Young Writers

by Lydia F.
(USA)

Question: What is our advice to young teen writer's trying to make in the world as an author?


Answer: Much of the traditional advice still holds true. Read a lot and widely. Write a lot of what interests you. Schedule time for writing each day and develop the discipline to stick to it. Get feedback from people you respect, and when you feel your work is ready, approach publishers and agents.

However, the writing world (which was never easy) has become even tougher in recent years. In many ways, publishing now resembles a lottery. There are so many people of all ages trying to break in and only a handful of new authors each year that publishers can afford to publish.

You may not care about this now, but one day, it will matter.

So I would also suggest a couple of other things. One is to learn as much as you can about writing. Read books on it. Take workshops. Traditionally, writers learn by writing, but these can fill in the missing secrets and save you a lot of time.

Learn especially about writing genre fiction (romance, crime, historical, paranormal, fantasy, science ficion, etc.), if that interests you at all, because these account for most of the fiction sold. In genre, things like plot matter much more than in literary fiction.

If you're interested in nonfiction, you might want to study journalism.

You may want to investigate writing things like film, television, comic books, ghostwriting, copywriting, even plays. Think of it as cross training.

Second, the field is changing. Comic books have become very lucrative for some writers. Online opportunities are far greater. Some people (a very tiny percentage) are actually making money self-publishing. You may be lucky enough to get in on the next big area where money can be made. So watch out for new avenues where you can apply your skills and that personally excite you.

At the same time, beware of scams. The other old piece of advice is that you should never pay anyone - not agents, nor publishers - to get your work published. The exception is if you are going to form your own publishing company and need to hire pros to help you - but in that case you retain all your rights. Only give people the rights to your work in exchange for cash, never for free.

Finally, do plan to have a day job. Preferably one that still leaves you some time for writing. (Passive income is best.) If you succeed big as a writer, you can always quit your job. But at least you won't starve in the meantime.

If it sounds like I'm talking a lot about money, it's because that's something no one talked enough about when I was a teen. What every writer wants is to reach the stage where they make enough money from writing that they can take the time to write the next story that excites them and pay the bills. Too many promising writers end up devoting so much time to jobs and family that their writing doesn't get done.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero