Sunday, December 16, 2007

Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen

An E-Zine for Teens who Write, and Those who Support Them
Edited by Gabrielle Linnell


How to Use those Holiday Hours

by Gabrielle Linnell

For me, Christmas break is already here (YES!) and for many of us school-bound WriTeens, the evil of daily education will cease shortly, for a short period of time. What are you going to do with your free days? Lounge around watching A Christmas Story three times? No, you are going to read and write your little merry heart out. Here are some excellent ideas.

Make a daily goal. This is a fantastic time to force yourself to finish THAT BIG PROJECT. If you're only 25 pages into your 365-page fantasy epic, then perhaps don't finish it. But maybe you set a goal that by the time you return to school, you will have written 125 pages, or 10 pages a day, etc. Finishing smaller, short-term projects is also a great idea. I'm dedicating three hours a day until I leave on vacation, and after that probably more like 1.5 hours.

Read, read, read. This is a great time to max out your library card and discover authors you haven't read before. I would recommend finding one or two classic authors (brush up on Jane Austen and Shakespeare!), some books by authors you know, and at least one YA book by an unknown author.

Punish yourself if you don't meet your goal. Whether you ask a friend to make you accountable, or tell yourself you won't be able to spend any gift cards unless you finish a first draft, FORCE YOURSELF TO DO IT. If you do, you will look back at a fun, relaxing holiday that also helped you in your writing career.

Reward yourself for finishing! Need I say more?

Use your gift cards or holiday-earned cash. The best uses of your money will be for writing magazines (email me for suggestions), two or three notebooks, some pens, and books. Buy lots of books. Authors and your imagination will thank you.

Make this a holiday to remember: by watching A Christmas Story AND finishing your project.*


Interview with Laura Preble, author of The Queen Geek Social Club, Lica's Angel and most recently Queen Geeks in Love

Laura Preble, who does not own a robot of her own, grew up in Lima,Ohio and attended the Ohio State University, the only college with a poisonous nut as a mascot. She is the author of Queen Geek Social Club, Queen Geeks in Love, Lica's Angel (self-published), and Prom Queen Geeks, to be released in 2008. She was the winner of a Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize in 2005, and is also an award-winning journalist and teacher.

INN: Can you tell us about Queen Geeks in Love?

LP: It's basically the continuation of QUEEN GEEK SOCIAL CLUB, but with a fewmore layers and complications. In this book, the girls have to learn to balance their friendships with increasingly serious interactions with guys, something that I think is a real challenge to girls in high school. Plus, there is a Halloween party, a festival of geekiness, and karaoke.

INN: What's been the most surprising thing about the Queen Geek adventure?

LP: Well, to me, the most surprising thing was that I finally got to see a book with my name on it in the bookstore. I've been trying to do that since I was 16. As far as the characters go, the most surprising thing to me was how they sort of take over their own stories and even if I have a plan, they sometimes change it.

INN: How and where do you like to write?

LP: I'd love to write in Hawaii, in a romantic beachside apartment, but I don't. I write in my office, which used to be my son's nursery, and which is also our family's storage closet. We are remodeling, though, and I'm getting an office on the second floor, where I can barricade myself in with stacks of comic books.

INN: Do you like bad sci-fi as much as Shelby and Becca do, and if so, what's your favorite sci-fi movie?

LP: I love bad sci fi. I grew up on it. My dad and I used to watch old Star Trek reruns, and he took me to all the PLANET OF THE APES movies when I was a kid. My favorite bad sci fi movies are the same ones the Queen Geeks like, actually; Plan 9 from Outer Space for sheer badness, The Day the Earth Stood Still for a really good movie, and the Gila Monster for the worst special effects and misuse of an unwilling amphibian. I am also a huge fan of the old Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and some of the best bad sci fi was aired on that show.

INN: What's your favorite book (published in the last five years)?

LP: I love Christopher Moore's LAMB and also his A DIRTY JOB. He is a hilarious writer (although not young adult), and is both irreverent and spiritual. Iam also a huge fan of Jim Butchers' THE DRESDEN FILES.

INN: Any advice for teen writers?

LP: KEEP WRITING. I wrote for years and years and had stacks of rejection letters before I got a contract. I think you have to write because you need to or want to, not because you're looking to get published. That's definitely a nice bonus, of course, but I wrote even when I didn't think anyone would see it except my friends. The other thing is to read other writers you admire and try to see why they're good, and also to write things that you'd like to read.

Thank you, Laura!

You can buy Queen Geeks in Love on by clicking . This makes a great present for a lovable geek in your life! And don't forget to visit Laura at *

NEXT TIME: On January 6th, we'll talk fashion AND publishing with Melissa Walker, debut author of Violet on the Runway.

innovative housekeeping

As always, if you have a question or comment, feel free to email me at We're still looking for a male interviewer/reviewer.
Our next issue will be on January 6th, although If You Want to Write... will continue to be posted.
Thanks to Laura Preble for being a wonderful interviewee!
Logo designed by Katie Beth Groover.

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