Young High School Writer

by Allison
(New York (Upstate))

Question: So I'm in high school (very obviously) and I'm very interested in writing. I've read some tips about how I should take classes, but I'm a little, eh, confused about what classes I should take to learn about the fictional style I love to write. Any ideal classes that, if given the chance, I should seize?

Answer: Oh my gosh, there are so many people teaching writing courses, online and off, and a lot of good advice available for free online, not to mention books, magazines, etc. Your local library may be able to direct you to good resources.

It does help to know what you want to get out of a writing course. Some classes are all about giving information. Others are all about giving personalized feedback on your writing. Some are geared to raw beginners, others to published pros.
You might start by looking for courses or workshops aimed at your age group - as long as they are taught by qualified writers. Some school boards have special programs too on writing.

Teen Ink magazine has a list of summer programs in writing for teens ...

Here's another page that lists ones in New York state...

(I'm not recommending these camps. You have to check them out yourself.)

Since you have a particular style or genre in mind, you might see if there's a reputable organization for that genre with a branch in your area. For example, RWA for romance, SCWBI for children's, etc. Local members may be able to recommend good courses in your area. If you want more of the "information" type of learning, these groups often sponsor workshops by published writers that are quite valuable. Granted, you might find yourself in with a bunch of adults, but you can always talk a parent into going with you.

You might also check out the various continuing education courses offered by local colleges. See if they are open to teens. If so, check out the instructors. Look at their published works, articles on writing, websites, etc. Look for someone you think has things to teach you.

Sometimes too there are writing circles offered in places such as public libraries. How good they are depends on who participates, so you might need to shop around.

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