Monday, June 21, 2010

Being a kid in an adult's world...

....can be very confusing. When I attended WIFYR, I was by far the youngest in my critique group, and one of the youngest at the conference in general. I'm not saying there aren't other young aspiring authors out there, but the majority of serious writers are definitely adults. And once you get into the business of publishing....well, that's when you leave the world of kid-hood behind.

Now, I'm not a published author. I've taken some steps in the right direction, but I still have a long way to go before any one of my "books" hits the shelves. That being said, I've had some positive interactions with people in the publishing world, mainly editors and agents. It makes me wonder how other industry professionals view young writers. Do they look down on us? Do they ever take us seriously?

The whole idea of adult superiority has been a barrier that I've struggled to overcome. In my WIFYR critique group, it was hard for me to think of myself as an equal, even though we all attended the conference for the same reason. I assumed the others were looking down on me as they would a child. By the end of the week, however, I had made friends with all of these wonderful men and women, and my inferiority complex was drastically reduced. For the first time, I knew I was being taken seriously as a writer and person. I think winning the first page contest was especially gratifying for this exact reason. Although I've won contests before (Scholastic being the biggest), I had never entered one with adults. Winning has verified, in my mind at least, that my writing can stand up against adult work as well as teenage writing.

On a different note, my poor bunny has developed head tilt. He is eight and a half years old, and the sweetest little creature you ever did meet. I got him for my ninth birthday. He loves to snuggle, lick people, and fall asleep in your arms. He's gone downhill very quickly, and now he can hardly move because his balance is so skewed. He falls over and thrashes around and has to be fed through a syringe. It's heart-breaking to watch, and I'm afraid we may have to euthanize him by the end of the week.

Lastly, I leave for Kenya on Wednesday morning. I'm participating in a two week humanitarian project in the village of Kiamuri. Due to our isolated location, I won't be able to post/answer messages until after July 9th, the day we return.

That's it for today.

Love,
Kate

8 comments:

  1. I wondered if you might feel that way Kate. I have to admit, I expected your work to be um, young, I guess for lack of a better word. Don't know what I mean by that really. Except whatever I expected wasn't at all what you delivered in your first Vally chapter. It was stunning work, among the best I've read among ANY aged/published or not published writers. It was extraordinary.

    And then as the week went on you proved yourself to be a great critiquer full of awesome insight into the other writers' works.

    I think, as an adult, I'm willing to accept a younger person "in my ranks" as long as they demand my respect. You definitely did that. You weren't empty-headed or vapid, you didn't giggle and be all silly (not that there's anything wrong with that!); you were there to learn and grow as a writer--just like all of us.

    If I felt anything at all toward you and your age, it was more jealousy probably than anything else. You have it so much more together than I ever did at your age. But it's not jealousy in the "I hate you" kinda way--it's just wishing that I could have been more like you. And that's a weird feeling since I'm like more than twenty years older than you. *sigh*

    Just know you have every right to be in this "grown up world" because it's not about the age of the writer, it's about the heart and you have that and then some.

    I'm really sorry to hear about your bunny. So so sad to hear he's deteriorating so fast. ((hugs))

    And if you're not back on before you leave for Kenya ~ have an amazing, thrilling, heart-expanding time! ♥

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  2. Aw, thanks Ali! I'm really glad I didn't come across as the stereotypical annoying teenager. But you shouldn't be jealous of me...you've definitely got what it takes! I can't wait for you to publish. I will be your Number 1 Fan :).

    Also, if you're serious about exchanging manuscripts (perhaps in the fall) that would be so great...I'm sort of desperate for betas, since I know absolutely nobody who writes/reads YA fiction. I'm sure you're busy, but if we could possibly do critiques for each other I would be eternally grateful.

    Just let me know!

    <3
    Kate

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  3. Kate,
    I'm glad your inferiority complex went down. As it was wholly unneeded. The first conference can feel overwhelming. But yes, your work can stand on it's own.

    And actually, I think agents and editors would love your young age. That means you have lots of time to keep busting them out.

    I was so impressed with you. And you have a warm, gorgeous smile. Soccer chics are just cool.

    Really take advantage of those who've offered you help. They don't do that because they're nice. (Even though they are nice.) They do it because they believe your writing is worth their time.

    Lucinda Ann Felix

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  4. Aw, thanks again, Lucinda!

    Writers are so nice! You guys are all awesome :)

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  5. Well I knew you were going to be amazing the minute I looked at you. :) Honestly, I had no preconceived opinions for anyone, but I was impressed with your writing right away.

    You may be 17, but you're an OLD 17. And you've been working on your writing a lot longer than many adults trying to get published. I've also heard many agents and editors say that they don't care about age. It neither impresses them nor deters them from wanting to work with you. They just care about your writing and that you can be professional. You are professional and your writing is amazing!

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  6. I'm with Ali. I was completely awed by your writing. Not because of your age, but because your skill is amazing! Then I added in your age and was completely jealous - in a good way. I never thought of you as young, only talented.

    I'm so sad about your bunny. I have cats and sometimes I think about them dying and I cry. And they are only a few years old.

    Hope you had a ton of fun in Kenya. And I'm totally down for switching novels. Joel and Jeni were saying something about possibly getting together and doing that later this year.

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  7. Kate, I just got a chance to check out your blog and I wanted to let you know that I had NO IDEA how young you were when I first read your chapter. You have a maturity to your writing that is unusual for your age.

    No matter what, it's all about the page and what's written on it. Age/gender/etc. don't matter, it's the writing that counts. Keep it up, you're doing great.

    And I'm also a bit jealous (seems to be a common problem here), not only of your writing ability at such a young age, but all your travels as well.

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  8. Aw, thanks Sally and Sarah! Your encouragement means so much to me :)

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