Teen Summer Camp
Teens are passionate readers and passionate writers
When I was sixteen, my mother gave me a subscription to Writer's Digest for my birthday, and that was the best birthday gift anyone has ever given me, I think. I read that magazine faithfully from cover to cover for the next 16 years.
But, oh, how much I would have loved if I'd have had an opportunity to work with an industry professional. Oh, how that might have helped me learn much earlier what it takes to write commercially viable stories.
If you are teen writer, or the mother of a teen writer thinking about birthday gifts, you have come to the right place. I am a literary agent and the owner of a small press, and I have a passion for helping young writers--for getting them young and teaching them good habits while they are young, and maybe even in spending time shepherding them into a professional career.
We're keeping our prices as low as possible
Because this is my passion, I'm offering as much as I can for as little as I can. But I get that this is a big investment. I have no money for scholarships right now, but I'm praying that I'll be able to offer at least one each session in the future. For now . . . if you don't have the money for the five-day camp you might want to consider one of the three-day workshops. I offer one on plot and character and one on voice and theme. Both of these are open to teens as well as adults.
But if you want to stick with the summer camp, and you don't have a rich uncle to help you out, might I suggest a way you can earn money to pay your way to camp?
Write a support letter
Think about it: you are a writer. And part of writing is convincing others to see things your way. We all have a point of view. We all have opinions. We all have things we want to share with the world. Even fiction writers. Even they are trying to convince their readers to see the world in a new way. They try to speak truth in fresh ways so tired and jaded readers will hear.
So you might as well practice the art of persuasively giving your opinions right now. If you are serious about being a writer and about sharing your views with the world . . . I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you will have to sell your work. It's not easy. It's not pleasant. We all would rather hole up in our caves and just write lovely stories. But if you want to be successful, you will have to sell your work. First you have to sell it to an agent, then you have to sell it to an editor, after that you have to sell it to bookstores, and finally you have to sell it to readers. It's a long, long journey and all along the way, you have to hawk your wares. You might as well get used to it now.
You have to be confident. I'm not saying arrogant and unteachable. But confident. Do you believe that at this point in your life you have some talent for writing? Do you believe you have enough desire to carry you through the hard months and years of working on manuscripts that don't sell as you learn to write manuscripts that will sell? Do you believe that with some practice and instruction you might be able to write stories the world will want to read? Then write a support letter and pass it to your aunts and uncles and teachers and youth group leaders.
Education costs money. And it's worth the cost. So determine right now that you want to invest in your education, and then don't be afraid to ask for help. Remind your friends and family members that artists have always had patrons. Artists have always needed to be supported while they did their art. And the patrons have been happy to help because artists change the world. Artists touch us and move us and change us.
Phillip Pullman once said, " 'Thou shalt not,' reaches the mind, but 'Once upon a time,' reaches the heart." Stories change the world. Write a support letter and ask your friends to partner with you in changing the world. Do you know ten people who will give you 80 dollars? Twenty people who will give you 40? A hundred people who will give you eight? Give it a shot. See if you can write a compelling support letter. You are a writer, after all.