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So You Want to Be a Writer?: Teen Writing Guide: Writing Resources

A writing guide for teens aimed at writers of any skill level, from those who are just getting started on their writing journey to those who have been writing for some time.

The Wide World of Writing Advice

On this page you'll find a variety of writing resources from published authors and teenagers alike. From books to podcasts, there's something for everyone depending on how you like to take in information. You'll notice that everyone has slightly different advice and that's because everyone's writing experiences are different. There is no one right way to write, instead feel free to pick and choose resources and tips that work for you, and remember you're allowed to take it all with a grain of salt.

You may notice that a lot of these resources focus on writing fiction, but even if you want to write poetry or nonfiction or something experimental and new, you may find that this advice can be applied to all different genres and forms of writing if you're willing to put in the time to make those connections.

Writing Advice Books

Video Advice

Young Adult Writers Discuss the Writing Process

This video from Arizona State University's Department of English features YA author's Tom Leveen, Fait Hochhalter, Amy Fellner Dominy, Amy K. Nichols, Janette Rallison, Shannon Messenger, Shonna Slayton, and Suzanne Young discussing their work in conversation with each other. The writing advice begins at the 8:35 mark in the video. 

From your favorite writers

21 of your favorite YA authors on how to be a writer 

Teen Vogue offers a myriad of writing advice from writers of some of today's most popular Young Adult novels including Sarah Dessen and E. Lockheart. While none of the author's are able to go in depth on their advice due to the format of this article, if you're looking for quick tips rather than a more detailed read like the books highlighted in this guide, this resource might be your ideal starting point.

Angie Thomas's Writing Advice

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This CNBC article features several hints from Angie Thomas, bestselling author of "The Hate U Give," that she shared at an event in London in early 2019. Thomas shares about her process writing about police brutality, what she was afraid may be too taboo for the world of YA literature. One key takeaway from this article: "Write for yourself, first and foremost -- write the stories that oyu want to read. Write the books that you would like to walk into a store and pick up."


Writing Excuses

"Writing Excuses" is a podcast by writers for writers. The episodes are only 15 to 25 minutes long, making this a more digestible podcast than others which have episodes that average 30 minutes or longer. New episodes are uploaded to a variety of podcast platforms on Sunday evenings. Hosted by writers Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Daniel Wells, "Writing Excuses"  focuses on quick writing techniques for writers to use. Each episode of the podcast is focused on only one theme, which means listeners can pick and choose episodes on topics that they're interested in and that relate directly to their writing.

Write or Die

Write or Die is a podcast hosted by Claribel Ortega and Kat Cho, both emerging young adult authors. Each week, the hosts sit down with a different Young Adult author and discuss the writing and publishing process. While the podcast places more emphasis on the journey through publishing, the podcast showcases how the journey through writing and publishing is different for each individual writer. Notable authors that have appeared on the podcast include Holly Black, Leigh Bardugo, and Tiffany Jackson among so many others over the course of the podcasts two seasons. New episodes are uploaded to a variety of platforms on Mondays.

The Book Riot Podcast

Book Riot is an independent editorial book site that focuses on the idea that "writing about books and reading should be just as diverse as books and readers are." Book Riot hosts a variety of media content, but "The Book Riot Podcast" is a weekly talk show about what's going on in the world of books and reading. Though it doesn't focus on writing, "The Book Riot Podcast" can be a good way for emerging writers to keep up with trends and topics that are important in the literary world. In addition, Book Riot hosts other podcasts that focus on specific genres, such as YA or children's literature that may be of interest to writers as well.

Online Resources

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Go Teen Writers

Go Teen Writers is a long-running blog that aims to provide honesty, encouragement, and community for teen writers. Posts cover a variety of subjects from writing to revising to publishing. The variety of topics covered by the three authors who run the blog,J ill Williamson, Stephanie Morrill, and Shannon Dittemore, offer resources for every step of the writing process. Go Teen Writers also features a glossary of writing terms and acronyms for writers who may be unfamiliar with the jargon used within the writing community. Additionally, Go Teen Writers expands beyond the blog through a newsletter and a private facebook group.

Teens Can Write, Too!

Though Teens Can Write, Too! stopped actively updating in 2015, this website was run by teen writers for teen writers during its peak. The main page of the website provides helpful links to content including interviews with published writers and posts about varying aspects of the writing and publishing process. Because this writing website features original content by teenagers, it offers a valuable perspective that other sites and resources written by adults for teenagers can't offer. 

On the Ground Resources

Google Web Search

Depending on where you're located, there may be writing groups and writing classes that you can take advantage of. The best way to find these resources is through a Google search that includes your relative geographic location and "teen writing classes." Classes or writing workshops are one way to get hands on instruction and interaction with your writing. 

Chapter One Conference

The Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con) is an organization run by and for teens and young adults who want to become writers. Open to writers ages 11 to 21. The conference is a one day event held annually during the summer (the 2019 conference was held in Chicago on June 29) and features young writers and authors as speakers and panelists. Additionally Chapter One runs a mentorship program, hosts a virtual write-a-thon and has published anthologies featuring the work of young writers.

Grub Street

If you're located in the greater Boston area, Grub Street offers free classes for young writers on Saturdays through their Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP). Courses cover topics ranging from rap to screenwriting and everything in between. Grub Street's offering for teens also include summer courses with scholarships available as well as fellowships specifically for teens who want to further their craft.