TEENS Publish: 8-week program for teen writers and illustrators

TEENS Publish is a free 8-week summer creative writing (and/or illustrating) program for aspiring writers and illustrators who are currently in 7th-12th grade. This program is led by author Molly Blaisdell (who also writes as Cece Barlow), with the assistance of Ringer librarian Kendra Perkins.

2020 participants: Please check the blog section further down the page for some updates that will be posted after the meetings. Click on the post titles to see more information.

The 2020 program was held on Wednesday afternoons (2:30 to 5:00 p.m.) in June and July.The 2020 program was held over Zoom, using invitations, passwords, and a waiting room to ensure that only the participants were in the Zoom meetings.

Although the 2020 program was held online, the program is limited to local teens (within the Brazos Valley), and the program size is limited to 12 to 15 participants. For 2020, we asked for a short writing sample (one paragraph to one page) rather than simply taking the first dozen applicants.

The 2020 program was limited to fiction and poetry. A lot of the work will need to be done on your own.

Teens complete one polished piece by the end of the 8-week program. Each participant chooses whether that will be a short story, the first few chapters of a novel, or poems. Upon approval of the editor, each participant will have one polished piece published in the TEENS Publish anthology (each person is limited to 3000 words or 12 pages). After first publication, all rights revert to the authors.

2020 participants have submitted their manuscripts, which are being edited and compiled into an anthology. Any 2020 participant who has not received a draft/preview of their work for proofreading should immediately contact Kendra Perkins and Molly Blaisdell. Each participant will receive a free copy of the anthology, and a copy that can be checked out will be added to the library collection at both Ringer and Mounce. There will be a virtual party in November, in which each participant will read a short sample of their work.

Anthologies from each year are available to check out from the Young Adult (teen) Fiction section of the Ringer Library (College Station) and the Mounce Library (Bryan). Searching for Teens Publish in the library catalog will pull them up, and the call numbers all start with Y-F Teens. The 2015 title is The New Generation. The 2016 title is Words Were Spilt. The 2017 title is Chaotic Creativity. The 2018 title is An Overwhelming Surplus of Skittles. The 2019 title is Not Just Ink and Paper. The 2020 title is The Isolated Generation, and the book will be available in fall 2020.

For more information, contact Kendra Perkins at kperkins@bryantx.gov or (979) 764-3416.

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See What the Teens are Publishing

Notes from July 29

Molly provided some links to teen publishing contests (pdf version, MS Word version). Each page has a list of links to teen publication, primarily contests. She also discussed a few guidelines, such as suggesting not to enter contests that have much of a fee. Everyone was reminded to turn in their final manuscript and anything…

Notes from July 22

At the July 22 meeting, teens brought their manuscripts. We asked briefly about the feedback teens received from their editors. Molly asked everyone to read the first page (first whole page, so read partway onto the next page if part one starts halfway down) and to identify the five tensest sentences from the first page and…

Notes from July 15

At the July 15 meeting, we picked the colors and title for this year’s anthology. We also talked some about formatting and gave people their editor assignments. Everyone was emailed their editor’s name and email address. Everyone should have emailed their manuscripts and cover letters to their editors that night. There are screenshots from what…

Link from July 8

At the optional July 8 meeting, Molly read samples of people’s stories and provided some feedback. She asked me to share this Clean Your Manuscript document with everyone. You can download it as a .docx or .pdf file (click the format you prefer). If you haven’t sent your short summary, type of story, and title…

Notes from July 1

At the July 1 meeting, Molly Blaisdell talked about dialogue and related grammar (how to handle punctuation and quotes); see screenshot links added at end of post. Teens also read from their stories and participated in critiques. There will be an optional meeting on July 8 (originally a date that Teens Publish was not scheduled…

Notes and Links from June 24

At the June 24, 2020, meeting, Dawn Husted talked about setting and showed a pdf. If you would like to view or download the slides (saved as a pdf), go to https://www.bcslibrary.org/setting/ and click on the file name. At this meeting, teens also helped Romy Natalia Goldberg to see if some of her texting conversation in…

Notes from June 17

At the June 17 meeting, Romy Natalia Goldberg talked about plot, and she referred people to Save the Cat Writes a Novel: The 15 Beats (click on the link to go to a pdf), from Save the Cat Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need by Jessica Brody, based on…

Notes and Links from June 10

At the June 10, 2020, meeting, we started with a lesson on characters from Romy Natalia Goldberg, broke into critique groups to discuss your first 500 words, and then had a lesson from Molly about character pitfalls and some notes about first pages. One thing that Natalia had suggested people do to see how well…

To Do Before June 10 Meeting

Thank you all for sending your bios. Before the June 10 meeting, please watch the “What makes a hero?” video by Matthew Winkler and the Teens Publish: Protagonist video by Molly Blaisdell. Molly also created a TEENS Publish prewriting video which you should have seen before the first meeting. You can find additional useful videos on…

2020 First Virtual Meeting

Thank you teens for participating in our virtual TEENS Publish program (and thanks parents for letting them). Our first meeting was on June 3, and everyone registered for the program showed up. (Yay!) At the first meeting, participants wrote a 2-sentence bio and did 5-minute free writes for their story idea, protagonist, antagonist, and setting.…