Books for Teen Writers

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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.

Sparking Creativity

  • What It Is, 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.
  • 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

Teens as Writers

Also check out the periodicals Teen Voices and Teen Ink.

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:

Christopher Paolini was 15 when Eragon was published.

S. E. Hinton was 15 when The Outsiders was published.

Amelia Atwater Rhodes was 14 when In the Forests of the Night was published.

Ned Vizzini was 19 when Teen angst? Naaah... was published.