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Where Teens Write is closing its doors as a teen writing community, but the “how to write” blog posts will be up for another few weeks.
 
I’m happy to announce that you can post your stories and get feedback over at Teen Author’s Journal. Like WTW, it’s a smaller community where you can build relationships with others and hone your writing skills.
 
It’s been a great few years with all of you, but it’s time to close the doors to this community. If you did post stories here that you didn’t save anywhere else, and you’d like them, you may contact me using the contact page, and I’ll get you your story. Thank you for participating.
 
All the best,
Amy
 

Characters

As discussed in the first post in this villain series, the whole purpose of your antagonist is to oppose your protagonist/main character (MC). In the second post, I talked about how to develop your villain so that their opposing your main character is believable and makes sense. It’s super important to develop great villains, to [...]

In the first post in this villain series, I defined an antagonist and also discussed when to introduce your antagonist (hint – right at the beginning of your story). This post is all about how to develop a solid villainous character. Stephen King, in his novel Misery, developed one of the all time great villains in contemporary [...]

Every great story has a powerful and hateful villain. Or do they? The answer to that question is actually much more complicated than it might seem at first glance. So, in honor of the Christmas season and one of my favorite all-time villains, The Grinch, I’m kicking off a three part series on antagonists. A [...]

Have you ever read the last few chapters of a book extra slowly because you weren’t yet ready to say goodbye to the characters? Can you list favorite characters that you have fallen deeply and irrevocably in love with? I’m willing to bet that if you’re a reader, you can. We all can. My list [...]

Develop your Story with Plot Layers

Every good story is, at its heart, a conflict, and your job as the writer is to throw as many obstacles and conflict in front of your character as you can as they strive to achieve their overall story goal. But, you can deepen those conflicts and make them even that much more interesting by [...]

Using HONY to Create a Character

“HONY? What the heck is that?” You might be asking. HONY stands for Humans of New York, and it is (in my mind) one of the greatest blogs EVER. This past week, a WTW’er posted a great poem  about how we, as humans, often base our judgements of others on appearances. The poem reminded me [...]

Add Reaction to Develop your Characters

Do you choose your friends for their actions? Are you first drawn to them based on how they look? Or, do you choose them for their personality? I’m guessing it’s probably a little bit of all of those things. Now, think about your favorite character(s) from a novel. What do you like about them? Is it [...]

I’ve spent the last week reading a stack of short stories all written by super talented teen writers. They had believable characters, funny and realistic dialogue, and interesting conflicts and plots. But, well over half of the stories suffered from the same problem. What was it? They had giant chunks of back story which bogged them [...]

One of the basic tenets of story telling is that a character in a story must have a goal. It gives the plot a structure. Characters are always trying to achieve something, whether its to kill the most evil wizard of all time (Harry Potter), love deeply and live fully before dying (Hazel in The [...]

What is a Character Arc?

Is a character arc a giant boat for characters that Noah built? Or perhaps it’s a lovely arched rainbow for our characters to walk through? Nope, it’s none of those. A character arc refers to how a character changes through a story. Your characters, especially the main characters, should experience some sort of change throughout [...]

Have you ever struggled to come up with ideas that you could develop into a short story? It can be tough. I actually find developing ideas for novels somewhat easier than ideas for a short story. A story needs to do all the things a novel does: develop characters, have a clear conflict, a plot, [...]

An Awesome List of WTW’s 2014 Blog Posts

Throughout 2014, we posted on the blog (almost) every Thursday. The posts included both creative writing instruction and inspiration for all you teen writers out there Reviewing all of the posts was actually kind of fun, and I was surprised at how much content is on the site from 2014. Check some of the posts [...]

Character Backstory – What is it?

Backstory…it’s a word that’s thrown around as crucial to solid character development, but what is it and why is it important? What is Backstory? A character’s backstory is the story of their life, their whole background. Where did they come from? Who’s their family? What experiences and events have shaped their life? Think about your [...]

Conveying Emotion Writing Exercise

Conveying emotion can be a challenge when writing. For example, if your character is named John, you don’t want to say, “John is sad,” or “John jumped excitedly.” That’s, well, boring and weak writing. This writing exercise can help you practice conveying emotion. First, think of a situation your character might be in. For example, [...]

Character Basics: Character Archetypes

When you’re creating a character, the most important step is to figure out what they are like: their purpose, personality, quirks, and voice. The list can go on and on. So, where do you start? I like to start with character archetypes because they give characters their purpose in the story, and they are also [...]

Every story has a cast of characters. Some have huge casts like the Harry Potter series which, according to Wikipedia, has over 600 characters. Some popular stories have much smaller casts, like The Hunger Games which has fewer than fifty. The question is…how do writers come up with all these characters? Six Places to Find Good [...]

Once you’ve figured out what your characters look like, it’s time to name them. Surprisingly, I’ve found this more difficult than naming live babies because once you name a baby, you can’t really change your mind. But, you can change your mind when it comes to a naming a character. Many of my main characters [...]

Ah, characters…any writing book, class, writer, writing blog, writing teacher, writing website (you get the idea) will tell you about characters and characterization. Why is that? It’s because CHARACTERS are one of the pillars of fiction. Without characters what do you have? You have a setting. It might be a super exciting, apocalyptic setting, but [...]

Look around your room, or if you’re not in it, think about it. What does it say about you? Is it neat and tidy? Do your clothes hang in neatly color-coordinated chunks in your closet? Or, is there a layer of dirty (or clean) clothes covering the floor? Do you have stinky cleats and workout [...]

Character Interaction Writing Prompt

This creative writing prompt involves people watching which is one of the best activities you can do to help develop characters and even interesting plot situations. Go to a public place, perhaps a coffee shop, a line you have to wait in, or even a class you might be taking. Select someone on your right [...]

Character Creation Writing Prompt

For this creative writing prompt, imagine that your birthday is coming, and it’s a big one. You’re turning sixteen or eighteen or maybe even twenty-one, and you’re having a party to celebrate. Create a character with the personality traits of somebody you want at your party but the physical characteristics of somebody that you’re forced [...]

Character Creation Prompt

Have you ever known someone that you felt got either more or less physically attractive the better you got to know them? For example, when you first met them, maybe you thought they were average looking. But as you got to know them and became friends, they somehow seemed to get better looking. On the [...]

Focus on…Character Prompt

This girl is dirty, scared, and young. What happened to her? Is she a victim? Or is she, perhaps, a hero? Something evil? Start writing and see what you come up with. Image credit: jmpaget / 123RF Stock Photo

People WANT to Help

Several weeks ago, a horrible tragedy happened in Boston, Massachusetts during the Boston Marathon. Two angry brothers put homemade bombs near the finish line where they detonated killing, maiming and injuring many innocent people. Within hours, Mr. Rogers’ quote about “helpers” was all over social media. Mr. Rogers said that his mom always told him [...]

Are there bullies in your book?

I went to a “Bully Prevention Training” this week for my job as a teacher, and I was actually surprised at how interesting it was, and as usual it made me think of writing. I have sort of a one track mind that way. I think a lot of kids think that anytime anyone does [...]

Have a character chat!

What is a character chat you might ask? It’s you chatting as your character with someone else who is chatting as their character. Why do this? Besides that its kind of fun, it also helps you develop your characters, or it could turn into a whole new collaborative story with you character chat partners. So [...]

I hope everyone is either having (or had) a happy Spring Break! I had the opportunity to go snorkeling this week. If you’ve never snorkeled, basically you float on top of the ocean and stare down into a completely other world. Everything about it is different than what you hear or see above the surface [...]

Dialogue Practice

Sometimes writing dialogue between characters can be tough, so we’re going to practice with characters you know pretty well. First, choose two of your favorite novels. Then, choose a favorite character from each of these novels. Maybe you like Alaska from John Green’s Looking for Alaska and Katniss fromThe Hunger Games. These are two pretty [...]

Pile on the Tragedy

Writers who write timeless, compelling fiction tend to be somewhat sadistic when it comes to their main characters. Horrible trauma follows horrible trauma, and as readers, we can’t get enough. We must find out what happens. Think about classics like Romeo and Juliet. Poor Juliet has fallen in love only to have her parents hate [...]

Mother Goose rhymes often have characters with, well, “issues,” and its sometimes fun to try to figure out why characters behave the way they do. You need to figure this out for your own characters, but to get you started, let’s start with Mother Goose. Think about Jack Sprat and his wife who have major [...]

Mother Goose rhymes often have characters with, well, “issues,” and its sometimes fun to try to figure out why characters behave the way they do. You need to figure this out for your own characters, but to get you started, let’s start with Mother Goose. Think about Jack Sprat and his wife who have major [...]

Character Development Writing Prompt

Write about the oldest person you have ever met or think you will ever meet. Is this person scary? kind? What do they look like? How do they move? What are they doing?

Focus on . . . Character

Write about the oldest person you have ever met or think you will ever meet. Is this person scary? kind? What do they look like? How do they move? What are they doing?

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