Teen Writing — REVEALED!

April 6th, 2010 • Kate

IMG_1138_1If you follow news about YA literature at all, every once in a while you’ll see articles or blogs about an actual teenager who did the seemingly impossible and signed a contract to publisher his or her teen writing. Now, I’ve talked in the past about John Scalzi’s advice for teenage writers, the key component of which is “Your writing sucks.” But I haven’t shared any evidence.

Today, I aim to correct that.

Not all that long ago, when I was a wee kt, I was a very EARNEST wannabe writer. I started a literary magazine in my high school, had a poem published in an anthology, wrote songs with my friends, and was hard at work on what i promised my dad was my “Great American Novel,” TM, all rights reserved. Readers, I did it all. If it had anything that could be remotely considered “writing”, I wanted a part in it. Literary fan fiction for English assignments? Sign me up! A “poem because the typewriter is on and the wite-out is drying”, ee cummings style? Oh heck yeah!

But all that was nothing compared to the novels I penned (literally, in pen in black & white composition notebooks — see photographic evidence above) under various pseudonyms, each more ridiculous than the next.
Clearly, I was a big fan of Remington Steele

When I advise teens who seek to have their writing published now to wait, and spend a few years practicing their craft and learning how to be a better writer, it is in full recognition that I once wrote this:

Adair briskly rode her mare into the forest, followed by her sister Acrin at a slower pace. Acrin cried out to Adair, “Must we go in the forest? Maybe your vision was wrong.”

“Acrin! You should know that visions are always right. Besides I remember clearly, on our sixteenth birthday we are to go into Emerald Forest, go straight to Faregotte Loch and wait for a lady to come out of the loch. When she comes, we are to listen to what she says and do her will. Remember, we are to listen!” Both Adair and Acrin paused, conscious of the sound of their voices in the neverending forest. Then Acrin remarked, “How are we to know if the lady is the correct one?”

“You know not much wisdom, do you, Acrin?”

Hoo boy! Burn!!

Then there’s this part, talking about the twin princesses’ birthday presents:

They had just gotten chestnut mares for their birthdays. Adair’s was all chestnut, except for a white blaze on its forehead. It was a beauty. It’s name was Bellezza. Acrin’s was also mostly chestnut except for its four white stockings. Acrin had christened it Carino. Their parents, King Chresgon and Queen Felicia, had also showered upon them gifts of jewels and gowns.

Exciting stuff, huh?

But you know what? I got better. Sold a couple of short stories, spent years in writing workshops and classes, and continued to read, read, read until I could distinguish good from bad on my own.

And I’m CERTAIN that many of you — except for those of you who have burned your teenage writings (ahem, Amy Spalding, ahem) — have equally bad examples to share. Feel free to do so in the comments!

And just to make it interesting, on Friday I’ll pick one random commenter* for a one-on-one phone conversation to answer ANY questions you might have about the publishing process. This prize isn’t a chance to pitch me your novel, but I’m open to just about any other topics of conversation. Cool? Allons-y!

*To clarify — in order to be eligible for the prize, you need to post some of your early writing!

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49 Responses to “Teen Writing — REVEALED!”

  1. Karma Says:

    This sounds so cool! And you should've honed that vision-princess-thing! (Although I'm biased I have a soft spot for fantasy.) Pick me almighty Daphne Unfeasible…that name concerns one of my questions if I get picked! *crosses fingers*

  2. Trina Says:

    I'll probably regret this later, but this was written during my junior year of HS about my sophomore year 1998-1999…

    He got his food and bounced. He didn’t say ‘later’ or ‘see ya’ which was kind of ok by me since my lack of brain function would have hindered me saying an ‘ok’ or ‘alright’ in return. But my heart hurt. Not my actual, beating, blood pumping vital organ heart; but that mythical, figment of a human imagination that controls feelings heart.


    Oh yeah, so he was walking and that’s when I felt it; my MFOTHITCFH (short cut to mythical, figment of a human imagination that controls feelings heart) was breaking. It felt over. Final. Done. By ‘it’ I mean us, or what could have been us if my damn brain had functioned.


    So he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him looking at me. You know that game of Chicken they play in that movie ‘Cry Baby’ (uber classic spoof of Grease with a young Johnny Depp)? That’s what I feel like we are playing sans the cars and the greaser hair. And it’s not fair because obviously, I have to turn away first since I have to go up the stairs and it would be impossible (if not dangerous) for me to continue staring at him while I‘m trying to walk up the stairs. So I feel like I’m losing this ridiculous game we’re playing.

  3. Kate Says:

    Karma – I should have made this clearer (and just edited my post to do so), but to be eligible for the prize you have to post some of your early writing. Dig into those drawers and file folders!

  4. Karma Says:

    Oh P.S. I erm, burned all of my middle school writing. But I dug this up:

    These girls were literally nobody; they had no last name, no records and no parents (because they never do in these stories). It was almost as if they were born three years old, as if they had popped out of thin air. Both couldn’t remember anything before the age of three, the first thing they remember was the social worker admitting them to Magda’s Foster Home. When the social worker told them where they were going, their only condition was “no nuns”. So she put them in with Magda, where they stayed until they were fifteen.


  5. Kristy C Says:

    I'm impressed by just how chestnut those horses are. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing. I think I'll make a link to this since I often get curious teenage blog-searchers on this very topic.

  6. Kate Says:

    Kristy — I was still YEARS away from learning that horses could be piebald, bay, roan, or other exciting descriptive words. All I had was chestnut, clearly.

  7. Liz W. Says:

    I, too, desperately wanted to be a writer when I was younger. Then I decided (in my teenage years) that I hated writing and got rid of all my old stories. *sigh* I do recall one being about a girl dreaming about being a vampire. I wrote it in 1995, so it was not Twilight inspired. It was also pretty dark…. Kind of wish there was a draft of it somewhere.

  8. Amy Says:

    I would like to state my case for the record. My parents live on three acres in the middle of nowhere, Missouri. About once a year we'd do a huge cleaning, and – because we could, I guess? – light the trash on fire. I have no idea. It's so dramatic!

    Anyway, back then my biggest fear was for anyone – and by "anyone" I mean "any adult" – seeing my writing. So I decided all the old stuff stunk and one year I threw it into the bonfire. I think I was mature enough to realize my child/teen writing sucked, but not mature enough to realize one day I'd absolutely adore it for said suckage.

    A lesson for any teen reading this: resist the temptation of the bonfire. When you are old, you shall regret its flames!

  9. Karma Says:

    Kate-Maybe you could post some of the stuff you're proud of one of these days? I'm sure all of us will do the same (hem hem Me hem hem).

  10. Trina Says:


    I have almost everything I've written since I was 12 y/o…the early stuff on line paper, turning yellow and stored in a taped up Trapper Keeper folder. I'm sooooo happy I never got rid of it.

  11. Sue Ford Says:

    UGH, but here's one of the better ones.

    I was born in the wrong family, I thought. My family stayed home the entire Labor Day weekend. Boring! Not my cousin’s family. They’d gone water-skiing. I could hear Katrina telling her friends all about the trip. The excitement in her voice carried over the sounds of the cheer leaders warming up. Above, “Fight, fight, fight!” Katrina talked about beautiful Lake Tahoe, the guy she’d met at the motel pool, and her Dad’s new speed boat. New speed boat! My family didn’t even have a rubber raft with paddles.

    What did I have to tell? How we’d painted the outside of our house? Yeah, right! Why was life so unfair?

  12. Allison Says:

    Oh, dear. I wrote some AWFUL stuff when I was young. I mean, at the time it was my pride and joy, and I still look back fondly, but… ooh baby, it makes me CRINGE just to read it.]

    Mostly it was fanfiction. (Oh, man. I'm going through looking for a good section to post. The whole thing is so hilarious, I can't decide what to pick! Okay, I think I found something. It's… really embarrassing to be posting this. I think I was like twelve when I wrote this, so technically not a teenager yet, but hopefully it still counts!)

    A section from the beginning of the first fanfic I ever wrote: (*cringes*)

    “In 4th grade they met at a school called Horizon School of Witches and Wizards (or just Horizon to Muggles). They didn’t know it at the time, but Horizon is a school for witches and wizards. In America they Wizarding school at age 13 instead of 11, but Horizon starts at age 12. The whole thing is kinda confusing, but anyways… So I guess that they’re the ones doing this exchange program.”

    “That is correct,” McGonagall was speaking again, “We would like you, Mr. Potter, to take part in this exchange program, since you are sort of related to them, and I’m sure you want to meet them.”

    “Really?? I get to go to America, meet 2 of my long lost cousins, and get engaged, all in one year!? Something extreme happens to me every year! It’s usually life threatening, but oh well! Gee, they should write a book series about me! Maybe even movies, too! They could make a fortune! I could see it now! ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by: JK Rowling’ wow, cool!”

    “Whoa, slow down, Harry. Who’s JK Rowling?” Sirius asked, “And did you say engaged?”

    “JK Rowling is a Muggle author I read about one time,” Harry answered.

    “Well? Did you say engaged?” Lupin pushed.

    “Did I?” Harry asked, starting to blush, “uh… er…”

    “He did!” McGonagall exclaimed, as excited as Lupin and Sirius, “Is it Ginny?”

    “No, it’s Pansy Parkinson,” Harry said, sarcastically, “Of course Ginny, who else?”

    The story was called "Potters and Weasleys." Because Harry & Ginny and Ron & Hermione get married. Lol.

  13. Amy L. Sonnichsen Says:

    This is so weird, Daphne, because I just dug a pile of my writing notebooks out of the closet this morning, and I hadn't seen your post yet. Crazy. I loved your excerpt. I laughed out loud!!

    This is mine: (age 14)

    "Lady Lace Creek," began poor, extremely lonely Patience, "is the most horrid place in the world!" The nine-year-old 'woman' sat at her window thinking bitter things. She was called a woman mainly because she had been through enough in her short nine years to crowd the life of any grown woman. "Aunt Candice, Aunt Mirabel, and Kalaine Pits are the most horrid people in the whole world!" she continued, "and I am the ugliest, most monotinous girl in this galaxy!" she finished, pounding her small fist against the wall.

    Oh, how wrong she was! Any eye could see that! Patience Lace was a very beautiful girl, with dark curls and darker eyes, flooded with sorrow, but still so-so beautiful! Her soft, pale skin and mauve lips could turn anyone's head. She had the mysterious way of making everyone who looked at her feel very ugly and undescript. Oh, how girls and women envied her looks and her grace. She floated! She had boys at every age writing her and hoping to make friendship or even romance kindle between them. It was only to a scarce few to whom Patience ever wrote back, or even bothered to give her new address — she moved ever so often! But for what she was blessed in beauty, she paide for in tragedy….

  14. Rachel Says:

    The hardest part of this exercise was choosing the worst piece, but I think this may be it. Written at age 14 or 15.

    Stab in the Heart – A song

    (I did not change spelling or punctuation, but I combined lines to save some space)

    Stab in the heart, Murdered by lust

    She's so filled with pain, She thinks she shall bust

    Injected with memory, Of hurt from before

    She swore to the Heavens, To feel pain no more.

    For him to be hers, That is her dream

    But things that are there, Are not what they seem

    Lost, she has not, But she can't say she's got

    The man in her mind, The knife through her heart


    Spoiled brat girl, Always gets what she wants

    But she can't have him, Oh she can't have him

    It kills her to lose, To not have her way

    But she can't have him, Oh she can't have him

    Visions of loss, Enter her mind

    Of lust gone sour, Love's cruel not kind

    Why even try, When she knows he'll escape

    She thinks she will cry, From the stab in her heart


  15. allreb Says:

    Oh man. My access to the internet coincided with my first Epic Fantasy Novel. Consequently, it's still floating around the internet to embarrass me (but I'm still nostalgically fond so I haven't bothered to take it down, even though it makes me cringe).

    Have a dramatic flashback to the protagonist's mom, who eventually shows up in the story in angel form. Because why not?

    Slenna clutched Jorden's shoulder tightly. He was staring at her. She didn't know what he was saying, just that he was staring at her and he knew she had killed him.

    The Knights tried to manhandle him again, and he pulled away from them. She gasped as he was stabbed in the stomach. "Len?" Jorden asked, concerned. She'd gone very, very pale.

    They managed to get the Warrior back under control. His lips had gone blue from the cold and his spilled blood was causing steam to rise from the snow. One of the Knights raised a whip, and it cracked forward…

    She was lost in the scream, unable to think or to speak. But the Warrior fell silent, and she turned to Jorden. "Jor. Can I stop this?"

    He frowned, and there was another scream. She winced. "I don't think you can."

    "I'm the ranking Knight here, aren't I?"

    "Yes, but you don't have that authority."

    He screamed.

    "I can't let this happen."

    A scream.

    "Slenna, it's what's supposed to happen."

    Another scream.

    "No, it's not!" she snapped. "This is wrong!"



    "Listen to me!" she demanded, through the agonized wail. "This is inhuman. It's cruel. If we were captured, we'd want a quick death. This should be merciful, not… not…"

    She managed to look out at the prisoner for a moment. He was starting to sag from the chains, probably trying to stave off unconsciousness.

    It was wrong. She knew it, on some level she couldn't explain. It was wrong. It would be a cruel thing for anyone, but for him, for this one Warrior, it couldn't happen. It had to be stopped. "Slenna…?" Jorden asked.

    "Hm?" Her head was beginning to clear. It was as if a fog was lifting.

    "You're… You're glowing."

    "What?" she asked, then looked down at herself. He was telling the truth; she'd begun to glow with an eerie, pale blue light. She wasn't sure why, but she knew she should stand.

    Another, much weaker, scream.


  16. Weronika Janczuk Says:

    This was the opening scene from my first novel, written between sixth and seventh grade. More interesting than this, I think, is how much my writing has changed in the last six years. The story of a tween spy.

    /Oh, come on. Pick up the phone./ I sighed, worried that Bryan wouldn't pick up and that he wouldn't find out I was leaving permanently. Bryan and I had been best friends since kindergarten when he had pulled my long brown hair at recess. We had ended up in the principal's office. He used to be a little brat but soon became the perfect kid to everybody around him, especially me.

    Now, when the both of us were in eighth grade, my parents were getting a divorce and I had to move to Minnesota with my mom. /How am I going to tell him I'm moving? This wasn't supposed to happen,/ I thought frantically. It was a little bit after nine in the morning and I knew Bryan would be on his way to basketball practice. /Does he have his cell phone with him? DOes he know I'm trying to call him?/ I rubbed my hands tensely as the cordless phone rested on my shoulder.

    "Hello?" Bryan finally answered on his cell phone.

    "Um, hi Bryan. This is Allie," I said, suddenly at a complete loss for words. From the corner of my eye, I saw my mom, unhappily, move our suitcases to the front door. She looked really tired and especially sad. She had black circles under her usually happy eyes.

  17. Lauren Says:

    Oh, these are great!

    I was pretty obsessed with the most bombastic Broadway shows when I was a teenager, and when I was 13 I wrote about two best friends who run away from home… and wind up at auditions for the Phantom of the Opera touring company. I wrote the whole thing out longhand, and it got passed around my Broadway-obsessed friends for a couple months in middle school. Here's a bit, from the first page I flipped to:

    I stomped down the sidewalk angrily, with Star at my heels. "You did well, Victoria," she said.

    "Oh, shut up." I whirled around. "You know I did terrible, and so does that director, and Mr. Thompson, and everyone else."

    "Victoria! You were one of the best singers I heard audition."

    "I screwed up."

    "So you missed a couple of words! Casting directors know real talent when they see it."

    I didn't respond. We walked, side by side, past hotels we couldn't afford.

    "Monumental!" I suddenly exclaimed.

    Star jumped. "What?"

    "That's the word I forgot in 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.'" I began reciting the song. "'Passing bells and sculpted angels, cold and monumental….' I knew that word. Why couldn't I remember it?"

    Star shrugged. "Don't know. Sometimes I forget guitar chords. What song should I play at the band's auditions?"

    "'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again'?" I asked. Star looked at me strangely. "Just kidding."

    "Hey, that gives me an idea. Why don't you try out for their vocalist?"

    I returned her strange look. "I sing Broadway, not hard rock, or whatever kind of band they are."

    "Be more open-minded, Victoria! This could be a money-making opportunity!" Star exclaimed.

    I grumbled in response If Star wanted to try out for a junky, low-paying garage band, it was her problem.

  18. Amy W. Says:

    Amy L. Sonnichsen, I loved yours. And Daphne's chestnut horses. I'm so pleased you mentioned this topic, because I dug out a play I wrote when I was 15 (I had the parts all cast, of course) and have been chuckling all afternoon. I meant this play to be a satire (I think. I hope!). Can you tell I was overly influenced by Georgette Heyer?

    Here are two of my favorite bits:

    LORD HENROID: The honor would rend my soul in twain an you gave it to another! My soul was smoldering when you sent Pendleton for ratafia! Coals were heaped upon my head when Juster was sent to tend Fifi! But now my spirit could ascend to the sky since I am so highly deemed in your esteem!


    MR. HOLLAND: I appreciate the volumes you publish, general. My Lorina must have something to read, and novels are out of the question. If it weren't for Petershaw's Sermons and your own Lamarck and Lumbago: The Fatal Connection, I should be at a loss to know what to give her.

    GENERAL HARUSPEX: What's that? Oh, yes, yes, quite. Glad you enjoyed it. I've always thought that science is more enjoyable through poetry than through prose.

  19. MJ Says:

    These are fun – love the various characters' names.

    From a story I wrote in 8th grade, about a man dressed as Santa robbing a school cafeteria:

    I was all business as I moved menacingly toward the three little old ladies handling the loot.

    "May I help you?" asked one as she saw me.

    "Yes!" I replied, and pulled my gun. "This is a stick-up!"

    "Mercy me!" she gasped, and fainted.

    "Oh, Grace, give the man what he wants! He's holding up the line. Grace? Oh, dear, she's fainted. Such a bother. Now the whole process will be delayed." Thus spoke the second lady. She then turned to me.

    "Now what was it you wanted?" she asked.

    "The money!" I replied, somewhat daunted.

    "Nonsense! I think that ho-ho-ho bit has gone to your head. Why don't you sit down and have a bit of milk? You'll feel better."

    "Lady," I pleaded, waving my gun, "don't you understand? This is a robbery! I am a big bad man, and I am taking away all your money!"

    "Really! Well, I think you're touched in the head. Will you please move on? You're holding up the line!"

    "No!" I yelled. "I'm holding up the MONEY!"

  20. Annie Says:

    This is the beginning of one of my story I wrote my senior year.

    “It’s one of those hot summer days that makes you wish it was December. A girl is walking home from her summer job in the small town of Lee, Alabama. The road she walks on is shaded by old trees that surround it making it a bit cooler. She a sight with her light brown hair coming loose from the ponytail and pink flowery dress stuck to her wet back. Her backpack hung bodyless from her shoulder. Behind her in the far distance a blue old ford truck drives out of sight.”

  21. Shoshana Says:

    Just dug this up from the back of the file cabinet…

    She was now absolutely certain that there was a conspiracy against her. Shelly glanced at the paper in her hand again, just to make certain she had read it correctly. Unfortunately, her reading proved to have been quite accurate. She then sighed. It was a deep and expressive sigh. Had there been anyone else within hearing distance, the sigh would have conveyed her extreme annoyance with the situation she now found herself in. However, as there was no one else awake in the house, she only succeeded in annoying herself further.

    "Well," she said, directing her statement to the overhead light, for lack of a better audience. "Something is definitely going to have to be done about this."

  22. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    Well, I don't need the consult since I'm an agent too, but hey! Any chance to share truly crappy writing!

    My particular brand of crappy writing leaned toward very earnest poems (ick!) and/or short prose poems. Yeah…

    Anyway, here's one of the less saccharine poems:

    Dead Languages

    They say Calum has

    most of his teeth, though

    his hair has gone to snow.

    Mornings he spends

    gathering mussels and

    watching loaded ferries

    leave for the Kyle.

    Afternoons it's lager

    cadged from the boys. He

    always lets the

    amber go to his head.

    Most times when he's

    drunk to much he

    falls into Gaelic and back,

    tells his stories in a

    hybrid tongue.

    The younger men laugh.

    They don't speak the

    language of Skye anymore, it's

    of no use in London

    or Glasgow

    or the States.

    They goad Calum,

    thinking him a daft Highlander


    fill his mug again but

    soon Calum will

    no longer come 'round here

    to be

    ridiculed by younger men.

  23. aJones Says:

    Angsty poetry count?

    Somehow when you left I felt you understood the teardrops filling my eyes as desperately I tried not to cry was not but the tears of friendship lost in the sunsets of summers long ago….

    it got worse from there. I'm pushing fifty now and all I can do is think…





    a Jones.

  24. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    (Oh, and I was…17? I think? When I wrote that.)

  25. Atsiko Says:

    I'm afraid I'm too cowardly to post any of my teen "writing". But it did suck pretty bad. *remembers reams of poetry and a several-hundred page anime fanfiction*

  26. Atsiko Says:

    Well, I suppose it's rather lame to comment without a reveal. I dug this up from the latter days of my teenage writing:

    A Soft Soul Seethes

    A soft soul seethes in the shifting sky,

    awaits the hour when the sun shall rise.

    As night drifts by on the summer tides,

    she sinks to earth in her cloak of lies.

    A harsh chill seeps ‘neath the shattered moon

    slow creeps ahead where the shadows lie.

    It reeks of red ‘round lip and tooth,

    this soft lament that burns the eyes.

    So pale what slithers through the grass,

    an ivory thread that dare not still,

    uncoils its length along the path.

    beneath the leaves where life was spilled.

    The vision slips ‘cross creek and field

    erupts in cries that day once stilled.

    The stars must sleep above the clouds,

    as darkness claims the world for now.

    A soft soul seethes in the shifting sky,

    awaits the hour when the sun shall rise.

    As night drifts by on the summer tides,

    Smoke writhes up from her cloak of lies.

  27. Atsiko Says:

    Oh, I forgot to say don't enter me in the contest. I'm kind of following Colleen's lead.

  28. Jesika Barnes Says:

    Alright- now I'm not far from the teenager years (22..) but I know I've grown leaps and bounds from this from my 16 year old writings:

    Nerves, those icky things that give birth to those unwelcome butterflies in your stomach. Who invented those blasted things anyway? Well, whoever it was should be chased down, tied up, and shot. Yes, those pesky nerves had hit her again, big time. She'd had trouble talking to the High Priestess of Avalon, and she was nothing compared to this, this was a Queen and not just any queen mind you, THE Queen. Worse yet, she was completely oblivious to the reason she had been summoned, she had no idea what she might have to do, say, or explain.

    Of course the Queen had many people who worked for her, and still others who visited her regularly. Why, even Father Time was seen having tea here at least 3 times a week. It was, however, very rarely that she ever took someone new under her wing. To simply come before her, not to mention to be looked favorably upon, was a chance every pixie dreamed of, not to mention any other creature with half a bag of magic dust.

    Why then, when she was finally receiving an answer for her hard work and endless dedication, was she as jumpy as a newborn Leprechaun?

    Sighing she sat down on a toadstool and waited. 'Patience is a virtue,' she thought grudgingly, and looked at the forest around her.

    Nowhere in the universe would you find a forest so lush and full of life as here. The trees were a dark, almost emerald green. They practically glowed with a sacred energy and circled the open meadow ceremoniously. She sat upon her toadstool at the edge of this meadow, a meadow that was lit with bright gracious sunshine and decorated with vibrant, friendly flowers ripe with sweet nectar. The grass swayed sociably in conversation with the soft breeze and welcomed the many creatures present to come and play.

    Of course it's only natural that the habitat surrounding Mother Nature's domain would be exotic and perfect. How could it not be?

    Yes, the Queen was none other than Mother Nature herself, the ruler of the magical lands and forgotten caregiver of the mortal world.

  29. AudryT Says:

    I will preface this by saying I was obsessed with talking unicorns as a teenager. "Obsessed" may be an understatement.

    "The Arch Reigns"

    Age: 14

    "Your time is now," the Supreme announced. "This night is yours to be bonded with my son. Come."

    Sarrel nodded obedience, and followed the great being towards the gate of the outer world. As they neared, she glanced a sorrowed farewell at her loyalist. He turned away to hide his expression.

    "Why does he hide his sadness?" Cheyella whispered.

    Tebban hesitated in answering, then whispered," For you only, I suppose I shall answer. We. . .we have been taught not to show a fondness towards our keep that might exceed. . ." He halted, as if doubting his right to tell her.

    "Tell me not, then. Supreme, answer me something before you leave!" The Supreme paused before the gate as if he would respond, yet spared no glance backwards and said no word. "Answer me this: What is Ultimate like?" Cheyella dared ask, determined to gain an answer to at least one question.

    Silence kept the palace. No soul moved, no unicorn spoke. Then the Supreme turned back, and answered her, "Come, and see for yourself."

    Tebban gasped. "My keep, wait a few years longer," he begged. "You are so young. . ."

    A shake of Cheyella's white face ended his plea. "Loyalist, I must go," she tried explaining, "I must see the outside for myself. I truly want to know what other lives there are. Please understand, Tebban." This time, it was her who was begging.

    Her loyalist turned briskly away from her.

  30. Red Boot Pearl Says:

    This is painful, I found this notebook written in hot pink pen…from the seventh grade…oy. What's even funnier is that I was attempting to write from a 7th grade boy's perspective…

    The 7-up can sat there. Half empty. Half full. A rubber band hooked to it. Why is it there? I wondered to myself. There is a trash setting three feet away. So you're just going to leave a stupid can? Why should I care? It's just a stupid decoy to keep yourself thinking about anything but, but that.

    "I really need to quit arguing with myself," I muttered softly under my breath so no one could hear but me. (Love that line!)

    "What are you doing down there?" It was her, the girl I loved.

    "Nicki, well I was just relaxing," Why was she talking to me? She had just turned me down. Now I was going to have to go to the dance with Lindsay or someone else.

    "Well I was just coming to say I was sorry, I didn't know the intercom was on, really," the beautiful girl said.

    "It's okay," I said getting up. Then I turned to leave. She grabbed my arm.

    "I came to ask you to the dance."

    "Why?" I wondered.

    "Because I feel awful, the reason I turned you down was I'd been asked by Brad, but when I got in the hall he was cracking up, I asked him what was so funny, then he told me what happened. He told me I sure showed you. Then I told him he was a jerk and I don't go to dances with jerks." She pauses. "So will you go with me?"

    "If you really want me."

    "Of course I do."

    And just like that she comes up and hugs me. The she leaves. Wow she is so cute. Man I just went from a complete loser to this, man what a day! I guess I'm just a swell smooth kind of a guy.

    I feel like I need to go brush my teeth or something to get the horrible taste out of my mouth… I liked to think I've come a long way since the seventh grade.

  31. bookwormchris Says:

    If I can find the time, I will search for something on my computer. I know I have some truly amazing stories from Elementary school age (I think.) My spelling was… inspired. That is all on paper, of course, and somewhere at my parent's house unless somebody has disposed of it (I think I kept it, and we're all packrats, so nobody else would likely bother.)

    Possibly on this computer: RP posts (which is basically fan fic-ish?) from Middle/High School, short story for English class, multiple poetry attempts, etc.

  32. Cassandra Says:

    One of my first blog entries… (Carrie from Sex and the City was my IDOL)

    Age: 19

    I was a bit restless after class today… just fed up with my normal scenery… so I decided to wander down to the edge of Alphabet City, an area that I think is pretty shady. I ventured into Tompkins Square Park, hoping to sit on a nice patch of grass and do some light reading- "Black Holes and Time Warps," by Kip Thorne. Pardon me… did I say light? The thing weighs as much as I do and is required for my pain in the ass Astronomy class. But, that's beside the point. I hopped a fence and settled adjacent to an East-Villager guy playing guitar. Soothing, right? It was until I really started to look at the people around me. Now, normally I feel completely comfortable among alternative, punkish, freakish, on the edge people that have their own style going on… but this was downright SCARY. The park was crawling with them… along with homeless men and, for some strange reason, old women and their small dogs. Not a normal looking face in the crowd. It wouldn't have been so bad… but then one of the punkish guys yelled at me from across the fence and said, "Hey baby, I'll stick it in your ass and you'll LIKE IT!" That was my exit cue. I think I'll stick to Washington Square Park or Central Park from now on.

  33. SLNaeole Says:

    I don't have much of anything from my youth, but I do have a few poems I'd scribbled in a day planner I kept for the addresses.

    This was written when I was fifteen while I was in an abusive relationship.


    I want to be happy

    but with you I am not

    inside I am struggling

    desperate to breathe

    freedom in my sights

    you in my way

    holding me down

    down with my soul

    spirits far below

    feet touching sorrow

    tear stained shoes

    wicked, wicked present

    laughing at me


    I stumble

    another year goes by

  34. Kimber An Says:

    I'll pass on the contest, since I only really need feedback on current work.

    I can see how teens can become published authors and I can see how it must take extrordinary support from family and schools. I wrote my first novel at age eleven, but I had neither.

    I'm a homeschool mom now and I've seen teens homeschool themselves. Even if you attend a regular school, you can suppliment your education. A good place to start is http://www.welltrainedmind.com There's a link from there to another site which is all about adults educating themselves.

    You don't have to make do with what life gives you or wait around for a handout. Go after what you want.


  35. Mandy Says:

    I have even worse stuff, but its all in notebooks at my parent's house. This is the third novel I completed in middle school. So without further ado, the first exciting, gripping, tantalizing even (or so I thought at the time) paragraphs of "Project Earth's Future" (gotta love the title).

    Age of Author: 13

    Captain David Key stood on the bridge of his supply vessel, watching his crew work and space fly by. His vessel was headed for the colony outposts on Mars. After that he would take goods from Mars to the colonies on Jupiter’s moon. Then he would go wherever the Federation told him. He was a cargo ship captain. He lived day by day, job by job.

    “Carn, how’s our schedule?” Key asked one of his pilots.

    The young man looked up with a smile. Carn, like many young men, sought for adventure in space but found himself on a cargo ship. The Federation was the best chance for adventure, but most young men didn’t want to go through the tough training. It took years before a Federation candidate could actually get to fly anything. If the candidate survived the training that is.

    “We’re actually early, Captain,” Carn said. “At this rate we should arrive before the week is over.” Key nodded. It was a two-week trip to Mars if your ship went at an average speed. Key prided himself in having the fastest supply vessel in the Federation.

  36. Sue Says:

    Okay, I used to love to write haiku. I wrote this when I was around 14 or 15.

    Dreams adrift at sea

    Crash against reality

    Float ashore, shattered

    Can you tell I was a bit of a drama queen?


  37. Stephanie Perkins Says:

    MWAHAHAHA!! This is great. Awesome entries, and I LOVE the names in your fantasy horse story!

    (I, too, wrote cummings-inspired poetry. Aaaack.)

  38. Lisa Aldin Says:

    I went home for lunch after reading this and dug up my journal from junior high. I think I had to have been 12 or 13 and this just made me laugh hysterically. Now I started writing these stories as a code because my little brother ALWAYS read my journal. As if he couldn't crack the code.

    I quote:

    A Story


    One day, a girl named Jade was talking to her friends. "I think you should go out with Jason, you 2 make the cutest couple." Everyone always said that! But then she met Jack. He's sweet but UGLY. Jade likes Tim and Alex too. But they don't like her. Her friend Sugar is trying to convince Jason and Jack to ask her out but Jade doesn't want a b-friend right now but Sugar told them that she would say yes. WHATEVER!

    End quote. Yeah. Apparently I had quite the love life back in junior high. And I intend to now end all of my stories with WHATEVER!

  39. Bethany Says:

    I just burned myself by blogging about my preteen/teen-written books. But I did not include excerpts. Because holy hell, woman, why?!

  40. Anne B. Says:

    How did you get a literary magazine started in our high school? Sr. Francis wouldn't let me revive the school newspaper, even when I brought her a "business plan" and a design. You must have some kind of magical powers…or maybe she was transfered by then.

  41. Maude Stephany Says:

    I know I have some horrid writing from my teen years – I'm just too dense to get rid of it all… here's a poem:

    As I walked along the street

    my gaze fell upon a tree.

    It was no ordinary tree

    for it was bare

    compared to those surrounding it

    with colored leaves…

    yet stunning.

    In summer,

    it had stood in an ugly guise of green:

    cold, envious and deceitful.


    the tree became

    an individual flaunting its colors

    impressing me.


    it stands bare…

    nothing to deceive,

    nothing to impress,

    the skeleton of truth,

    and it is glorious!

  42. Susan Bradley Says:

    Okay, I wrote this for Nikki Sixx whom I was totally in love with during the 80's. It's my love poem to him πŸ™‚

    Little Boy Carousel

    I stand in the graveyard

    and see the flashing lights

    I catch the golden ring that holds guard

    to everything that you think is right

    What's wrong little boy carousel

    with your smiling green eyes it's hard to tell

    what's right little boy carousel

    with your foot in the grave, it's hard to tell

    The horses go round and round, forever

    Decorated with gold and jewels

    Do we know what's inside?

    No never

    it's the brown sugar running through your veins

    That sweetens the bitterness of your pain

    So tell me little boy carousel

    What is it that makes you cry?

    Is it the pen you take in hand

    To write the words that keep you alive?

  43. lili wilkinson Says:

    This has inspired a blog post of my own… http://is.gd/bjxQb What a terrible little plagiarist I was as a teen…

  44. Robin Says:

    I was 13. This was the very beginning of chapter one:

    The smell of young, healthy blood, and tawdry cologne becomes stronger as I walk into Ms. Cordell’s English class from the nearly deserted halls. It is still early- a few minutes remain before the tardy bell rings- but many of the students are already in class.

    Ignoring the smell of their blood I turn over the paper from the office, not worried about getting it back as I scan the different faces in the room. Reading the form I gave her she says the name I enrolled under. I nod, barely paying attention to her while I choose a seat in the back, where I can watch everyone.

  45. Kate Says:

    For the record, I am LOVING these! Anne B. — I think Sr. Francis was gone by my time — heck, half the school was! I think that gave us a little more leeway.

  46. Natasha Says:

    Here we go, this was too fun to pass up on. Found something that wasn't about talking unicorns or fanfic involving me and the Power Rangers *eek!*

    Note : I don't know what I named it and I'm doing my best to read the chicken scratch that passed for cursive.

    The small submarine swayed lazily in the soft lapping waves, floating slightly above the deep, salt water sea. Roth pulled at a latch and threw open the thick metal door, then crawled out onto the surface.

    "How is it up there?" A voice called out from below.

    "It's wonderful dad. It looks real calm." Roth answered. Roth was eighteen and had been going on trips like this since he was six, and his father's co-workers had been telling them both for years that Roth would no doubt follow in his footsteps. Roth knew that one of the reasons they said that was because he and his father looked so much alike, with blond hair and brown eyes, that he would easily make a longtime replacement for his father when he retired.

    Roth started to bring a can of coke he was holding to his lips when the submarine shifted sharply and the brown liquid splashed over his thin blue t-shirt.

    "Aw man." he exclaimed, dropping the can in exasperation. The boat shifted again and Roth's father climbed up beside him.

    "What the hell." his father said angrily. He looked over the water then his eyes opened wide in fear.

    "Whirlpool!" he screamed.

  47. Cynthia Foster Says:

    Oh my Lord, my hs journals were painful, but I think it was a good excuse to go through and it reminded me of LOTS! A good thing for a YA writer. So without further ado here goes my first attempt at the beginnings of a novel when I was 17. It was meant to be the teenage version of Blubber.

    My name is Jessie Saunders and I wish I was in Bermuda, the Triangle that is. So everything can disappear and I can start my real life. My real life that would include a boyfriend, a car and a pair of Guess jeans that actually fit like all the other girls I go to school with. Those other girls who have no idea what it means to be the fat girl with the "pretty face."

    I really hope that's enough to put me in the contest, because I really don't want to subject you all to any more.

  48. kt literary » Blog Archive » Consultation Winner! Says:

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  49. Lili Wilkinson • Blog • Juvenilia Says:

    […] agent recently shared some of her teen writing, and as it’s my birthday and you’re not […]