Books for Teen Writers
Article in Young Adult Nonfiction category.
Many of these books have been profiled in meetings of Musings, the Crozet Library's teen writers' workshop, which meets the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm.
Improving Your Craft
- Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly, by Gail Carson Levine. This popular author talks about her own inspirations and hints for improving your writing, and gives lots of really fun exercises and writing prompts to try. We've used this for more than a year in Musings.
- Seize the Story, by Victoria Hanley. From freeing your imagination to chatting with successful YA authors, this book will guide you through exercises to perfect your writing - draft better characters, write better dialogue, create conflict and amazing plots.
- What It Is: the formless thing that gives things form, by Lynda Barry. This artist explores creativity - with powerful memories, great exercises and prompts - all told in a visually rich way.
- The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg. This is a picture book that's great for inspiring stories - each page has an eerie or fantastic full-page illustration, a title, and one cliff-hanging opening line ...all designed to spark your imagination.
- The Fruit Bowl Project: 50 Ways to Tell a Story, by Sarah Durkee. This novel shows a class project in which the same story is told in fifty different formats or genres - screenplay, haiku, poem, fairytale, rap, etc. - read it to understand and appreciate all the different ways to approach a piece of writing.
- Writing Down the Days: 365 Creative Journaling Ideas for Young People, by Lorraine M. Dahlstrom. Just like the title says, this book offers journal prompts each day for a year.
- Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg. This book combines writing practice with principles of Zen meditation to give advice on writing creatively, and includes writing exercises.
- Try the website for NaNoWriMo's Young Writer's Program, which has a nifty "Dare Machine" that dares you to do some crazy things to your characters or plotline - a good way to spark those creative juices in ways you'd never think up on your own! They're also a great community for support when you're trying to keep writer's block at bay.
The Writing Business
- A Teen's Guide to Getting Published: Publishing for Profit, Recognition, and Academic Success, by Jessica and Danielle Dunn. Talks about the craft of writing, how to get good feedback on your writing, and gives info about freelancing and getting published in other ways.
- Your Name in Print : a Teen's Guide to Publishing for Fun, Profit, and Academic Success, by Elizabeth and Timothy Harper.
Teens as Writers
- Red: the Next Generation of American Writers--Teenage Girls-on What Fires up their Lives Today, edited by Amy Goldwasser. Nearly sixty teenage girls from across the country create a rich portrait of their lives as teen girls in America, revealing their complicated inner lives, humor, hopes, struggles, thrills, and obsessions.
- Write Where You Are: How to Use Writing to Make Sense of Your Life, a Guide for Teens, by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. Expressing your feelings through writing can help you understand yourself better, follow your dreams, and get in touch. This book has reasons for writing, ways to develop the habit, tips for revision, and ways to connect to other writers through groups, classes, and getting published.
Also: The Virginia Writers Club is a free nonprofit group that encourages and assists writers. They have a Young Writers section...see information here: Young Virginia Writers Club
How's this for inspiration...
The following authors all had successful books published before they reached 20 years old:
Gordon Korman was 14 when This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall was published.