Monday, March 31, 2008

Update from the Early Morning WAPPer

That is an image of my emotional state as I face my AP Chemistry homework. My Early Morning WAP program is to blame. After not working on my novel in two weeks (one Spring Break, one ABSOLUTE WEEK OF INSANITY) I got back into it and good things happened:

a.) I still liked it!

b.) I wrote two pages!

Both very important. However, as I follow Kelly L. Stone's Time to Write, I have failed to complete the crucial piece to being a WAPPer (besides yelling WHAP! to myself when I want to fail school and move to Honolulu): forming my Writing Action Plan (AKA the WAP.) I'm not really a WAPPer without one. So this week, I will start to formulate my WAP. I need to figure out how many pages I have to write to finish a 300-page first draft by June; I have 38 right now. Any math people here?

Oh! And this week bookshelf will be chatting with Dr. Barbara Holstein, author of The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything). I am coveting her book title.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen

College, Spring Break and Other Inanities

WORD: 4 Ways to Write Your Way to College

by Gabrielle Linnell

For most high school juniors, Spring Break means college tours. Lots of them. This means listening into admissions officers tell you stats, profiles, majors, so much boring information. I love it. But whether you hate thinking about the future or not, always look for the opportunity to use your writing! That's why we write.

Here are four ideas on using your writing to show your fave university your greatness. And to make sure they give you financial aid.

1. Include your publishing resume. I talked to an admissions officer at Duke this weekend and asked how I should show my list of publishing clips. She suggested either attaching it in the "Additional Info" section of the Common Application or standard application, but also recommended stapling it to my guidance counselor's recommendation. She said that way they'd be sure to see it. Personally, I plan on giving them a full list of where I've been published and highlighting the ones that are of particular interest.

For homeschoolers, this might be easier to do because a homeschooler's application is already different. But guys, you must include your resume, even if you've just been published in a few iddy-biddy zines. It shows you're already having success in a field you love.

2. Essays? No sweat. Every American college application, with the exception of community colleges, will request one or more essays from applicants. For most of our friends, these are torturous. Average teens are not used to expressing themselves intimately and concisely on paper. Guess what? We are! Use your spotlight well.

3. Read, read, read. Again, this is something you'd be doing already. Reading makes you sound more intelligent (bonus 1) and boosts SAT verbal & writing scores (bonus 2.) I think reading some older literature (Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice) and making sure you understand the words will do a better job of improving your vocabulary than studying lists. More interesting.

4. Document the experience. I know of local high school seniors writing columns about the process of applying to college for the regional newspaper (which had a HUGE circulation.) If there's not a similar one where you live, ask for a job! Write essays! Write short stories! If you live in a foreign country (say Britain) write for an American magazine on the differences in applying to British schools.

While you're doing all these things, I recommend you take a break by reading Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman. Talk about making college admissions exciting!*

Gabrielle Linnell has been published almost twenty-five times, lives through AP Chemistry homework and plans on attending college somewhere. You an admissions officer? Email me.

Bookshelf: Name Your Spring Break Reads

So... Spring Break reading. Populated by escapist travel guides and innocent romances, it's almost a genre unto itself. What did you guys pick up?

Disney World allowed little time for reading, but when I was college-hunting in Raleigh I picked up this little number by John Grisham. Wow! This was the book that started the legend/genre/incredibly successful career? Neat-o.
This is a book I have heard about but not read yet, about TRAVELING. An overachiever is forced into a trip across Asia (think Vietnam) with her blackmailing grandmother. Creating a lot of buzz, too.
Ah, we cannot escape the pleasures of Kate Brian (although I was not happy with the latest book in the Private series, miss.) A delightful tale of MySpace and misplaced affection in senior semester and PROM, it's a perfect beach read.
As is this one.
If you are of the non-chick-flick variety of reader and prefer to travel across time, what about this one? It promises fights and naval battles and lots of hot... I mean, strong... Viking warriors.
All right. What did you read over Spring Break? Any recommendations?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Meg Cabot: On Writing

I won't be blogging for the next few days and the latest issue of Innovative will be late Sunday night, so here's one more post to keep y'all thinking. I was wasting time... I mean, researching... and found this funny clip from YouTube done by Meg Cabot. I'm not a huge fan of her books, but her videos are hilarious. She should go into movie-making. (The one on Pretty in Pink is great too.)

This is "On Writing," where she gives a short, funny talk on writing a book.


I've spent four full days without a computer and WOW! that was weird. I'm sorry that we missed If You Want to Write... this week but hey, it is Spring Break. And what was I doing, forgetting my duties as editor and frolicking without internet access? I was meeting Mary Poppins, spinning in a drug-like-high-inducing teacup and racing my sisters in tiny cars in the creative madness known as Disney World.

To make up for IFYW2W being missed, I'll be posting brief observations throughout the day on how Disney World relates to the rest of us creative writers.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen

Bookshelf Interview: Thomas Wade Bounds

Thomas Wade Bounds is a businessman and the founder of Heritage Values. He lives with his wife Elsa and their two children, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the author of Choices, My Secrets.

INN: In your book Choices: My Secrets, you tell the story of a pregnant teenager faced with the decision to abort or carry her child. What inspired you to tell this story about teen pregnancy?

TWB: Well, many things have. Over the course of my life I have seen lots of needless deaths caused by car accidents, suicides and other things. I have also known several people who have chosen to abort a life of wonder and joy, as well as, many who have chosen to have and keep theirs, and then others who give up for adoption their little life of wonder and joy.

This was a way for me to explain something to my children that could provide them a glimpse of reality without having to live it out themselves. I wanted them to have a solid understanding of what a life can become if given a chance. I feel that as a parent it is my responsibility to arm my kids with the information they need to make the right choices for them and to understand that some choices have serious life-changing status.

INN: What has been the most difficult part about writing your book? The coolest part?

TWB: The most difficult part was to find the courage to ask someone to read it. I thought, yes, I have written what I think is important, but will it make sense to others?

The coolest part was watching and hearing the reaction from those that read it and liked it.

INN: I believe you are writing for the Christian market. What makes writing a Christian book different than writing "regular" young adult?

TWB: Nothing really. When I write I just write what I believe is important for parents and teens to know, to help them to talk about certain issues that may be difficult for them to discuss. This series works, and will bring out conversations of importance between parents and teens.

I am not only writing for the Christian market; I am writing for anyone who wants to read it. There are many messages within the book and series that we can all learn from. Choices, My Secrets, tells a story of many choices that were made--most without thought. Struggles became reality and the lost girl ran from her own family and friends trying to hide what she did and to hide her baby. When she took the time to reflect and really think about what she was doing she made better choices for her and her baby. All people, regardless of faith, can experience that. Choices, My Secrets can help you learn from these types of choices, and hopefully help you prevent making similar decisions by learning the wisdom that Rachel has come to know.

INN: What's up next in the series?

TWB: I am working on topics that deal with teens’ choices of friends, parties, drinking and driving, and some of the consequences of these actions.

INN: What are some of your favorite books?

TWB: The Bible, Hunt For Red October, The Bleachers, and of course Choices, My Secrets

INN: Any advice for teen writers?

TWB: Yes, say, “Yes”. You can do it, just put forth the thought process, block out all negative thoughts and write what you desire; your words, your imagination they can all come together and you can accomplish it.

Thank you!

You can purchase Choices, My Secrets on here

Innovative Housekeeping

Note from Gabrielle:

I'm in the middle of a trumpet-and-chocolate-filled Easter and so there is no WORD for today. However, as most of us students venture on to Spring Break, I would advise you to look for inspiration and planning. I'm heading off to The Land of Magical Dreams in Orlando (so psyched) and then some college touring in Raleigh. I'll do some observational posts when I get back on Sunday.

Enjoy this Bookshelf interview!

Have a wonderful holiday,


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If You Want to Write...

Get Ideas By Taking This Simple Quiz!

1. When I say, "Abortion," you say
b. Woman's non-existent right
c. Noun, meaning "the act of aborting"

2. When I say, "Skateboards are stupid," you say
a. Totally
b. Completely
c. I love you, Gabrielle

3. I say, "Who cares about Africa?
a. Right on, girl.
b. Duh!
c. What's Africa?

4. "Global Warming..."
a. Will it make me popcorn?
c. Whales, shmales.

5. Teenagers should be locked up forever.
a. There is only one answer.

Ok, ok. I chose a few controversial issues and gave a few controversial answers... heehee. But what would it feel like to only have one thing to say? To live in a horrible, Soviet-esque world where there is no opinion available other than the mass-marketed one? Writers like Upton Sinclair (check out for a great clip of an essay he wrote) and Dosteovsky (I know, I probably spelled it wrong) and so many others fought to say what was true. That's inspiring.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen

Check it out!

WORD: Using That First Clip

by Gabrielle Linnell

It's happened: the editor emailed and you're in the next issue of Small Town Teendom. Or Metropolitan Mania. Or something. You are IN! You are getting PUBLISHED! How EXCITING! But don't let your screams of joy overwhelm your good sense. You've transitioned from amateur to newbie, and if you're serious about getting good at this writing gig, don't stop.

Here are three things you should do to make sure your first clip is not your last.

1. Research the competitive magazines or e-zines in this genre. If you've written for Gals Love Horses, make sure you get the information on Pony Pals and Giddy-Up. Your first clip has proved that you can write for this particular genre, and this proves to competing editors that you're worth something. Of course, NEVER submit the same idea or story to more than one magazine, ESPECIALLY if it's been accepted elsewhere.

2. Blab about it! Tell your English teacher, your grandmother, your best friends, everybody! Your acceptance is a huge deal. Most importantly, tell editors that you are querying even if it's in a different genre.

This takes a bit of explaining. If you've been published in a nonfiction magazine and are submitting to other nonfiction magazines, put "My work will appear shortly in ...." in your bio paragraph. If you have been published in a nonfiction magazine and are submitting to a fiction zine, don't mention. This works both ways EXCEPT for when you are writing for writing mags. If you've penned a how-to on selling fiction, prove to the editors that you have sold fiction.

3. Print out your acceptance email. Keep it as a reminder of what you've accomplished, and a vision of where you want to go. I'm warning you that this is the best part of getting published, not the actual seeing-your-name-in-print thing (so anteclimatic.) It's also a great time to re-evaluate what you liked or didn't like about working with one particular magazine or e-zine. Some great questions to ask are

Did I like how the editor changed my piece?
Was s/he good about telling me necessary information?
Did I like how the magazine presented my piece?
Is the payback (money, clip, self-actualization) worth the work?

Based on your answers, decide whether you'll write for that magazine again. Because, of course, you'll be writing again.

Bookshelf: Beastly by Alex Flinn

I was at Barnes & Noble's yesterday and was in the odd position of not knowing what book to read. Between finding authors for Innovative, wanting to check out old faves like Jennifer Weiner or Shannon Hale, and can't-wait-to-reading new books I've heard about through the publishing biz, I'm never strapped for a good read. Except for yesterday.
So I picked up Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie and Beastly by Alex Flinn. Crusie will have to wait, because Beastly was fantastic. It's a modern retelling of Beauty & the Beast (narrated by prep king turned monster) that is funny without being spoof-like, romantic without being overtly sappy. It currently has a five-star rating on
I loved it, too, because BOYS WOULD LIKE IT. It's so unusual to find a retold fairy tale that appeals to both genders. So check it out, folks.

Innovative Housekeeping

Nothing drastically new this week. If you have comments or questions in general, just leave them in the comments section. If you have a more personal comment, suggestion or question, email me at . I really LOVE to hear from readers and am ALWAYS open to new ideas. Heck, that's what innovation is about.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Burning Desire to Write

You can WHAP with a flyswatter,
but you WAP with Time to Write!

So, I've been blogging about following Kelly L. Stone's book Time to Write. One of the first concepts that Kelly introduces is "The Burning Desire to Write." This is your vision, the reason that you push to succeed, and as Kelly says, the reason you don't push the snooze button at 6:30 AM.
My burning desire to write is kind of complicated.

1. I write because I can't think of anything else to do. I'm a passionate, emotional person whose spoken sentences often come out in a jumble. Most of my jokes only sound funny in my head. I can never stop reading (my legal drug.) So I write.
2. I write because I'm ambitious. Before I started Innovative, I decided I wanted to become the voice on teen writing. The expert, the big kahuna, the dorky girl in the glasses that newspapers interview for opinions on Kaavya's plagiarism. I'm not that person yet, but I'm getting there. And I love the getting-there part. I want to write books that teenagers will be reading a hundred years in the future, but also that teenagers will read today. It's like a desire to produce something great, something I haven't written yet.

3. I write because, in simple words, I love it. I love the act of crafting a chapter, of getting a sentence right, and yes, I love getting up at 6:30 in the morning, turning on my Birthday Playlist, and writing for an hour before school.
Stay tuned next week as Gabrielle begins to make her WAP and shares the scandalous details with the blogosphere. AND tomorow we have a new issue of Innovative to look forward to!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

If You Want to Write... Part Two

The Best of the Blogs, Part Two

If you want to figure out what a LITERARY AGENT does...

Shame on you! You should already know!

Kristen Nelson has a funny blog over at where she writes about contracts, publishers, auctions and makes it entertaining! She recently blogged about her trip to New York City and what different editors are looking for in submissions.

Jessica Faust blogs at and keeps a mix of contests, reader questions, mini-articles by her or her colleague on aspects of the business and posts by some of her published clients.

And Nathan Bransford, an up-and-coming agent in California, blogs about The Wire, The Hills and The Publishing Game. Always funny, he is on a personal mission to eradicate rhetorical questions from the beginning of queries: find out at

If you want to know how to BECOME a successful author...

Check out J.A. Konrath's blog at J.A. is the author of a mystery series, and gives excellent, if sometimes hard to hear, advice on making it in the publishing industry. His blog is as witty as his books are, though not as scary. Usually.

And Melissa Walker! Melissa blogs over at Melissa has written Violet on the Runway and Violet by Design (released this week) and has interviewed with us before. What I like a lot about Melissa's blog is that she posts "Marketing Mondays" and "Win-It Wednesdays," detailing how she spreads the word about her fashion-forward series.

All of these blogs, I believe, are on my Google Reader (except for Nathan, who I read via email) because they are excellent. I confess I also have Modelslips (, two of my friends' personal blogs, and am addicted to the huge Blogging Project Runway ( You want to write? Read this stuff. You'll learn tons.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If You Want to Write...

The latest in our middle-of-the-week series on WRITING. NO JOKE.

The Best of the Blogs, Part I

If you want to write, read writing blogs. I have learned more from them than most magazines or articles, and gained a few clips along the way. On a purely subjective basis, here are the BEST of the blogs that I read. Or are they the best because I read them?

If you want to see what an AUTHOR'S LIFE is like...

Read Lisa Yee's blog at Lisa's the author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks it Big Time; So Totally Emily Ebers and a young adult book coming out next year. Her blog is a hilarious mix of photos and details from her writing life, starring her stuffed pet chick, Peepy.

Shannon Hale's blog is also excellent at Shannon's the author of several books, including The Goose Girl, Book of a Thousand Days and the Newbery Honor-winning Princess Academy. Shannon has entertaining and insightful things to say about kid/YA lit, her own books and her crazy young family.

If you want to get the scoop on a FREELANCER'S LIFE...

These are unabashedly stolen from Maria Schneider's blogroll. Kathy Kehrli blogs at, and gives us the low-down on the worst bits (and best bits!) of being a freelancer. I love Kathy's sense of humor and her blog is great for getting an idea of how freelancing works.

The ever-brilliant Susan Johnston blogs at, about her "night job" as a freelancer. Susan's blog not only looks wonderful, she always has something informative and relevant to say.

If you want to see the secrets behind an EDITOR'S JOB...

Evil Editor! Go to for an anonymous book editor's snarky reviews of everyone's query letters. If you're interested in becoming a published author, or want to improve your query skills, check it out. It's also really funny.

And then Maria Schneider gives us the what's up at Maria blogs about the writing world, gives exclusive outtakes of Writer's Digest interviews, features wonderful writing blogs... heehee... and is in general a worthwhile read.

More blogs tomorrow: the best of publicity blogs and how-to-get-published blogs and a sneak peek into my personal blogroll.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One WAPPer's Take on the Twilight Obsession

WAPPing Update: With the exception of the weekend, I have WAPPed successfully. It's actually kind of fun to be creative this early in the morning. WHO KNEW? And, if I'm good about getting sleep, it doesn't phase me at all. Except that I have piano to do, an AP Chem test to study for, and about five pages to write (and thirty to edit) for a contest due this week... um... stay tuned for later this week when I talk about THE BURNING DESIRE TO WRITE. Mine. That is.

Twilight. I first read it Easter Saturday last year when I was bored and tired of my friends yapping at me to read it. I didn't finish, so the next day I ran back (on EASTER SUNDAY) to read Twilight and then New Moon in a total of three hours.

I bought Twilight and then persuaded another friend to buy a copy. She called me on the week of her exams, and said, "I hate you. I hate you. I hate you so much." Freaked out, I said, "What did I do?" "THAT BOOK." She had stayed up till 3 am that night reading, and taken an exam later that morning.

Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer are a phenomenon because they have sold an unbelievable amount of copies. Because every girl that reads it falls in love with it. Because it's mostly sold through word-of-mouth. Because a million reasons. Twilight, to me, is proof that teenagers do read when it's compelling. The market for our time is competitive, but regardless of high religious holidays or high school exams, we will read if it is just that good.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen

Bookshelf: Interview with E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart is the author of The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, Fly on the Wall, Dramarama and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Visit her on the web at
INN: What draws you to YA lit as a genre?

EL: I am not sure it is a genre. I think of it as an age category that encompasses many genres: fantasy, science fiction, realistic fiction, literary fiction, comedies, mysteries etc. Usually, the protagonists are teenaged -- but not always. For example, Montmorency: Theif, Liar, Gentleman has an adult hero and it is YA, while many adult books have teenage heroes and are not. That said, I'm drawn to YA as a writer partly because it feels natural to me to write for young audiences and about young characters, and partly because the writing and publishing communities are very strong and supportive.

INN: What inspired you to write The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks?

EL: This book was very hard for me, because it has big action sequences and complex boarding school pranks, plus a serious plot -- none of which came easily. What comes easily to me is goofy conversations in the school cafeteria, dialog, flirtation. So I can't say much of Disreputable History comes from inspiration -- more like from sweat. However, the driving force of the book was my own feminist frustration with the still-existing old boys network, and with how difficult it can still be, in these days of equality, to fall in love without losing one's sense of self.

INN: How did you break into publishing?

EL: It took years. I got an agent with a book proposal I wrote for an adult project, but that project never sold. Meanwhile, that agent did manage to sell a middle-grade novel I'd written that went in and quickly out of print. The agent dropped me and I managed to get another with a fresh book proposal. That book sold and I wrote it, but it wasn't successful. All the editors I'd worked with had quit the business or moved on to different publishing houses. I was back to (almost) square one, and again without an agent. I managed to sell a picture book through the slush pile, and this time ended up with an editor who was experienced and very supportive of my writing. I did some more work for little kids through her, and wrote an adult novel -- which got me a third agent, and which sold after 6 months of trying. That book was published very quietly, but by this time I had written enough that I had some credibility as a published author. I tried my hand at writing for young adults, and the sailing has been smoother since then.

INN: What books did you read as a teen? (Any recommendations?)

EL: I read all the classic YA books by authors like S.E. Hinton, Judy Blume, M.E. Kerr, and Paul Zindel. I also read a lot of Piers Anthony, Tom Robbins and Douglas Adams. I haven't reread most of these as an adult, so I'm not sure how they hold up, but if you haven't treated yourself to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, please do not wait any longer.

INN: In "Fly on the Wall," Gretchen draws Spiderman and talks a lot about comic books and superheroes. Are you a fan of comics as well, and if so, what are your faves?

EL: I don't read many comics now, but for quite a while in my 20s I subscribed to Spider-man, and when I was a kid my uncle had huge stacks of comics and would take me and my cousins to the used comic book store on weekends. I spent my own money on Archies, but I read his Fantastic Four, Spidey, Batman, and Hulk. He and my dad also had replicas of the old EC horror comics, which I read voraciously. For Fly on the Wall, I bought a ton of old Spider-man comics on eBay.

INN: Any advice for teen writers?

EL: Read. I see many aspiring writers who haven't really taken the time to understand their chosen genre. What else is out there? What has been done, and what hasn't? Who are your favorite authors of the kind of book you want to write, and WHY? I also think it's essential to have wide-ranging familiarity with many types of writing, because how else are you, the writer, to know the different possible modes in which you might tell your story, the many techniques that are available to you? When I set out to write my first novel, I took apart the first thirds of three of my favorite books, to see how the authors structured their stories, how they handled exposition, how they built suspense and introduced characters. I used David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving, and Geek Love by Kathleen Dunn -- but any three books you love would do.

The other piece of advice I have, which is maybe more appropriate to older writers looking to turn professional, is: finish it. The biggest difference between me and my equally talented but unpublished writer friends is that I finish my books, while they have several half-done projects languishing in drawers. My books are not better. My books are just done.

Thank you!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks hits bookstores March 25th, but if you want to pre-order your copy, offers a discount. Don't forget to visit E. Lockhart's awesome website and blog at

WORD: Finding Inspiration

by Gabrielle Linnell

I think one of the best parts about being a teen writer is the fact that I rarely lack inspiration. Most teens have never been there, done that... there's so much to see! Feel! Experience! Inspiration is BURSTING from every corner.

Yet, for posterity's sake, I'm categorizing three places where WriTeens find inspiration on an almost never-fail basis.

Issues or Real-Life Problemos. Whether it's global warming, genocide or eating disorders, the world has a lot of problems and teenagers offer fresh perspectives on them. Personally, I consider eating disorders and the lack of positive body image in women one of the greatest crimes society has dished out to girls. It's an inspiring topic.

Personal experience. I'm written about this before. What moves you? What changes you? I don't think teens should publish diaries online, but use a journal to think about what really impacts you. How does that play into, say, a short story about a dying parakeet? How does that change the way you look at the town's new gym?

Art to the fullest. Museums- travel- theater- books- frescoes: art inspires art. Therefore artists need to be surrounded by art. Teen Vogue is a muse of mine, because I love the collages they put together at the back of the issue. There are hundreds of crazy and beautiful things juxtaposed against each other. Heck, even the advertisements are amazing and tell stories. Who can't help but be inspired?

Innovative Housekeeping

If you have comments or suggestions, drop a line in the comments box or email me at

We are ALWAYS looking for people (WriTeens or adults) to write for WORD. Let me know if you're interested!

Got an author you'd love to see interviewed? Tell me!

Logo designed by Katie Beth Groover.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Teenager Awakes

This a vague idea of me in the morning. Add cuter clothes and a non-boyish haircut.
Fiend, you lie! You know that you look like MIKE MYERS in the morning! (and act worse)
Sometimes getting up looks as easy as climbing all... the... way... up..

For years people have been complaining that teenagers sleep too much. Teenagers complain they never have enough sleep. Justice smiled upon us, and there's now a whole lot of research to prove that a) teens really can't sleep till after eleven pm and b) they need a lot. Of sleep. Take that, cranky adults!

However, in compliance with Proof B, I experienced an unpredicted side-affect of WAPPing (WHAP!). I was exhausted by 9:30pm. I had to drag my feet upstairs and try to climb over the mountains of clothing/books/paper in my room to... just... reach... my... bed...

This morning, cheery and chipper! I avoided the seductive advances of sleep and used the Mordian technique to spark my creativity. Never heard of the Mordian technique? I made it up. It is composed of "play-music-and-think-about-your-dreams." Dreams are inspiration-full. I think about what I felt during the dream (wonderful, scared, excited, tense) and try to translate the emotion onto the page. Anyone else use dreams?
I feel very proud of myself for sticking to the Early Morning Schedule for two days. The real test will be tomorrow (Saturday, sigh) where I plan on still waking early, and then going to my exercise class.

3 weeks to form a habit? It only takes one cigarette. WHY DOES IT TAKE THREE WEEKS TO WAP PROPERLY?

Will the heroine be seduced by sleep on a Saturday? Will she come up with a name for the Anti-WAP? Will E. Lockhart show up at Innovative on Sunday? Join us next time...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Adventures of an Early Morning WAPPer

Oh no, it's a nerd! RUN AWAY!
Don't be stupid, stupid! Gabrielle is really the incarnation of Belle. Sans Beast.
Alas, ye fools! You mistake her! Gabrielle is not a Disney Princess! She's a voluptuous, scantily-clad superhero! SHE'S A WAPPER! (Put on some clothes, PLEASE.)
Y'all may remember (SHOULD remember, it was an awesome interview) our interview with Kelly L. Stone ( the week I was sick. Well, in Kelly's book Time to Write she talks about writing schedules, Writing Action Plans and Burning Desires to Write (among other things.)

I can never saying WAP like an educated middle-schooler and shouting WHAP! Kelly has a great outline for people (like moi) who need to structure their creative genes in to steady and quirky productivity. Now, I am not sick and I have spent a month in my new school (totally adjusted, my locker and I have made peace and are baking cookies) so I am out of excuses. This morning, friends, I began my Early Morning Schedule as part of my unwritten WAP (WHAP!). The only way I'll stick to it is if I let the international literary world know about my progress. Lots of helpful, angry comments will spur me on, too.

Day One (The Only Day I'll Remember, the Rest will be a Creative Blur)

6:30. AM. Oh. My. Gosh.

I literally sat on my bed and stared at my computer for a while, thinking about my choices. Turn on the laptop and become a bestselling novelist. Go back to sleep and become a creative failure. I chose the bestselling novelist career after about five minutes of thought.

I'm working on a new novel, Suspended, and in about thirty minutes I typed out four DSP pages, which is pretty good. The key to my productivity, however, was not the dulcet tones of birds and Snow White appearing on my windowsill (or Prince Charming, though I'm sure he would have been inspiring.) It was music!

Thanks to the gods of Windows Media Player, I listened to Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra and hard-playin', girl-rockin' Sara Bareilles and that, my friends, is a great way to wake the mind up.

Will the heroine last for another day? Will the novel plummet or fall? Will male movie stars flock to her side to rescue the damsel under stress (haha, book title) with words of encouragement? Who knows! But if you need somewhere to chill, check out Lisa Yee's blog of her Colin Firth obsession at Hands down, best author blog ever. Although Shannon Hale gives her a run for her money at

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

If You Want to Write...

Weekly Series! Latest! Little Things! Big Results! All and More!

My Extracurriculars...

Treat your writing career like an extracurricular. A sport, an art, a team, whatever. Think about how much effort goes into a girls' softball team. They practice almost every day of the school week for at least two hours. They have games most weekends. They make friends with other softballers and grow in their sport, having fun but sometimes not having fun (sweat, yuck.) Most softball players will never play for college, but the ones that do have a combination of talent and a lot more hard work. People who play softball don't play all the time everywhere (there's this thing called school....) but it's a good part of their lives.

Thus is writing. Think about your writing commitment. Do you like publishing a piece here and there, but don't really want to make the effort to be a committed WriTeen? That's totally fine. But if you want bigger results, you'll have to clock in more time and be willing to handle the not-so-fun days. Yet you also get to make writing friends and go to conferences and fight it out in writing contests.

Is writing your extracurricular?

Monday, March 3, 2008

WORD: The Point of My View

The Point of My View:
Using Your POV to be P-U-B-L-I-S-H-E-D

by Gabrielle Linnell

To make it in today's publishing world, you must love Barney the Purple Dinosaur.

As teenagers, we are defined by our age, by the world around us. If we're looking to get published, we have to use this to our advantage. The dictums of Barney, of Impressionism, of postmodernism are all relevant here: unless you're in Journalism 101, it doesn't matter what the absolute truth is. We can all buy absolute truth on the internet. What matters is WHAT YOU THINK.

1. Using the POV to Break In. I have been published in magazines that don't normally publish teen writers. Why did they publish me? Because I wrote about being a teen writer. This idea of looking for opportunities to flaunt your age works in every publishing genre. Writing a short story? Make it about college applications, and inform your editor that you survived your own hurricane of college apps. Writing an article about childcare? Five years of babysitting experience makes you highly qualified.

The world is looking for a fresh take. We are teenagers. We are the fresh take.

2. Using the POV to Be a Barney-Lover. Forget age. Remember watching episodes of Barney the Purple Dinosaur where he told us he loved us and that we were all special? Veggie Tales, Arthur, Magic School Bus-- all the great nineties cartoons and kids' shows say the same thing. We are special. We are unique.

You could be reading Amazing Writing Magazine right now. You're not. I don't give objective publishing advice here-- I give my own publishing advice, and probably that's why you read. Because you like the way I see things. Because I'm special. Are you special? How does that come out in your writing?

3. Using the POV to Make it Different. You're writing a solicited submission*, which is a straightforward piece on text messaging. A boring article on text messaging. Think about the Impressionists, who knew they were special and fresh. They took scenes that were not naturally ground-breaking (scenes like gardens, ponds, fields) and took their specialty and made it different. Suddenly a poppy field becomes a dizzying palette of... amazement! What is this? Why hasn't it been done before?

Put your Barney-love and POV into action. Make it different.

Gabrielle Linnell has been published many times in magazines such as Cobblestone, ByLine, FACES, Once Upon a Time, and others. Her point of view on Project Runway is that Rami is talented, Christian is annoying but Jillian should win and give Gabrielle her entire collection out of gratitude for her support.

Bookshelf: Contest Winner and Revelation

And the winner of our mini Discover-Author-X-contest is...


Katie Beth was the first to email me with the correct answer to Author X, and therefore wins a $5 gift certificate to the latest book of Author X. Who is our mysterious author interviewee?

Author X has written six young adult books so far. Two are in a series, two are coming out this year, four are stand-alone. One is released on March 25, 2008. Some keywords from these book titles are: "book," "disreputable," "fly" and "how." Two of our previous bookshelf interviewees recommended this author in their Innovative interview (one of them was Melissa Walker, whose own sequel comes out this week!) Delacorte is the publisher of most, if not all of the books (I don't have time to check.) John Green said of a 2006 book, "I think this might be the best YA novel... I've ever read." Author X also shares a last name with a pivotal character in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

And Author X is, according to Katie Beth...


E. Lockhart is the author of four novels thus far (The Boyfriend List, Dramarama, The Boy Book, Fly on the Wall) and has two coming out this year (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and co-authored How to Be Bad). Both Melissa Walker and Robin Wasserman recommended her in their own bookshelf interviews. E. Lockhart is critically acclaimed throughout the publishing world for her gifted way of portraying teenagers, and is universally loved by teenagers themselves. In other words, her books are amazing.

Personally, she is one of my top 5 favorite authors and so I was thrilled/flabbergasted/amazed when she agreed to do an interview with us. She tells about her long path to publishing, gives advice to those of us "aspiring teen writers" and more in her interview... next week.


Melissa Walker, debut author of Violet on the Runway, has another book coming out tomorrow! The sequel in her series about a geeky North Carolinan wallflower turned supermodel, Violet by Design, is released March 4th in bookstores nationwide. Grab your copy and visit her website at

Innovative Housekeeping

If you want more information on past, present or future Innovative contests, please let me know by emailing me at Same goes for WORD submission guidelines.

STILL looking for a male person interested in reviewing young adult novels and interviewing young adult authors. Something you're interested in? Email me!

Katie Beth may sound familiar; she's also the designer of our logo contest. Yay for a Super-WriTeen!

If you have been published recently and want to TELL THE WORLD, please let me know! I'm so happy for your success. Really. Honestly. Truly.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Innovative Postponed

Sorry, guys. I got back from a weekend spent with friends (five movies in 24 hours) and while I heartily recommend The Other Boleyn Girl and The Jane Austen Book Club (two books-turned-movies), I need to sleep. Will have the new issue up tomorrow.