight hours a day. She definitely knows if I need to pick up the pace or slow down and explain.
  • Enter contests which are limited to people your age or younger. That will cut your competition enormously. If you placed in a contest, you may be able to convince an editor that you are working on the craft of writing. Of course, you'll have to show her a darn good story, too.
  • Find out which publishers are printing the sort of stories you want to write. A great source for this is The Writers Market (it's very expensive, so checking it out of the library might be the best option) look at books in bookstores and check the copyright page to see which publishing house printed it.
  • Read. Read. Read.
  • Write. Write. Write.

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Posted by Terri Farley @ 4:00 AM

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