Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FAQ Month: How to Get Published Step Two

Feb. 29th

Happy leap year everyone!

As promised, I have some examples from Monday’s ‘homework’.

Example one: By Sophie (15) in Minnesota, based on her experiences at work. (Based on a scene from What Happened To Goodbye).

… The customers are sometimes angry. The blenders hurts my ears. The tips are lousy. The hours are weird. At the end of the day my feet ache and I smell like raspberry syrup and chicken. I don’t know why I stay. But at the end of the day, I got money...

Example two: By Cora (12) Oklahoma, based on the road trip she takes to commute to school every morning. (Based on a road trip scene from The Summer I Turned Pretty).
I don’t know why I do this, but I still do. Every morning at six thirty sharp, I’m wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. My teeth are glossed with a crisp minty smell with an underlying taste of chocolate rice crispies. I’m barley ready for an hour on the road. It’s still dark out. Cars are sparsely dispersed across the highway, a car here, a dump truck there, a handful of trucks driven by people who look like they belong on some trucking show. Stereotypically, they all have beards and a dash board full of McDonalds bags. I think this is where I first developed my hate for McDonalds.

Great job!

Now on to step two: Writing

Though it seems obvious enough, this is one of the biggest keys to writing well. It’s just as important as reading or observing. Now that we’ve watched a person do a layup, we’re going to try one ourselves.
There’s no right way to do a layup… er I mean… write. The only way you can improve is to write.

So write every day. Little things, big things. Anything. Then go back and edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Work on what you wrote yesterday. Add to what you wrote yesterday. Keep all your writing in a safe place, you never know when you need inspiration.


If you’re working on a novel right now, write an entire chapter before Friday’s post.

If you’re not working on a novel, or if you’re stuck, try doing this for inspiration:

Take the homework from Monday and edit it. Make it even more interesting. Add a problem. Maybe it’s really hard for your character to put on their shoes for some reason. Maybe it brings back bad memories. Whatever, it’s up to you. Make it shine.

 Feel free to email me at


Monday, February 27, 2012

Intro: How to Get Published Step One

Maybe you’re the type of girl who can’t turn down a challenge… You shred through YA novels like tissues, laugh at the cliché, unrelateable, unbelieveable plot lines, then wonder how in the world this meek excuse for a novel was published when you came up with better ideas for that prank call to your crush’s girlfriend (you know, the one no one was supposed to know about). So you sit. And you write. And you snort about how easy it is, until you hit page three. Then, you realize being a writer is harder than you thought.
Maybe you’re the type of girl who’s always dreamed of being a novelist… You spent your early kindergarten years cut off from the rest of the class, illustrating books about a magic cake shop while dictating the narrative to your teacher. You were the one who took your teacher’s advice to heart in the first grade when he promptly announced that the use of the words ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ in stories were banned. You’re the one who spent Friday nights in the seventh grade at cotillion, dancing with sweaty-handed boys and dreaming of a way to incorporate this into your newest story instead of making awkward small talk.
Maybe you’re the type of girl who realized that she’s a pretty good writer… You wrote your heart out in a little purple journal, guarded by a silver lock for years, before stopping and re-reading. Then you realize that, hey, you’re a pretty decent writer, with nothing better to do that needs some ‘umph’ on your college admissions resume (which you’ve been preparing since fourth grade). How else will you get accepted into Yale?
Or maybe you were just looking for a download of Justin Bieber’s song and clicked the wrong link. Whatever the reason. As long as I’ve trapped you here, I might as well educate you.
Welcome to Eenie Meenie Teenie Writers, a blog by a teen writer for teen writers. Though I’m not published (yet) I’ve collected quite a bit of information over the three years I’ve been noveling. So get ready, teen writers, you’re stuck on the same roller-coaster as I am. At least I can help others along the way. ; )

This blog came to be from two of my major obsessions... Nah, make that three. 1) Go Teen Writers , 2) Writing, and 3) My guilty pleasure, Yahoo Answers.

Specifically, my obsession with the Books and Author's section of Yahoo Answers. (Above you can see a perfect example of how much I waste my time on that website when I should be writing).

I cannot tell you how many times the following question has been asked. 

"How does i get published. im only 13. Thanxsss" or 12 or 11 or 14 or 15 or 16. 

That's the reason I made this blog in the first place. To prove that teens can write too! But, as you can tell from the quote (yes, it's a quote), above these teens are going to need a lot of help. 

For starters, you need to work on grammar. (I'm not the greatest at grammar; I'm sure you can find a plethora  of typos in this post, and I'm not claiming to be an expert.) It's just one of those things that we groan, and whine, and avoid as much as possible, but let's face it. You're not getting published without it. Use your best grammar in everything you do, from emails, to essays, to texts, to passing notes in school (just kidding, if you do that you're going to end up with grades like my Spanish grades... you do not want Spanish grades like mine), to questions on Yahoo Answers. USE GRAMMAR! 

Once we undo mushy lump that technology turned our grammar into, we can get started.

Onto the first step. The secret to getting published. The key to your success. The only thing that will help you. The make it or break it key to your future!!! (Excited yet). Okay, here it is.... Drum roll, trumpets. Dah dah da daaaaa...

Step one: Read.

It's as simple as that. Read as often as you write. Read all genres, read what you're interested in, read classics, read books like you hope yours will be. Whatever it is, just read. (If you need recommendations, check out my shelfari shelf on the left, I'm only a fraction through entering all the books on my kindle). This is the key to your success. It's like sports, you have to watch someone do a layup before you can attempt one yourself. (Or more accurately in my case, you have to watch someone run in proper form before you can try yourself). The more you read, the better you'll get. I swear, this isn't a trick. Just try it. This tip reminds me of a quote I read a long time ago. It was something about how writers don't actually create anything new. They take snippets of other things and mash it together until it works. Well, the more snippets you have the more material you have. The more material you have, the better book you can write. 

This also goes for surroundings and events. OBSERVE EVERYTHING. Describe it in your head. Don't let the little details escape you. Imagine every day of your life as a movie, what would be the opening of that movie? You putting on your shoes? Describe how you put on your shoes. Which shoe do you put on first? Pay attention to details. Try to make something as boring and monotonous as putting on your shoes exciting. Make it yours. 

So here's your homework for the night:

Before I make my next post (on Wednesday morning), do this:

1) Read a book

2) Find something the character does that you do: Like putting on shoes, or driving to school, or cleaning your room, even brushing your teeth!

3) Do that thing. Brush your teeth. 

4) Describe it in your own words. Pay extra attention to the five senses. 

5) Put the description in a safe place.

6) Come back to the description a couple of hours later.

7) Polish it. Your description may be a sentence, or pages. Whatever it is polish it. 

8) Compare to the passage in the book. 

9) Pat yourself on the back.


If you want your 'homework' to be featured in the next post, email me at charlotte dot nisson at gmail dot com (

I look forward to seeing your work. If you have any questions. About this post, my blog, writing, life (jk), email me at

BUT WAIT! Before you go, I have some links you might appreciate. 

- C