#1 Posted by CyborgDuo (105 posts) -

I'm 15, so writing a novel is probably not the most logical idea I've ever had. The project would probably be brushed away by most publishers due to its lack of reputability. I'm not aiming to make tons of money or even get published. I want to write it just for me. 3,000+ words a day, over the summer. Not at all an unreasonable amount, at least for me. I'm till nailing down the specifics of the story, but I do want to have it be sci-fi while remaining grounded to what I know as a teenager in an average american high school.

What do you guys think? Good or terrible idea? Furthermore, have any of you had ideas for novels, or screenplays for that matter, that you've always wanted to write?

#2 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

Go for it. I think most people have had ideas for stories that they've wanted to write at some point, but only a few of them have the will to go through with it.

#3 Posted by believer258 (12205 posts) -

I think that it will be a valuable experience, regardless of whether you get it published or even whether you pursue the hobby any further than one book. Or even half a book. Making events connect, making interesting characters, and altogether figuring out how to get a full novel together challenges your brain and makes you smarter.

Unless you write something along these lines.

#4 Posted by No0b0rAmA (1478 posts) -

Do a novel about a fascist Canadian annexation of the United States and Mexico, and a further expansion into South America.

Writing a novel is a really good way to spend your summer if you're not going anywhere. Probably better than sitting in front of your computer/tv all day.

#5 Posted by JustPlainLucas (31 posts) -

First of all, you need to rearrange your wording. Don't say "I want to write a novel," because then you never will. You must say, "I'm going to write a novel." Also, don't put a goal on the amount of words you want to write. This isn't some kind of quantitative work you should keep track of. You'll find yourself stopping when you're full of great ideas or frustrating yourself because you're stuck at 2,500 and can't seem to think of anything good to write for the next 500. You should say "I'm going to write something each day." That way, it leaves your mind free ready to work without arbitrary goals to feel pressured into achieving. Other than that, good luck!

#6 Posted by Dexter_Morgan_ (313 posts) -

I have always wanted to write about a post-apocalyptic world after Revelations came true. I'm not very educated in religion and Christianity, but Revelations has always interested me.

#7 Posted by CyborgDuo (105 posts) -

@JustPlainLucas: Thank you. I am going to write a novel. I tend to put goals on projects, even though they might be arbitrary and limiting. Goals help me from getting distracted from the task at hand. I'll try to avoid being constrained by my benchmarks.

#8 Edited by NTM (7546 posts) -

Good idea I guess. And I'm glad you said sci-fi, make it a cross-over of Dead Space and Alien/Aliens/Prometheus. Isaac Clarke goes searching for the Marker's only to find that it was the Engineers who made them. Alright, just kidding, but seriously, if that was done right, I'd read it. It's better than Alien vs Predator. I usually hate cross-overs, but that'd interest me.

#9 Posted by fox01313 (5089 posts) -

Another thing is to look to the professional organizations out there like the Horror Writers Association (or there's probably similar ones for other genres of fiction) that tend to have a lot of interesting articles on developing characters, atmosphere, ect. that most aspiring writers might find of some use. A friend of mine recently published an e-book through amazon that seemed to go well enough to get something out there without having to worry about dealing with a lot of editors/publishers.

#10 Posted by BadOrcLDR (178 posts) -

The word count is meaningless, it's what the words are saying that truly matters. By enforcing a three thousand word a day routine you threaten to strangle whatever inspiration you draw from and replace it with monotony.

Instead, make certain each day you work on the novel in some fashion. This could include writing back story that wont even be used in the novel, spitting out a few dozen words for a chapter, or just sitting around for an hour at lunch and thinking about the story and what you plan to write and how you shall write it. Remember, always, that your job is to tell a story.

Now, in regards to getting published, you've already stated you don't care about whether or not this novel makes money. Well, if you truly mean that and this novel is a work you want for personal reasons, then self publish. There is a growing number of authors who are favoring this form of publishing, especially with the Kindle and Amazon's self publishing service.

Most importantly, remember that I, as a great fan of good literature, want a good story. I don't care about word count, who published it, or why you decided to publish it. I want a good story that I will remember.

So go on, write one.

And no, this is not illogical. You want to write something, so you go and write something - I do believe that is quite logical.

#11 Edited by mosespippy (4462 posts) -

I'm going to echo what JustPlainLucas said. Change your mentality from "I want to" to "I am going to."

Don't worry about publishers. Last year 15 of USA Todays top 150 Best Sellers list were self published ebooks. If publishers don't want your work then you don't need them.

Edit: I was incorrect. There were 15 self published authors with books in the top 150. Some of them had more than one book on the list.

#12 Posted by Encephalon (1335 posts) -

Go for it, duder. Succeed or fail, you'll probably learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. My only advice is don't set a concrete word limit for the day. Just concentrate on getting something onto paper. Godspeed.

#13 Posted by Klei (1768 posts) -

I'm a published writer myself ( alas, in French. Here's my page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pierre-Olivier-Lavoie/135962813101280) and all I can tell you is, go for it. You can't and won't write a perfect novel right off the bat. Your initial writing will probably be pretty bad, but keep going. Chances are, by the end of your novel, you'll write it all over again in a better way. I'm now working on my sixth novel, and all I can say is that i'm ashamed of my first book. I think that its writing is terrible, yet a lot of people love it. Bottom line ; we're our worst critic. Anyways, back on the subject; want a hint? Be clear. Never try to do something over-complicated if you can't describe it just as it is. Try to describe the pictures you see in your head instead.

So yeah, try it out. By the way, i'm 25 and I wrote my first book at 21. Now I can live of my writing. It's fucking hard work, it's fucking long ( nearly 7 to 10 months, 1-5 hours of work per day ), but totally worth it.

#14 Posted by CaptainCody (1521 posts) -

Go for it, never too young to become an author. To add to what the others are saying: how badass would it be to say you wrote a book at your age?

#15 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@CyborgDuo said:

I'm 15, so writing a novel is probably not the most logical idea I've ever had. The project would probably be brushed away by most publishers due to its lack of reputability. I'm not aiming to make tons of money or even get published. I want to write it just for me. 3,000+ words a day, over the summer. Not at all an unreasonable amount, at least for me. I'm till nailing down the specifics of the story, but I do want to have it be sci-fi while remaining grounded to what I know as a teenager in an average american high school.

What do you guys think? Good or terrible idea? Furthermore, have any of you had ideas for novels, or screenplays for that matter, that you've always wanted to write?

Your expectations seem reasonable, so I think its a great Idea. I was writing a story kinda like the movie The Kingdom and District 9 rolled up into one. But just last Thursday my computer broke, so that needs to go into repair.

#16 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6311 posts) -

Get in line.

#17 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

No such thing as too young; I was writing plays and shorts when I was your age, and I go back and read some of them occasionally and the ideas were good, even if the prose was lacking.

My only suggestion is that if this idea is your dream idea that you've always fantasised about writing and not just a really good idea, then make it your second novel; your first attempt will involve so much work on the technical aspects of writing that you may well end up hating it by the end of the process, regardless of quality.

I agree with the calls to self-publish as well, although I would try shop it around as well. Quite a few publishers would jump at the chance to showcase the well-written first novel of a teenage dynamo.

#18 Posted by tariqari (431 posts) -

You should start with something smaller unless you're just doing this for fun. You could actually gain reputation by submitting manuscripts to various lit-journals around the world. Not a bad way to craft a hobby into something with a possible reward. Sometimes journals will give cash rewards for the best submissions. Definitely worth a try!

#19 Edited by DeeGee (2143 posts) -

I'm at university at the moment with the sole purpose of making writing my career, so I'll go ahead and throw some thoughts in here.

Don't let the fact you're 15 stop you from writing anything. There is no magical age where people come into writing talent, you need to practise. That means you're going to have to write, and if you have these grand plans for a novel, I'm going to guess that you like to write, so it shouldn't be a problem. Of course, a novel is a big place to start, but a bunch of people your age have written novels before. Do they get published? Rarely. Usually they end up in a desk somewhere, and people come back years later with more experiance and realise that what they wrote needs to be drastically changed. That's no reason not to write it, it's good experiance.

If getting published is something you really have your heart set out on, I'd look for some good literary magazines in your area. Many of them will have competitions. They are usually looking for short stories, which is by far the best starting place for an amatuer writer. Getting your work in a magazine is something that can go in a portfolio, and the better your porfolio, the more credible you look as a writer.

Listen to what people have already said and ignore the word count. It's meaningless and serves only to preasure you into writing mediocre material purely for the sake of reaching your set amount of words for that day.

Just don't worry about anything. It's great to see a young writer, and I hope you do write something. As long as you stick to it, you'll find it to be one of the most rewarding things you've ever done.

Oh, and never self publish. I can't stress that enough.

#20 Posted by CyborgDuo (105 posts) -

@DeeGee: This may be obvious to those in the industry, and if so I apologize, but can you explain why I might want to steer clear of things like Amazon's self publishing e-book program?

#21 Posted by D_W (1197 posts) -

If you want to do something, then do it and don't ever stop. That's the only way you'll get anywhere in any field.

#22 Edited by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@Klei said:

I'm a published writer myself ( alas, in French. Here's my page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pierre-Olivier-Lavoie/135962813101280) and all I can tell you is, go for it. You can't and won't write a perfect novel right off the bat. Your initial writing will probably be pretty bad, but keep going. Chances are, by the end of your novel, you'll write it all over again in a better way. I'm now working on my sixth novel, and all I can say is that i'm ashamed of my first book. I think that its writing is terrible, yet a lot of people love it. Bottom line ; we're our worst critic. Anyways, back on the subject; want a hint? Be clear. Never try to do something over-complicated if you can't describe it just as it is. Try to describe the pictures you see in your head instead.

So yeah, try it out. By the way, i'm 25 and I wrote my first book at 21. Now I can live of my writing. It's fucking hard work, it's fucking long ( nearly 7 to 10 months, 1-5 hours of work per day ), but totally worth it.

My way of writing is... literally. To try and write the WORST possible thing before writing a new idea for a book... basically, write a shitton of horrid fanfiction and then review it yourself! It can teach you exactly what is wrong very easily and get all the bad ideas out of your head at the same time...

No... I will not post the one fanfiction I did make... it would be unreadable here, I promise everyone that.

#23 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@D_W said:

If you want to do something, then do it and don't ever stop. That's the only way you'll get anywhere in any field.

Exactly, just keep doing it to the point where you have nightmares about you typing so much and then... suddenly, all your work is deleted!!! Trust me, those dreams will happen.

#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Jay444111 said:

My way of writing is... literally. To try and write the WORST possible thing before writing a new idea for a book

That explains your blogs :P.

#25 Posted by DeeGee (2143 posts) -

@CyborgDuo: It's a very good question actually =)

I'll admit that there are people who self publish and make a sucess of it, but it's certainly the minority of people who can do that. I know it might sound like a good idea to put it out there, I mean, who can it hurt? The answer to that is you. If you don't do it right, self publishing can seriously hurt your career.

Something I was shocked about when I first starting talking to publishers and authors was just how much marketing went into a book. It's pretty crucial to make it a big success. I admit that I deal with only one publishing house, so it may be different elsewhere, but there's an entire campaign designed around most books. Specifically, doing a circuit of book readings, events that generally involve various press and people of influence with suppliers. The general public will be there too, although I find that few people care enough about an unpublished book to go.

I mean, it's an up hill struggle in the first place. You've had no copy editor go over your work to correct any errors you might make, whether that be typographical (such as spelling errors) or continuity errors (why did his eye colour change on page four?) and this is something that is very important. If you publish a manuscript that has a lot of errors in it, it's not going to be received very well.

That's the real danger of self publishing. You can, sometimes irreparably, damage your career as a writer. Let's say you think your manuscript is pretty good, you put it out as an e-book on Amazon and the bad reviews just flow in. A whole mess of one stars and two stars and negative comments. You're now the guy with the one star book. That ... doesn't help when you decide to put out book two.

I'm not saying you're going to put out a terrible book, aha, just warning you about the dangers of self publishing. It's a risk, sometimes it pays off, often it doesn't. If it's an avenue you want to go down, then it's entirely up to you.

#26 Posted by OhdK2 (48 posts) -

@CyborgDuo: good luck. i have to say you're awfully cogent and articulate for a 15 year old. it isn't easy but i'm sure you have it in you. keep us posted

#27 Edited by Vonocourt (2167 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Jay444111 said:

My way of writing is... literally. To try and write the WORST possible thing before writing a new idea for a book

That explains your blogs :P.

+1, moonman.

#28 Edited by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Jay444111 said:

My way of writing is... literally. To try and write the WORST possible thing before writing a new idea for a book

That explains your blogs :P.

Hey, I have been trying on my newer ones!

#29 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1900 posts) -

I'd recommend just trying to get your ideas onto the page, and not going back and editing them right away. In fact, it's sometimes best to give yourself a day or more, then come back and read what you wrote. You may surprise yourself by how good it is, but in the moment, you are subject to a lot of second guessing. The second I stop and go back to edit a line is usually when all my writing for the day completely stops.

#30 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:

@Jay444111 said:

My way of writing is... literally. To try and write the WORST possible thing before writing a new idea for a book

That explains your blogs :P.

You're mean, dude.
#31 Posted by SmilingPig (1341 posts) -

@CyborgDuo: Go for it, I tried around your age and failed but I still think that it was a good experience.

#32 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
#33 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@CyborgDuo: If you dont mind me asking, what is the plot?

#34 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

You're mean, dude.

You expected anything less?

Well, you call Earthlings "assholes". I didn't expected you to be an asshole.
#35 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

I don't know why it would be a bad idea. It gives you something to do over summer break and you may become a better writer because of it.

#36 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@MikeGosot:

What? A Lunarian's not allowed to have fun? I thought my blog disproved such a silly notion.

#37 Posted by medacris (674 posts) -

Writing (and drawing, and any other type of art) is never a bad idea, even if it's only for fun. I think the #1 rule you have to follow is to write whatever comes to mind, even if it seems stupid at the time. I used to convince myself all of my ideas were too weird or stupid, and I ended up with nothing accomplished and with destroying a lot of my enjoyment in my art. Never let insecurity get to you.

#38 Posted by ColinWright (741 posts) -

Just do it.

#39 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@DeeGee

@CyborgDuo: It's a very good question actually =)

I'll admit that there are people who self publish and make a sucess of it, but it's certainly the minority of people who can do that. I know it might sound like a good idea to put it out there, I mean, who can it hurt? The answer to that is you. If you don't do it right, self publishing can seriously hurt your career.

Something I was shocked about when I first starting talking to publishers and authors was just how much marketing went into a book. It's pretty crucial to make it a big success. I admit that I deal with only one publishing house, so it may be different elsewhere, but there's an entire campaign designed around most books. Specifically, doing a circuit of book readings, events that generally involve various press and people of influence with suppliers. The general public will be there too, although I find that few people care enough about an unpublished book to go.

I mean, it's an up hill struggle in the first place. You've had no copy editor go over your work to correct any errors you might make, whether that be typographical (such as spelling errors) or continuity errors (why did his eye colour change on page four?) and this is something that is very important. If you publish a manuscript that has a lot of errors in it, it's not going to be received very well.

That's the real danger of self publishing. You can, sometimes irreparably, damage your career as a writer. Let's say you think your manuscript is pretty good, you put it out as an e-book on Amazon and the bad reviews just flow in. A whole mess of one stars and two stars and negative comments. You're now the guy with the one star book. That ... doesn't help when you decide to put out book two.

I'm not saying you're going to put out a terrible book, aha, just warning you about the dangers of self publishing. It's a risk, sometimes it pays off, often it doesn't. If it's an avenue you want to go down, then it's entirely up to you.

That's why pseudonyms exist.

I write my different genres under different pseudonyms, and if I ever self-publish, I'll probably do a different name again.

Until you're famous, pseudonyms don't hurt you at all. Also, self-publishing is growing ever more acceptable, even though publishers themselves would like authors to believe otherwise...
#40 Posted by HistoryInRust (6407 posts) -

Yeah, dude!

Just write to your heart's content. Seriously. The earlier you habitualize the idea that writing is a freeing, limitless venture, the richer your love for the act of writing will be. People worry too much about subjective things like "good" and "bad," but really, you just need to write. Because we all start at some point.

#41 Posted by Harkat (1119 posts) -

Go with it man. Publish it for free on the web, pimp it around, publishers will take notice if you get an audience.

#42 Posted by Chop (1998 posts) -

Ummm, at this point, It'd probably do you good to just ignore the whole publishing and business aspects of the whole thing. Just fucking write and write until the words you put down don't make you sick and embarrassed.

#43 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:

Go for it. I think most people have had ideas for stories that they've wanted to write at some point, but only a few of them have the will to go through with it.

Seriously /thread.
#44 Posted by TerryTrowbridge (20 posts) -

It certainly is a challenge. Make sure that you stay dedicated and pace yourself. Keep us updated and remember you can always publish online for free: )

#45 Posted by GnomeonFire (785 posts) -

Quantity my man. If you want to become something, anything for that matter, do a lot of it. 10,000 hour samurai code, get on it.

#46 Posted by MightyDuck (1524 posts) -

I say go for it! You don't know how it will go until you at least try. Best of luck to you!

As a kid, I used to love writing. I even had a little notebook I'd carry around and work on short stories. I wish I could get back into that now as an adult. It really is an enjoyable practice.