How to be a Terrible Teenage Writer

This post is inspired by the brilliant Citra over at Fiction Book Review, and her amazing 'How to Suck at Everything' posts. So you know where to go if you like that sort of thing.

Let me tell you that being a teen writer is hard. You'll know that if you are one. There's so many things to juggle and do exactly right if you want to be good at it.

But the good news is that it's incredibly easy to be terrible. You just need to follow these tips, which are pretty intuitive, to be honest, and there you have it! Who needs to be Mr or Miss goody-two shoes, anyway?

Step 1 - Don't Bother Trying to Manage Your Time.
To be honest, as a teen writer, you don't actually have a lot to worry about. Schoolwork, writing, blogging and actually maintaining some form of social life are all kind of important, but let's face it - they're not exactly difficult. Just do what you fancy at the time, even if that's watching telly, and it'll probably turn out okay. Who cares about detention? Who needs to learn about anything when you're going to be a super rich author someday?

Step 2 - Only Write What's Popular.
We all know that writing's only really about the money, and a book sells much better if it's predictable. As long as you write quickly (quantity, not quality), you won't even be behind the trend, and publishers always love something that follows the crowd.

And - do you know what - I bet no one would even notice if you stole lifted some plot points from a bestseller. The formula's already there, so why not use it?

Step 3 - Don't Take Advice From the Pros.
Whatever you do, you should never take your writing tips from a "knowledgeable" source. That goes for blog posts, other writers or especially creative writing courses. They're only pretending they understand you: these days, no one gives others help if they don't want something in return. Not to mention the fact that they'd SO squash your creativity - the only people you should take advice from are the people who barely know anything. They might accidentally give you an awesome idea.

While we're on the subject, you shouldn't give well-meaning advice to people who need it. You had to learn on your own, so they should too.

Step 4 - Never Edit Anything you Write.
Please. Editing is for sissies; practically anyone who's any good knows how to get it right first time, especially all the top authors. Grammatical mistakes don't matter, and it's a proofreader's job to fix spelling errors. 

You're so much better than everyone else, so an editor won't care about sloppy formatting or iffy speling. Remember, editing takes too long and isn't worth it.

Step 5 - Don't Give Yourself Any Free Time.

Just because you don't manage your time doesn't mean you should let yourself have a break now and again: if you love writing, you should be working all day every day.

If you do have a break, take as long as you like. You've already done the unthinkable, so you don't deserve to call yourself a teen writer anymore.

Hey presto! With these five easy steps, you can become the most terrible teenage writer ever. Every single sentence is the exact opposite of how to be a good one.

Try switching all of them, really. Now that would be crazy advice to follow.
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The Scary World of Adult Fiction

If you've been hanging around this blog over the summer and gotten used to my daily posts, then I hate to disappoint you, but school happened. And writing an actual book. I make a few more excuses and whine about homework here.

I've been meaning to delve into 'proper' adult fiction for a while now, so when my Dad told me I absolutely had to read Time and Time Again by Ben Elton, I decided I could give it a go. With some serious trepidation, of course, because I am a YA pumpkin and do not feel grown up yet.

But I had a good time. It's amazing. And although it's an absolute trap that will melt your brain with the horrible possibilities, you need to read it. Mostly so I can yell at you because OH MY BOOKWORM GOSH THE WORLD IS ENDING.

The stakes are high - the main character in this one is travelling back in time to stop World War I, for heck's sake, so it wasn't going to be light.

But I'm not just here to fangirl over a Ben Elton novel. I also want to have a very serious debate about when one should read adult and when one should read YA. Are you guys ready? Have you cracked your knuckles yet?

You'd better. Because it's so one-sided it's practically a rant.

Especially when I was younger, I would freak out if someone told me to read an adult book. I mean, I did it for school, but when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and then realised it was for adults, I got very upset, because I thought it meant I couldn't read YA any more.

Which was a bit stupid, now I look back. Just because you watch one 12A film doesn't mean you can't choose Us any more. The whole point of reading is that we read what we feel like, and if it's appropriate (I wouldn't recommend Time and Time Again to anyone younger than me) why shouldn't that be Adult and YA?

I know a lot of adults who will scorn YA as 'kids' books', which they kinda are, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't read them. In fact, for my Mum's book club, they accidentally chose The Chimes by Anna Smaill, and now they've realised it's YA, they've got me to read it and give my opinions. Because sometimes a book doesn't speak to you if it's not for your age group, and sometimes it does.

What I'm trying to say here is that we can read any book we choose. Adult Lit. shouldn't be scary, in the same way that Middle Grade shouldn't be scary.

AND NO-ONE SHOULD JUDGE A PERSON BASED ON WHAT THEY READ. Please, peoples. It's just another way to be superficial.

So, if you are a teen reader, here are a couple of brilliant Adult books you could try. The ones with asterisks contain slightly raunchy scenes, but frankly there's not anything more than you'd see in a YA book. I promise.

  • Time and Time Again by Ben Elton* 
    I won't repeat this anymore. All you need to know is that time travel + World War 1 + a broken future = mind-melting magnificence.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    The only reason I read this is because we had to for English. But I absolutely love the whole thing with its cultural interesting-ness, and you have to read it because it's the height of innocence and poignancy.
  • Airframe by Michael Crichton*
    Wow. Wow wow wow. I'm a sucker for anything even remotely to do with investigation, including aircraft investigation, and I love that the main character is a strong woman in a male-dominated field.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    If you'd like an insight into life when you think differently, I am reliably informed that this is very realistic. Plus there's the whole investigation thing I mentioned earlier.
          Also, did you know that the title is a Sherlock Holmes quote?
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell
    This is the one I haven't read, but have been constantly reminded of its utter amazing brilliance. I mean, it's Rainbow Rowell. And the characters meet via email.
          I LOVE IT when characters meet by email.

So I would like you guys to take two things away from this blog post. First, you can read whatever you want, but second, you have to read this list first.

I never said I wasn't a hypocrite. :-)
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Big Blogging Bonanza Roundup

I am actually feeling very upset today. Because it's the LAST POST OF THE BIG BLOGGING BONANZA! *Hysterical sobbing*

I can't believe I made it through - I only missed a grand total of two posts, which is very good for me, and it's been such a ride. Before I started this, I could barely imagine writing posts on two consecutive days, let alone five. And I think I've done pretty well, actually, but only because you guys have been being so positive on Twitter, checked on my posts the whole time, and chatted with me in the comments. I really appreciate it.

Here are ten posts which, if you people are new(ish) to this blog, I think you'd like. These are my personal favourites, anyway:

  • Books versus eBooks - this one's actually serious. I'm tossing up the pros and cons of electronic publications, don't you know (just imagine a posh accent here)?
  • Life Without Reading - my slightly tongue-in-cheek look at why the end of reading could bring about the apocalypse. With GIFs, naturally.
  • The A to Z of Authors Parts 1 and 2 - this one took me ages. So just read it!
This is about half the posts on my blog so far, and not all of them were written during the BBB, but I couldn't pick just one or two of my babies. That would be awful.

Now this post might just be an excuse not to write some original content. I hope that's okay.

Just while I'm here, I will give you lovely people two promises.
     1) Just because the Big Blogging Bonanza is over doesn't mean I'll stop blogging.
     2) I'll keep going with Words for a Wednesday now and again, because it's fun.
Are we all good then? I'm off to go to school. 
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