Sunday, May 10, 2009


Someone just asked in a comment whether I represent minors, and as I can't find which post that's on, I figured I might as well reply about it.

Yes, I represent minors.

In fact, I currently represent a lovely teenager whose name is Tori Borland, and she's currently working on revisions of a fantasy novel for me. See my clients page for more details about her; she's an interesting person. =)

In general, I have nothing against representing minors. I think teenagers can be just as good writers as adults, and in some cases, better writers. But I will put in the strong caveat that many teenagers aren't great writers... YET.

By and large, when you're a teenager, you don't have the life experience to write a good novel. You also don't have the writing chops to do it. There are rare exceptions to the rule, but most teenagers are working through beginning writing issues while they're still minors. I wrote a ton when I was a teenager, including the first 40,000 words of a novel, but it was utter crap.

Most of what you write as a teenager will be utter crap; it's the simple truth.

But that doesn't mean you should stop writing because every bit of practice you get is going to help you later on. The first novel you write won't be a good one, but the sixth or seventh novel you write might just be the one that finds you an agent. And in the meantime, write novels. Send them to agents. Write short stories. Send those to magazines. Collect rejections, while you get better. I got my first one from F&SF at the age of sixteen. =)


Horserider said...

Right :) I know several teenage writers including myself. I already have a small pile of rejections to my name and I'm sure there will be many, many more in my life.

A lot of teenagers don't have the ambition to write, edit, edit, edit, and then submit a novel. Just because we're young doesn't mean we can't write. I know published teenage writers and I know amazing writers that should be published soon.

We may not have the experience, bu that doesn't mean none of us can write.

C. N. Nevets said...

Hey, my first rejection was also F&SF at sixteen! :)

Kylie S. said...

I started writing sf/f/p when I was 11 - what kept me persevering were 2 very encouraging high school English teachers - they read a lot of my work and supported and helped me develop the skills of the craft, enough to continue writing through college and into adulthood.

And yes, as Jenny put it so well, most of the stuff I wrote in that time period was rubbish. But, having said that, had I not written and experimented and continued to dream because of some great supportive adults I wouldn't be following my passion now.

So to any young 'uns out there - if you love writing, keep writing, learn the craft, and if you're an adult and you know one of these young ones, encourage them - believe me, it makes a difference to have someone help you achieve your dream, even if it's only a well times compliment.

ryan field said...

I got my first one from the New Yorker (lofty goals)at seventeen.

Kristin Laughtin said...

It's worth noting that Ms. Borland also seems to be something of a whiz kid, given how young she got through college.

Life experience is the major factor for me as well. Teenagers just don't have it, for the most part. I still feel like I'm in a heavy learning stage at 25, but when I look back at my adolescent forays into the written I might have thought those things were profound then, but now they just seem so young.

Katrina S. Forest said...

I didn't know one of your clients is a minor, that's really neat to hear.

If I ever try my hand at nonfiction writing, I would love to write a teenager's guide to publishing, just because it's something I wish I would've had.

I was an avid writer as a kid, but when it came to publishing, there was simply no one around who knew anything about it. My mom tried taking me to the library to get a writer's market guide, but it was too out of date to be helpful. My English teacher suggested I send my poems to the International Library of Poetry. (You can imagine how that turned out.)

Of course, the internet helps supply a lot of that information nowadays, but it also provides a ton of false information.

And I'm going to stop talking now before I make myself sound much older than I actually am.