Friday, March 16, 2007

The New Crop of Young Writers

(Got a couple of ideas sitting near this lovely fountain at my school yesterday!)

The list of writers published recently as teens and young-twenty-somethings is growing. A few that I keep my eye on are Jen Lynn Barnes, Robyn Schneider and Bennett Madison. I know there must be more, but those writers are writers to look up to and aspire to achieve their level of success. Age doesn't seem to be a factor in this business. I've heard people say that they've heard "you're too old" or "you're too young" but I don't think that matters. If the writing is of high quality and there's a story to tell, who cares about the writer's age?

I heard that a 14 year old Australian girl got a two book deal from Harper Collins. She submitted an unsolicited manuscript that made its way out of the slush pile and into an editor's hands. Did they care that she was fourteen? I think not. If anything for young writers, editors and agents want to work with young people who could have a long, lucrative career.

I'm blogging on this because I get the occasional e-mail with "I'm fifteen. No one will publish a fifteen year old, right?" and I e-mail that person back with a resounding "age doesn't matter! Submit your work!"

The only time I've faced scrunity about my age and my options as a writer are from people in my immediate circle. Doubts swirl that since such few writers in their forties have agents, surely that means I can't have one. It's a quiet topic in my life with some because of the doubts and because those people are certain that 20 year olds won't get any R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the publishing industry.

So, young writers who read my blog, step up and prove those nay-sayers wrong!

Happy weekend! :)


Unknown said...

I get the same from my immediate circle. No: "Really? They asked you for a partial or full?" It's: "They're scamming you."

Especially in the HarperFanlit. I don't get why age has to be one of the more influencing factors. I've read stuff from fifteen-year olds that is a lot better than say, something from a forty-year old. Of course you hone your 'craft' and experience and age can help... but ultimately I think it's something you have, at any age.

This was a very interesting entry! :)

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

Thanks, E. :) We're definitely working through some of the same issues.

I also get so many questions like "what did X magazine pay you?" Would I ever ask someone what their job pays them? Nooo. I want people to realize that writing is my *job*. Not a hobby for fun, but a job.

Emily Hendricks said...

I'm a writer who just happens to be 20. I'm not a twenty year old who just happens to be a writer. That's my best response when people go "You're only twenty!"

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

That's an awesome statement, Em. I'm gonna use that one. :)

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