View Full Version : Honest opinions requested

04-21-2009, 01:50 AM
Hello everyone,
My name is Julie and I found this forum looking for sites to help my daughter who is determined to write a book:). She is almost 13 and extremely creative so I want to encourage her as much as possible. I know that becoming an author is a difficult path and there would be many possibilities of rejection. I think she is tough enough for that if she ever does complete something lol. I hope you will forgive me if I ramble on a little to get to my question.

I found this forum and started browsing different posts. I found the one about the copyright infringement on Stephenie Meyers work and must admit that I became addicted and read almost all of the posts lol. This discussion has led me to question whether I should be encouraging her to try to enter this industry though. While many of the posts were funny and informative, some were a bit unkind to the author in my opinion. I can understand liking or disliking certain works. You cannot please everyone;). Personally, I like to read everything my daughter reads to make sure I know what she is reading and so I can talk to her about the books, rather than just smile and nod. So, as she read the Twilight Saga, I did as well and actually ended up enjoying it. I have met several other mothers who have said the same, but there are many I am sure who did not enjoy it and that is fine. We've also enjoyed others such as the Harry Potter series together.I do have my own tastes in books, but I like that this can help us stay close. Ok, so to the point, sorry for giving too much information, I just wanted to set up my question:)

While I am not an author, the only things I've written are professional documentation and training documents, I was surprised at how fellow professionals were talking about another author's work. I know that it is a creative environment but I assumed authors would be encouraging to each others since they understood how difficult it is to write a book, have it published and get others to read it. So, my question is this (finally I know!) As writers, would you encourage your child/children to strive to become a writer if they were interested? Is the environment more positive than I am seeing or is this the norm? Thanks for tolerating my long post and for any advice you can give me.

04-21-2009, 02:02 AM
Authors, like anyone, are real people, which means sometimes they fall into unfortunate unkindness. I think, though, if you look over a majority of the sub-forums here, you'll find that there is far more kindness in this group than not, and what unkindness there is tends usually toward a head-banging frustration. Heh.

As for your daughter, I think you should encourage her to write if it is something she is interested in, and this is definitely one of the best forums for answering her questions on the realities of writing as a potential career (and the pitfalls and scams to watch out for!) and for fun. We even have a lot of young writers floating around who she can connect to for some peer understanding and encouragement. In fact, I am betting quite a few will pop into this thread.



Mr Flibble
04-21-2009, 02:04 AM
Hello and welcome!

As writers, would you encourage your child/children to strive to become a writer if they were interested?

Yes, absolutely, if they wanted to do it. But there woudl be a warning, as follows the third part of your question.

Is the environment more positive than I am seeing or is this the norm?

Yes, it is. Most of the comments in that thread IIRC were about the sillyness of writing about something under copyright and making out it was ok. It isn't. As for the Meyer debate...well as writers maybe we can be a little more picky about what we like. But plenty of writers like the Twilight series, as evidenced on several threads hereabouts. It's all personal opinion, which brings me to the last

She has other interests for a future as well and I don't want to discourage her in any way, but as a mother, I want to protect her from undue heartache if I can.

Of course you do. But, and it's a huge, HUGE but, no one will ever become a writer without some heartache along the way. Every published writer has rejections. Every published writer has someone who hates, loathes and despises their work. To be a writer takes not just ability but perseverence and sheer doggedness to get published. It can be very hard if you don't have a tough skin. Because while you may have a great story - you may still get rejected and it burns.

I'd say encourage your daughter to write. For herself, but also maybe for the school magazine etc. Do not encourage her to sub to agentt until she s ready, until her work is not just good for her age, but good, and when she can deal with the inevitable 'No' without thinking that the agent is rejecting her rather than just the MS. And tbh, we all have our moments with that little tear inducer no mater how old we are.

Good luck to your daughter.

04-21-2009, 02:25 AM
I think your daughter is lucky to have you.

I also believe any profession can have people that are nice and people that are not nice. Aside from the harsh comments you can find here, I read the comments that Stephen King made about Meyer, and found it unprofessional on his part to speak in those terms about a colleague.

All that set aside, if your daughter has the gift and inclination to write, then please don't let ignorance and rudeness of others stop her. She should look for community of writers, and this place is wonderful. She should come here with an open mind and be open to critique and information posted here. I've been here only a week, and I already feel the value that such community provides to a beginner writer. It won't hurt to build up a thick skin in this business anyway. I posted a section of my writing here, and the feedback is honest and helpful, even it's not "wow, what a great writer you are!"

This is a good place. This is a helpful place.

Shadow Paetz
04-21-2009, 02:31 AM
Hello and welcome. :D I had to answer this, because I had a mother who was not very encouraging. She continually said I couldn't handle the rejection that a writer always receives. I believed her. I gave up on writing before I began, and didn't pick it up again in any serious manner until after I'd had children, myself.

My mother was wrong. If I'd have kept with it, who knows how far along I could be in a writing career at this point? Ten years of being miserable and not understanding why could have been a learning time. Instead, I worked doing telemarketing for crying out loud. Talk about handling rejection. I did customer service for a large company. I wrote short stories just to amuse my kids. I wrote novels just to keep myself sane, but I never tried to learn how to write well enough to publish.

However, when I joined my first internet writing group about six or seven years ago, they were the nicest people I'd ever met in my entire life and I got encouragement, and gentle criticism. Yes, writers, just like any group of human beings, have those who are opinionated and vocal about it. Just like any group, they also have gentle and kind people, too.

Especially if your daughter is young, I know I'd be more likely to do my best to be encouraging as well as informative. If she's interested, then don't discourage her just because you think you're protecting her. You aren't, in the long run. Be there for her if she feels badly over a critique or comment. Help her through it. Don't just stop her from doing it, altogether. It's a good way to help her step into the real world, which can be far more heart-breaking than anything she'll hear on this site. That's my honest opinion.

Brindle Chase
04-21-2009, 02:39 AM
As writers, would you encourage your child/children to strive to become a writer if they were interested?

Absolutely yes. As a parent... I believe in two very key idealogies. 1.) That with hard work, anything is possible... and 2.)wear a helmet, because life is hard

I am currently sketching the rough draft for a book with my oldest daughter, who is 9... I encourage her to write and help her with it... but I have also given her the brutal honest truth, which is that its damned hard to get published. She doesnt expect it, but is striving for it and I couldnt be more proud!

So... yes... encourage her... but dont blind her to the realities she will face.... revision revision revision... rejection rejection rejection ... resubmit resubmit resubmit... repeat as necessary. =)

04-21-2009, 03:00 AM
As the others said, the Meyers copyright thread is the exception rather than the rule. When my fifteen-year-old wanted feedback on his poetry, I recommended AW. He's received very kind, but also honest, feedback from everyone.

04-21-2009, 03:13 AM
Thank you very much for the honest and straight forward answers:) I must admit that my first impression seems to be very much incorrect! I definitely did not plan to discourage her, although I see that I gave that impression as I did not state it correctly. I will encourage her to come to this site and utilize its resources. I can correct grammar and some flow issues, but having experts to look up to will be the best thing. Thanks again, I really do appreciate the information!

04-21-2009, 03:20 AM
As writers, would you encourage your child/children to strive to become a writer if they were interested? Is the environment more positive than I am seeing or is this the norm? She has other interests for a future as well and I don't want to discourage her in any way, but as a mother, I want to protect her from undue heartache if I can. Thanks for tolerating my long post and for any advice you can give me.

Welcome, Jewwelee!

As a longtime youth soccer and ski racing coach, I thought I'd throw my two cents in.

None of my kids play soccer or ski race year round, and with the specialization necessary to make the US Ski Team or US National Soccer Team, the possibilities of how far each sport takes them is limited.

But that does not prohibit them from loving the game. With proper perspective, it is a terrible thing not to encourage our kids to embrace the activities they find interesting. Fear of failure is a moot issue when children are exposed to the journey of writing and/or playing center halfback.

It is 100% about the journey.

Jewwelee, your child will never fail if you work with her to develop attainable goals. She will be a better reader and a better learner and a better teacher, if you help her down a realistic path to becoming an author. At her age, the only downside is if you cut out a NY Times Best Seller List and post it over her bed and tell her she will be on it in 2013. Believe me, I have parents post things like that over their kid's beds all the time.

Good luck. And by the very act of you signing up for a message board and asking, clearly shows your kid is already in great hands. Just keep up the good work.


The Lonely One
04-21-2009, 03:22 AM
Hi, Jewwelee. We're a nice bunch, I like to think.

Sometimes we talk like adults and you should make sure you expose your daughter to threads with subject matter and language which you feel appropriate. Most of us are courteous enough to give a heads up when we're about to, er, be adults I guess you could say. Especially in SYW just look in the titles for disclaimers of adult content, language, etc.

And, welcome.

Millicent M'Lady
04-21-2009, 03:25 AM
I must say, as a user who is only using this forum for a short time, I am in awe of the respect this forum demands of its users.

I have been sadly turned off other sites I have been interested in (such as one heavy metal/alternative music website) as flame wars were the order of the day and no one could express an opinion without it being shot down by any sarcastic egomaniac with a broadband connection. The mods never seemed to step in and users were regularly bullied without reprimand.

This is the first forum I have joined since (in about four years) and the differece is amazing. While the mods do not outright censor bad language, the rules of the forum remind all that younger writers might be reading these posts and that some sensitivity is required when using swear words. Any work that is posted to be reviewed is treated how the OP asks- for example I asked people to be gentle but constructive with my piece and nobody has ripped it to shreds, nor would I expect anyone to.

The frustration in the Meyers fanfic thread comes from the exasperation of hard-working writers who cannot understand anybody's work being plagiarised in any way. A disparaging thread such as that one is very much outside the norm IMO.

So by all means, encourage your daughter to come here and write. Encourage her to pursue other interests as well so when the time comes for her to decide what she wants to do she can make a well-informed choice. Hope this helps and welcome to AW!

P.s. Congratulations on being so supportive- it must mean the world to your daughter.:)

04-21-2009, 03:29 AM
Yes, welcome to AW. I'm going to approach your question from a slightly different direction by telling you about my daughter. I love to write - she didn't. She became deeply involved in a very narrow, specialized area of science. Curiosity and research were wonderful, but to be able to tell people what she was finding out, she had to be able to communicate it - both verbally and in writing. I didn't know anything about the field of science, but I stuck with her and read the same books she read and proofread her reports and was able to ask intelligent questions and make suggestions. She received a lot of recognition for her research. Now, ten years later, she's started writing children's stories - and she's good both with ideas and grammatically.

What I'm saying is - if she's interested in becoming a writer, encourage her, but be willing to do research into her topic/story, and proofreading, and checking out the market with her. If she's interested in joining AW, plan on spending time here too. You're making an investment in her future - it may pan out and it may not, or, it may blossom much later. Good luck. Puma

PS - Be sure your daughter completely fills out her user profile to include her age - people are a lot more considerate when they know the person in the post above (maybe asking an obvious question) is a youngster. That's also true if she posts in share your work - critiquers will be more understanding if they know the poster is young.

Clair Dickson
04-21-2009, 03:40 AM
Hi Jewwelee--
I think this is a great forum. The think about writers is that they think everyone wants to hear what they have to say, whether it's a novel or an opinion. For better or for worse. =) I *really* don't believe that I have to like everything that everyone writes just because I am a writer-- similarly, I don't believe I have to like everything all women do just because I am a woman. I can support their choice to do so, but I don't have to agree. If we were all forced to support writers just because we have writing in common-- how could we be honest to ourselves and to other writers. Though, my opinion of support is more akin to-- I'm happy [insert author I don't care to read] is published, popular, etc, but I still don't like [book said author has written.] This is honest and fair to both of us.

I think that this could be a great place for a young writer to grow. There's a lot of information to read, and a lot of support. Go look at the threads in Announcements and see all the cheering and celebrating for all authors who have reached some level of personally-defined success.

As for your desire to protect your daughter from "undue heartache" I question what really is undue heartache. I would have given anything for someone to harshly critique my writing when I was thirteen-- I can only imagine how much quicker I would have progressed if I had not been spared this "undue heartache." I don't think that protecting kids from disappointment is necessary-- what I do think is important is teaching them how to work with that disappointment and how to evaluate whether to continue or change courses. It's not the disappointments that matter-- but how we deal with them. Whether we are thirteen or thirty-three. (While thirteen is a bit younger than the age of the kids I work with, I still maintain my position.)

If you continue to explore the forums, you'll find lots of information regarding writing and a generally supportive community. People disagree in life and on forums. The disagreements here are generally very civil. In life, not so much. While your daughter has time to get used to ugly disagreements, because you are a strong guiding force in her life, you will be a great instrument in teaching her HOW to deal with them. How to walk away, how to not let them ruffle and re-ruffle her feathers, and other useful skills. Because this is a civil forum, this may be a good place to teach her about differing viewpoints, as well as how our words can affect how we are perceived, expected behavior, and other things.

Even if your daughter does nothing more than read the writing-related threads, she will learn so very much about writing as both a creative and a professional endeavor. This is by far one of the most useful writing resources I have every come across. (It's also a great for a surrogate social life. ;-)

It's great that you're willing to support your daughter in writing-- or whatever else. I hope you explore the forum further and see what else we have to offer. Even if we disagree with each other or happen to voice our opinions, we're still a pretty supportive group.

04-21-2009, 04:02 AM
I was surprised at how fellow professionals were talking about another author's work.

The problem with this industry is that aqn author's writing has to be of high standard and some knowledge is needed of the strange demands of publishers and agents. Anyone writing for pleasure and wanting to improve their writing will gain huge assistance from AW. But if the writer wants to get published they have to wake up very quickly to any flaw in their writing. To be told straight out with no softening of the punch is, actually, the kind way to do it.

I'd suggest your daughter read a lot of the posts here. Let her see what other work has been submitted to SYW (Share Your Work) so she can see where and how others are being corrected. If she is still interested she'll be able to get her own work up to a standard to submit. It will help her writing a lot. Otherwise it will cure her of the dreadful affliction all of us in AW have - the intense drive to keep on writing.

04-21-2009, 04:17 AM
Hi Jewwelee –

I wanted to comment on your post because I am something of a young writer myself (I just turned 17, so I’m not quite as young as your daughter, but it doesn’t seem like 13 was that long ago). Writing, like any other passion, can be difficult – it takes time and effort, and even after all that people won’t like everything you do. But it is also extremely rewarding. I recently found an agent for my novel, and we are working on revisions before submitting to publishers. Along the road, I encountered many rejections and disappointments, but I also found many people (especially in this forum) who went out of their way to encourage me and teach me what I needed to know about the industry. All writers face harsh critiques and differing opinions, but both make us better writers and stronger people in the long run.

There is actually a thread dedicated to young writers in the young adult forum called “Teens Writing for Teens” where we talk about our writing and other minutia of teen life (here’s the link: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=128770). I’d encourage your daughter to introduce herself there - we are all quite friendly and eager to meet new young writers!

04-21-2009, 04:34 AM
I am 13 too. ANd my parents are all for my potential writing career. It is what I do, and I love it. I am a big fan of the forum that forum Dragonkid mentioned there, it is awesome! Your daughter, and I for that, will experience a whole new world in writing. So you, and her whole family, should be dedicated to helping her succeed. And, to add on to DK's statement, she will make a lot of new friends in the TWFT (teens writing for teens) and will be supported greatly. And even if she does not choose to become a writer it would still be terrific for her maturing and growing into a young lady. I am just about to send my novel into a publisher, so just about anyone can do it. :D

Wow, that sounded cheesy, but you got my point, right?

04-21-2009, 04:36 AM
So, my question is this (finally I know!) As writers, would you encourage your child/children to strive to become a writer if they were interested?

Yes! I'm 15 years old and traveling down the road to publication right now. I'm not going to lie, it is a hard one. I just received my 10th rejection today after two weeks of querying. I know there are at least 3 13-year olds here on the forums with us that are also writers. :)

Everything in life is tough. Getting through high school, choosing a college and major, finding a job, life is tough. It's a fact of life.

I admit the rejections are a little wearing after a while. But it only takes one agent to say yes and so many wonderful authors have been rejected over 50 times before they finally became authors.

04-21-2009, 04:46 AM
Hey, Jewelee. c: I don't have much to add, but I thought that, as a fifteen-year-old with a passion for writing, I'd throw in my two cents.

Absolute Write has definitely turned me into a better writer. I used to write merely for fun, and it was decent stuff. None of it was great, though, until I joined up this place and started making use of its comprehensive resources. In a few short months AW has taught me the ins and outs of publishing, how to sit and down and finish something, how to receive critique and so many other skills I never would have gained if I hadn't joined. As everyone has said, the Meyer copyright thread was an abnormality; if it weren't for the fantastic users on this forum, I never would have gotten as far as I am now.

So, as a teen writer myself, I guarantee that your daughter will be in good hands--and she might even learn something! ;3

Also, that Teens Writing For Teens thread DK pointed out really is awesome. No joke. <3 Your daughter will find tons of support and encouragement there. what, no, that's not egotistical of me at all, i wasn't talking about myself, really

04-21-2009, 05:05 AM
Hi Julie,

your question

As writers, would you encourage your child/children to strive to become a writer if they were interested? Is the environment more positive than I am seeing or is this the norm? She has other interests for a future as well and I don't want to discourage her in any way, but as a mother, I want to protect her from undue heartache if I can.

I do not mean to come across as rude, but the bolding is the problem with mothers. It is that undue heartache that promotes character growth and increase ability in whatever we decide to do.

Kids that are sheltered are never the leaders, the doers, the inventors, the winners, etc. I know that mothers love their children, and it is in that love where we want to protect them. But at some point we need to give them leeway to fall, skin their knees, and take a few bumps and bruises.

In terms of writing, you should never let 'what others think' influence your decision. At thirteen, i'm willing to bet money that she is a horrible writer and that her stories would be riddled with mistakes. However, that is how we ALL start out. Unless she is a genuis, she will need to go through the learning curve just like we all have. She will make her mistakes, she will run up again A-hole critics that think she sucks, she will suffer disappointment of having her stories rejected. That is just the way it is.

But if she gets through all that, it is worth it. I can not tell you how wonderful it feels to have someone hand you a check for what you wrote. Similarly, when you see your story in print for the first time or walk past someone reading the magazine in which your story is featured... The feeling is undescribable.

I'm merely a short story writer and am by no means a pro, i'm working on my first book and god willing I will see it on the shelf a year or two from now.

I believe there is enormous benefit to being a writer. My reports at work are always better than everyone elses. People often ask my input. I have a knack for finding the right 'word'. So even if she doesn't become Anne Rice or Stephen King, she will still derive a lot of benefit from it. Along with those life lessons.

But the reason I started this preamble about being sheltered, etc, is because writing is not for the faint hearted. We put our hearts and souls into our works and it takes thick skin to survive the bashings our stories will inevitable take.

I'm babbling now so i'll just stop. I would encourage her and get her to this site. This site will shorten her learning curve BY YEARS if she works it daily/weekly.

Good luck with whatever you decide


04-21-2009, 05:23 AM
Hi Julie,

your question

I do not mean to come across as rude, but the bolding is the problem with mothers. It is that undue heartache that promotes character growth and increase ability in whatever we decide to do.

Kids that are sheltered are never the leaders, the doers, the inventors, the winners, etc. I know that mothers love their children, and it is in that love where we want to protect them. But at some point we need to give them leeway to fall, skin their knees, and take a few bumps and bruises.


Hi Mel,
Thank you for your input. I must apologize for coming off as too over protective. I have to admit that I did not look through as many posts on the forum as I should have before I posted. The comments that I was referring to were all mocking posts at Stephenie Meyer and I think people must just have passionate opinions about this particular author's work. Those comments skewed my impression in a way that wouldn't have occurred if I would have looked into more boards on the forum. That was my mistake:D.

I actually do agree with kids needing to make their own mistakes, experience life, etc. I think I was worried that people were extremely critical instead of constructively offering criticism which well....you know what they say about assuming lol. My father is actually a football coach, he raised 2 daughters pretty much alone so I've been told to "get up and shake it off" many, many times:). Thank you again for your perspective, I do appreciate it.

04-21-2009, 05:24 AM
I think what you're doing is very sweet and your daughter is lucky to have you.

Since you asked, I would encourage my children to follow whatever path they desire, and would just have to accept that I cannot protect them from everything.

I've been writing since I was a bit younger than your daughter, and now that I'm in my 20's I'm taking it more seriously. The road to publication IS going to be filled with rejections. There is no "she may get rejected." She will. It takes rejection to improve. I had critiques on my writing that made me cry, but I took those critiques and learned to make my writing better. I was rejected by several agents before I improved and finally wrote something that got me an agent. And even now, with a great agent who believes in my work, I get rejected from editors who are the next rung in the ladder. I have had some editor rejections that made me cry as well.

It is a long, frustrating road, and it takes resilience. But when I was your daughter's age, I didn't think about any of these things because I didn't have to! I was just a kid enjoying writing, and eventually that turned into a passion, and that passion turned into something I hope to make my profession.

My advice would be not to discourage your daughter. Whether she chooses to be a writer, a doctor, an astronaut or anything, she will face rejection and hardship in her life, which you can't protect her from. My parents have always supported whatever I wanted to do, hardships and all, and I thank them for it.

(I also agree wholeheartedly with dgharris)

M.R.J. Le Blanc
04-21-2009, 08:43 AM
:welcome: I think it's great that you're so supportive and encouraging of your daughter. I had my first youngin this year at NaNo, I love seeing kids getting into writing. He made his goal, btw.

Anyway, a lot of the advice here is pretty good and I hope you'll follow it. I don't know if anything I'm about to say has been said so if it's repeated I apologize. It's early.

Please don't protect your daughter too much. Learn about the industry, and how it works. Help her to understand how it works too, and that a rejection isn't a personal strike against her. Keep it in perspective. Lots of writers got a lot of rejections before selling their first book (I think Stephen King racked about 400 on his first work, but it's been so long I can't remember the exact number). It's a slow and hard business. But the most important thing for her to remember is to keep writing and not give up if this is something she really wants. Every story she writes (and rewrites - there'll be a lot of that too) will make her a better writer. Learning how to edit her own work objectively will make her a better writer. There are some good books out there on grammar and editing, though I can't remember their titles at the moment. Most importantly, she should always write what she loves - don't try to market too much. When you start writing according to others' expectations it stops being something you love (that's my two cents, anyway). But don't be afraid to try new genres once in awhile either :) Encourage her to find the writing method that works for her and stick with it - she shouldn't beat herself up thinking she has to have outlines and dossiers and all this background info if that doesn't work for her. To each their own. I see newbies on the NaNo boards always getting panicky because they can't write outlines or do worldbuilding. If that doesn't work for you don't do it.

Aaaaand that's all I got :)

04-21-2009, 09:12 AM
So she's 12 right? If she's a talented writer, or even interested in growing her writing talent, then of course you should encourage her. Just don't push her. There is a 99.99% chance that her experiences will change her life views between now and the time she's ready to hit the big, bad world. She may never even pursue a writing career as an adult, but she can only benefit from sharpening her writing now.

If you worry that she'll want to share her work and seek out opinions from writers on this board or others, simply encourage her to share her age when submitting work and hopefully she will be judged fairly for her age.

04-21-2009, 09:35 AM
First off, thank you for being supportive of your daughter. Being a teenager myself, I know exactly how much your support means (considering my own mother just laughed at me).

Books are a contention for people. Really, any media is going to have people who like it or don't and the Meyer is getting heavily critiqued because of her success in the industry. With that said, this website is a GREAT place for any level of writer to be. People are courteous to your questions, respectful when approaching your story/topic, and just plain nice.

The places where opinions are going to be let out about the world may be a bit more cynical or mean, but that's the world today, sadly enough. Maybe direct your daughter to the writing sections and the Teen Writing Teen Fiction. Many teenagers around your daughter's age are always on (and even a few have been/are being published).

Tell your daughter good luck and welcome for me. She has the potential to go places with your loving support and encouragement.