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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
 

Writing Exercises

When I begin working on a new project, I am filled with excitement. Ideas come easily. Words flow. I get in the writing groove, working on my project almost daily. And then . . . a vacation happens . . . school starts or ends . . . friends call  . . . something (anything) [...]

Explode Moments with Details

One of the hardest parts of writing fiction is to figure out how much detail to put into a scene. Too much, and your reader gets bored and starts skimming until they get to the action-y parts. Too little, and your reader can’t adequately picture what’s going on. You gotta be Goldilocks and get it [...]

You’ve probably heard the advice to “write what you know,” and if this whole idea confused you, you’re not alone. If you can only write “what you know,” then how does John Green write so convincingly and beautifully about dying from cancer? He’s still alive and well, and I don’t think he’s had cancer. Or, [...]

This past week I decided to start a new project. I’ve had  a few brewing around in my head for awhile, but I felt like I should finish revising another project first. But I didn’t feel like revising anything. (That’s a whole other story about no more “shoulding on myself”) Sooo…what happened? I haven’t been [...]

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 [...]

The setting of a story is one of those fiction elements that we imagine vividly in our heads but sometimes it’s hard to remember to put it down on paper. In my writing group, when I read a piece that has great dialogue and solid action, I’m always the one who asks, “Now, where are [...]

Great descriptive writing combines all of the senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. It transports your readers to a place where they can feel the place and see the characters. The key to doing this, and doing it well, is to combine a variety of sensory imagery in your writing. Generally, we’re pretty good [...]

Like many elements of writing, understanding a concept can be a very different thing than actually applying and executing it in your writing. Voice is no different. You can understand the idea of voice, but how do you develop it? How do you make your writing sound like YOU and not ___________ (fill in the [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about how to best develop the setting in your story. There’s still a few more posts coming in the series, but today, let’s try to put some of the ideas we’ve been discussing into practice. We can talk about how to write all day long, but if [...]

Writing prompt…story prompt…quick write…free write…writing exercises…journal…brainstorm…All these writing terms and strategies can make a person crazy, right? What do they mean and when should you use them? Basically, they’re all strategies to get the “black on the white,” the ink on the paper, or text on the document (if you can’t bear to write without [...]

Sentence Structure Matters

Next to your individual word choice, your sentence structure is the basic building block of your voice. Your sentences tell your story, either simply or poetically. They pull your reader in and carry them along. It is possible to write a best-selling novel using basic sentence structure: simple, compound, and with a few more complex [...]

The Power of Imitation

Imitation is a great strategy to begin playing with different styles, syntax, sentence length and complexity because it forces you to immediately adapt and stretch your writing skills. For example, look at the following selection “Hairs” from House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. She combines both short and longer sentences and uses repetition effectively to [...]

Single Syllable Story Writing Prompt

One reason poets often write such beautiful prose is because they spend so much time choosing each individual word. Khalil Gibran said, “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” Hopefully you too use a dictionary and the ever useful Thesaurus. You might need them for this [...]

Single Syllable Story Prompt

One reason poets often write such beautiful prose is because they spend so much time choosing each individual word. Khalil Gibran said, “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” Hopefully you too use a dictionary and the ever useful Thesaurus. You might need them for this [...]

POV Part 2 – Choosing your POV Exercise

Before starting to write any piece, it’s important to consider the point of view, or POV, you will use. Will you write from first person? Completely inside one characters head? Or maybe you want to focus on more than one character, in which case you might choose a third person POV. Before you decide, try [...]

Trading Places Writing Practice

When I write, I go to one of three favorite places: my corner desk, my comfy chair, or the red napping couch. I don’t nap, but it’s super comfy and a great place to write. I feel inspired in these places, and when I sit down in them, for some reason writing seems easier. Except [...]

Write Outside the Box

This week in my Creative Writing class, I had students fill in the blanks to the following sentences. Try it. 1) Joe _________ the grape into his mouth. 2) The wind ____________ through the trees. 3) The dog ___________ the cat. 4) The snow ____________ under Joe’s feet. 5) The sun ___________ in the sky. [...]

It's all About the Details

One of my favorite poets is William Carlos Williams. Through focusing on specific details in the everyday world around him, he creates snapshot images of life. One of his most famous poems is called “The Red Wheelbarrow.” You can find more of his poems here. The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams so much depends [...]

It’s all About the Details

One of my favorite poets is William Carlos Williams. Through focusing on specific details in the everyday world around him, he creates snapshot images of life. One of his most famous poems is called “The Red Wheelbarrow.” You can find more of his poems here. The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams so much depends [...]

Writing Exercise – Show those Details

Think of something that happened to you in the past six months. It could be anything . . . something exciting, fun, sad, momentous, or reflective. In a few sentences, describe it. This should be a brief summary. Example: A few weeks ago, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada during a heat wave. It was [...]

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 [...]

Playing with Point-of-View

Point of view, or POV,  is the perspective in which a story is told. There are three types of POV. In first person, the main character tells the story and uses “I.” In third person limited, the POV is limited to one character, but that character is referred to as he/she/they. In third person omniscient, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Dialogue Stalking Exercise

We talk all day long but often capturing realistic dialogue in our writing can be hard. If you struggle with this, start listening. For this exercise, grab your laptop or notebook and head to a public place and start listening. If your characters are younger, than go to a place where younger people hangout. You [...]

Writing Exercise – Focus on Character

We can all decide on a name or occupation for our character, but it’s figuring out how to develop characters into people that our readers love that can be tough. This writing exercise will help you go a little bit deeper with developing the main character in your current piece beyond the basics of gender, [...]

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