Monday, November 27, 2017

One Young Writer

My niece will be 14 next month.  She lives and breathes ballet, and I'm thrilled that she is now studying at the School of Nashville Ballet.  She's also a gifted baker, a dependable childcare giver, a decent photographer (photo cred for the pointe shoe shot) and a lovely young woman.

And she writes.

Writing is one of her more recent pursuits, but like everything in her life, she isn't going at it halfway.  I knew she'd begun writing, but even her mom wasn't allowed to see anything she'd written.  When my grown daughters both shared with me that their cousin had let them read some of her stuff, I was determined to dig my little claws loving fingers in.

Fortunately, she bent, and shared with me the first chapter of her WIP.  To say that I felt honored is an understatement; garnering the trust of a 13-year-old is no small thing.  We all feel a bit "undressed" the first time someone reads our work, yes?  And these emotions are especially heightened in the young teen years.

You can tell my niece has what it takes.  And you can tell that she has read a lot of books.  Truth:  reading lots of books really does affect the depth and quality of your writing.  If you aspire to be an author but you never take the time to read novels, then you will never truly become the writer you want to be.  So, yes, my niece's reading habits are reflected nicely in her writing.

Her setting is historical--the "prairie" years of the United States--and she already has a great sense of how to create tension.  Is she ready to query agents?  Of course not.  Her work is raw, young, undeveloped. But SHE IS WRITING.  Her characters have emotion and believability.  She instinctually knew that she needed to create an inciting event that would propel her protagonist into the story arc.  With an instinct like that, this girl will go places.

Here's what struck me most of all:


What 13-year-old does this?  As soon as I saw this photo on her Instagram, I knew I wanted to write a blog post about my niece.  When I was 13, I had lots of story ideas that I started to write, but never finished.  I didn't even know what it meant to "plot a story".  Thanks to the Internet and the wealth of resources out there for writers, my niece is already way ahead of the game.

This is very much her personality as well, so I'm not completely surprised to find that she works out her stories so meticulously.  But still.  SHE'S 13.

I don't know.  Maybe I was just a slacker, but I find this attention to detail extraordinary at this age.

(Yeah, I'm doting a bit.  But I never gush about things that don't truly inspire me, so it's not blind dotage, I assure you!)

She's even got the find-a-pleasant-spot-to-write thing down.  This is a "work station" on the back deck of her home.  I'm pretty sure I'll be having coffee/writing dates with this gal at some point!

I love--I absolutely love--to fan the flames of passion in young people who write (or who do anything else that I also do, like music).  If anything reaffirms my own undying devotion to the art of writing, it's finding and affirming that same flame in someone less one third my age.  I'm so delighted to see my niece wholeheartedly pursuing this!

Need a pick-me-up?  Find a young writer and pour yourself into them.  You'll both benefit!  And you may just find yourself squealing and doting over someone with a fresh mind and an eager pen who wants, perhaps, to be just a little bit like you.

You have much to give, dear writers.  Go forth and give it!


  1. Oh, I'm sooo happy she shared her story w/you who better to go to than her loving author aunt!!!

  2. I love this! I'm so glad she shared with you. I think my daughter has what it takes too - she's very well read and already, at 15, has great voice... better than me, I think. But she's a fiercely independent girl and doesn't always appreciate my input. I'd love to nudge her into writing more, but I'm not sure how to do it. If you have any suggestions...

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