Leave a comment

Tips for Teen Writers

I’ll be speaking with some grade eight classes this week on the topic of “So You Want to be a Writer….” With that in mind, I intended to revive my Ten Tips for Teen Writers, which I wrote months ago as part of a guest blog on Teens Read Too. But that seems lazy — and “Go the extra mile” is a tip for would-be anybodies — so instead I looked up advice from some of my favourite authors for children and teens. Here’s what they have to say:

“Be very, very careful about whom you show your writing to. If you’ve read the novel Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, you know exactly what I mean.” (From Virginia Euwer Wolff, author of Probably Still Nick Swansen, True Believer, etc.)

“When someone slams your writing, listen carefully to what they say. Then tell yourself that he or she is a tasteless, moronic, jealous, mean-spirited, ignorant jerk. Then go back to your garret and figure out what you did wrong.” (From Pete Hautman, author of Godless, Rash, etc.)

“Descriptions of characters require real originality if they are to move us at all…. So if you say, ‘her eyes were the color of the mathematical function keys on his Texas Instrument calculator,’ you are being original (and saying more about the viewer than the viewed, which is also good).” (From Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Rex Zero, Blink & Caution, etc.)

“To beat writer’s block, allow yourself to write a rotten first draft. Then revise it as many times as it takes.” (From Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, Twisted, etc.)

“I live a very simple life, and often spend several hours each day just daydreaming. It is usually during these times that my ideas come to me.” (From Dav Pilkey, author of A Friend for Dragon, Captain Underpants, etc.)

“Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls.” (From Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Catwings, Earthsea, etc.)

Quite the gamut, huh? There’s no need for me to say more. Just check out the websites of these far more experienced authors – they contain oodles of other tips, and all so well-written. 

But I will add one last piece of advice: When you are stuck, go walk your dog and the answer will come to you. Try it. It really works. (So bring a pencil and notepad along with your stoop-and-scoop bags.) And even if it doesn’t work for you, you’ll feel better. (But honestly, it works for me.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humor and courgettes

wuthering bites

Writing practice


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer


A blog about illustration, illustrators, techniques, style and news.

I am Buddy

It's a dogs life

Roxie Munro

Children's books, kid's apps...

The Wilden Marsh Blog

A blog about Wilden Marsh. Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest


Original Musical Stories by "Golnaran", "The musical cube maker"

Jan L. Coates - "What if...?"

life as a kids' writer


Children's Book Reviews

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People


This blog is about encouraging reading throughout the school years. By watching book trailers it is hoped that you will be inspired to read the book.

(Lost in) Believing in Books

A Young Adult & New Adult Book Blog

The Sweet Sixteens

2016 Young Adult and Middle Grade Debut Authors

Young Adult Book Madness

YA & NA Book Reviews

YA Book Reviews

Reviews for Young Adults or just Adults.

2015 YA & MG Debut Authors

Leaping to your bookshelves in 2015!

Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

YA Crush

Pass a note to your favorite YA book


A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

The Whole Megillah

The Writer's Resource for Jewish-themed Story: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

Cheryl Willis Hudson's Blog

Children's Book Author/Editor/Publisher


the networking e-zine for children's writers & illustrators

Julia Lee Author

A blog about reading and writing children's books

Tracey Baptiste


Random Acts of Reading

reviews, raves and a random assortment of book buzz

Children's Literature Crossroads

children's literature meets teaching, reading, talking, writing, and thinking

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.


Booksellers New Zealand's blog

Flowering Minds

Children's Book Review Site

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Bobs Books Blog

Childrens and Young Adult Book Reviews by Bob Docherty

Pretty Books

One girl's adventures in books, food and travel

%d bloggers like this: