Friday, March 09, 2007

Young Blood

A recent community spotlight on liverjournal, called add_a_writer, has given our kind (haha, don't you love that? Our kind) the blatant opportunity to find each other.

Which has led me to some very interesting contacts, among them a very amateur (but eager and grammatically correct and multiple-clause-forming) writer, not even a writer yet, more of a fledgeling.

Did I set out to corrupt him and bring him to our ways? Of course! Being a writer is the best thing in the world! Aside from being, you know, like... some.... really... really cool guy... or something.... Myself, I think being a Magic 8 Ball would be pretty freakin awesome.

But this encounter with the Youth of Writing America (of which we all are, fellow teenagers), led me to recall some very painful writing beginnings.

Where were /you/ when you were 14 and had no clue what was going on and were just beginning to seriously write and think you might want to do that for the rest of your life? Writing was first like a crush, then a serious crush, then your blushing girlfriend, then your serious girlfriend, then your fiance, and then suddenly you wake up and find out you're married -and either will skip about the room fantastically ecstatic or have one of those violent and passionate careers with writing as both your lover and mistress, angel and devil, and a bunch of other contrasting terms. For more on this topic, see 'Lorca' and 'duende'.

(Insert creative and realistic picture of the duende here, since all of the google image searches produce nothing useful)

I did not think to target this blog at the younger population, mainly because it's suck a sticky and awkward phase, and I only know how I went through it, and couldn't possibly be of any real help, but now my feet are in it and I've lost my shoes, so I might as well stay.

That said...


1) Under no circumstances should you have ANYTHING to do with . It is a scam. A big one. It will cost you your heart and dreams and leave you embarassed and upset, and probably out 60 bucks. Don't believe me? Type in ', scam' in google and read.

2) Under no circumstances should you have anything to do with the Pink Palace of Poetitude, or any other poetry or fiction sites, such as The sites that cost you money are BAD.

3) You should, howerver, have things to do with and as these are genuine sites which cost you nothing and will provide guaranteed feedback, provided you don't suck. And indeed, there are many careery opportunities for sucky writers. Look at Nora Roberts. (Don't anyone say anything about Stephen King because that man is both cheap and genius. Read his autobiography; it's not only wonderfully informative, it's a great insight into the mind of a real writer.)

4) Write short stories. As someone very wise once said, whose name I am too lazy to look up, the money is in novels, but short stories and personal narratives keep your writing lean and mean. And it's true.

5) Do NOT get a 'beta'. Have good friends who like your writing; do /not/ be dependent on them to edit or read your stuff. Edit your own writing. This is most vital. You can be a crappy writer as long as you rewrite brilliantly. Someone smart also said that.

Note: This is a beta fish, not a writing beta. Real beta's are your normal, wannabe-editor friends, like this:

ALSO NOTE!: There is a distinction between being a writer and being an editor. Some people are born editors. It is good to have relationships with these people, but only RARELY let them edit your stuff. Editors cannot be trusted, and they have wicked pens.

6) When you get your first praising reviews, do NOT get overexcited. This admonition is basically pointless, since you will anyway. Do NOT become dependent on the approval. If you are dependent on public support, you will lose the respect of your fellow writing community. As someone ELSE very wise once said, 'It is better to write for the self and have no public than to write for the public and have no self'.

7) Consult my list of 'Things Every Teenage Author Needs'. It's very useful.

8) Become infatuated with yourself. Seriously. Every writer has a large ego anyway; might as well get yours early. This will lead to all sorts of exciting self-discovery and love of your profession, and then you can grow up to be exclusionary and snobby like me. ^^

9) It's best not to pester older writers with your crap writing, but when you have to, you have to. Try not to be annoying.

Did I forget anything?

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