Sunday, December 12, 2010

Teens Can Be Writers, Too

Recently, I was looking up information for a school paper and stumbled on a Yahoo! Questions post that really annoyed me.  A sixteen year old girl said she was writing a book and wanted to know how many other teens were.  Two answers caught my attention, whose writers I will not name:

1. I'd say about half the teens in the U.S. are writing a novel, many of them vampire stories influenced by the Twilight books. Otherwise they are soppy romantic tales. I would imagine, based on the email I get, that 100% of those writing believe that their first drafts are worthy to be published by a major hour next week. If you do just a tiny bit of research, you will find that this is not going to happen. Publishing is a brutal business that has time only for the rare, rare few.

2. Far too many teenagers are writing books.  Teens would be much better served by *reading* a lot more literature than by making amateurish attempts at becoming novelists.  The vast majority of them don't have the talent, life experience, or understanding of English and composition to be successful at it.  If teens would put down the game controllers and pick up the Hemingway, Dickens, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and Fitzgerald, the world would be a better place.


MY REPLY? Simple:

1.I'd just like to point out that although many teenagers are writing poor stories focused on vampires or romance, saying that 100% of us are that naive is prejudice.  Many teenagers may not have their facts about the publishing world straight, but to group us all up and say we don't know what we're doing is just plain wrong.  In fact, there are plenty of adult authors out there who have realized this and written books about writing specifically to help us become successful authors.

2. A) You must be the type of person who puts everyone into a stereotype.  There are teens who will spend all day reading Pride and Prejudice, and teens who have read A Christmas Carol or Little Women simply because they wanted to.  Please don't assume that all teens waste their time on violent video games or riddle their speech with vulgar language.  B) If teenagers don't make the so-called "amateurish attempts" at writing a novel, how are they supposed to get better?  Everyone knows the phrase 'Practice makes perfect.'  Granted, nobody can expected to be a great writer if they don't learn by reading great authors, but it's like a school lesson: reading great authors is the lesson, and writing your own works is the homework.

Shortly after reading the comments I have now rebutted, I found a website called Common Sense, where anyone can join and rate books, movies, or other media they're read, seen, listened to, etc.  I found a favorite book of mine, The Prophecy of the Stones, and discovered that the site had rated it as poor writing, expected from its fourteen year old author.  I joined immediately so I could rate the book, and I'd like to share my review:

Please Don't Be Prejudiced, Perfect for teens and tweens

I LOVED this book.  The storyline was captivating, and the characters were so easy to relate to, even in their fantasy world.  I am a teenage writer, and I just want to say that all those reviews saying books by teens have poor quality are cruel and prejudiced.  Just because an adult cannot understand the life, language, or writing of a teenager does not make the book, or the writer, "bad."  It is a scientifically proven fact that teenagers' brains, during puberty, are literally being rewired.  Therefore, it is natural that an adult may not understand what they are writing, but a teenager can relate perfectly.  I would also like to say that we teenagers would appreciate the adults who claim that all teenage writing is either A) about vampires B) sappy romances or C) just plain useless, would kindly keep their prejudiced comments and reviews to themselves.  And if you do feel the need to criticize our writing, please try to remember how hard it was to balance friends, homework, and family, along with your personal activities.  Now add trying to write full-length novels, and see if you still want to tear us down.

There, now I've done my venting. :) Sorry, but I had to say it.

4 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you about this. I wish more teens would write more books. I would love to write a novel but I definitely don't have the best writing skills. And please, all you adults and other reviewers, don't put us down as teens just because of our age. Some of us could have bestsellers up our sleeves but because someone put teen authors down, we don't attempt anything in writing. I guess all I'm trying to say is, please give use constructive criticism not something that will make us quit. Thats all I got for now. All you teens, KEEP WRITING!!! :)

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  2. Thanks, SCORCH. Teehee. I'd say your name, only I don't know if you want to be anonymous or if it just posted that name automatically. So just thanks. ;) Also, we got your package yesterday but I don't have the letter yet. :( Now I'm like 'get here already!'

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  3. Haha... I know BOTH of you...

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