I’ve asked Lauren to guest post today and appear as my Friday teen author so I can be HER FAN. She’s an awesome teen writer who has recently started a blog as a FREE critique service. Below is a note from Lauren and what she’s all about:
Hello, Random Writing Rants reader! I like to joke around and say I got a triple dosage of weirdness.
One, I’m a pastor’s kid and have been since the day I was born.
Two, I have been writing stories for almost as long as I’ve been able to read.
Well, now that I’ve scared half of my readers away, let’s continue on with a few more things about me. I am currently majoring in Communications. I love learning different ways people interact with each other and polishing my own communication skills. I need it, after all, being a homeschooler! I also work at a Christian summer camp each year where I come face-to-face with real people who struggle with more pain and sorrow than everyone should be. After praying with one girl, I realized that all over America there are teenagers who have nobody to turn to with their pain and problems. I decided I wanted to write the kind of books that would speak to those teens; I wanted to write the kind of stories that my Camp kids could pick up and go, “Wow! This really speaks to me.” Of course, my stories will always point to God in some way!
I’ve come a long way from the beginning of my writing journey, where my stories consisted mainly of stick figures and poorly drawn elephants, only recognizable by the long squiggly lines making up their trunks. However, it took a lot more than simply creating stories for me to get to my current point in writing. I know this because I remember being twelve and, no matter how much I wrote, I couldn’t seem to improve anymore. I was frustrated. I knew I wanted to be an author one day, and I wasn’t going to be happy with my writing until I reached that point. My irritation at myself started to kill my creativity.
WHAT MOM TAUGHT ME:
That’s when my Mom shared some advice with me that changed how I viewed both writing and reading. “Take the books from authors you love to read and examine them. Figure out why you like them. Examine what they write until you realize what makes them good writers. Look at the books you don’t like, and figure out why you don’t like them. Avoid those mistakes.”
We were leaving for a long trip to Colorado. I already planned to read some of Bryan Davis’s books to prepare for the release of Oracles of Fire. On the way to the airport I applied her advice. Halfway through Raising Dragons, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t seen a single he said or she said in the entire book. I couldn’t help but think, “Whoa! How did I miss that before? Wait! How is it that I’m never confused about who’s speaking?” I began to pay even more attention to Mr. Davis’s writing. Within half a book of critically reading, I already had my first writing breakthrough!
Around the same time, I became an active member of Mr. Davis’s fan forum. An avid group of young writers, much like me, also patrolled the message board. I always enjoyed reading their writing, but when I began to read published author’s critically, I also did the same thing to my peers. What made me like their stories? What made me want to stop reading those same stories? In my comments, I started explaining my thoughts. And every time I typed out an explanation of what I thought was right and wrong, it made me even more aware of those same mistakes in my own writing. I found it fun, beneficial, and addicting. I still love to look at stories from new writers and give them some pointers to help them improve.
Writing stories is often solitary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop friendships with other people who love writing just as much as you do. Swapping stories between each other is fun! After all, who else can appreciate all that energy and time you spent into deciding if you should kill that one character better than another writer? Remembering how I used to spend so much time giving feedback to others, and receive feedback in my own turn, I realize just how much that helped me to become a better writer. Which is why when I started my current blog, I wanted to give other young writers the same chance to critique and be critiqued. I wanted to give them the opportunity to develop writing friends who will keep them encouraged, but will also help them to improve.
WHAT I DO AT MY BLOG:
Each Saturday, I anonymously post one through three pages of writing. Once it’s up, it is fair game to be torn apart. Well, in a nice encouraging kind of way! After all, nobody wants a harsh critic judging their writing. So maybe you (providing I didn’t scare you away in that first paragraph) are a writer who is also looking to improve. Why don’t you stop by my blog at www.writerlaurenclaire.wordpress.com? The writing posted there is for somebody to critique both the good and the bad. And maybe, through the other comments, you’ll learn something new. If you’re brave enough to submit something, you can find the guidelines on my website. Or if you just want to chat, you can still send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my post, even if I do have all my homeschooler socially awkward cooties. I hope to hear from you guys soon in some way. I really do have a heart for teens, God, and writing, so I’m always willing to chat about any of those.
Michelle, thank you again for allowing me to crash your blog and to share a little bit of how I learned to write with your readers! God bless!
THANK YOU, Lauren. We hope to see you around RANDOM’s site a lot more.