Friday, July 29, 2011

What do you want this blog to be?

I'm seeking your help today.

I love Go Teen Writers, and I want to make sure it's as fun for you guys as it is for me. I'm getting ready to redo the site, and I really, really want your input.

If you want to email me privately, you can do that here. But if you don't mind making your suggestion publicly, that'd be great too. Let's just be our usual respectful selves, shall we? Disagreements are fine; rudeness is not.

Here are a couple questions I'm looking for the answers to, though you don't have to limit yourself to these nor do you need to answer them all:

What do you like best about Go Teen Writers? (Want to make sure I don't get rid of something you like!)

Would you like more opportunities to connect with other writers or no?

Do you like guest posts? I've considered asking some authors (like 2 or 3) if they want to take a day out of the month to be on GTW. (Like so-and-so would always blog on the 12th of the month or something.) Would you like getting different perspectives like that or no?

Is there something you would like to see more (or less) of on GTW?

Are there resources you wish GTW had that we don't?

I really value your feedback. Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. I've only been reading your blog for about a month, Stephanie, but what I really liked right off the bat was that you were very genuine in your advice and I honestly felt that you wanted to help me as a writer, even though you didn't even know me. That's an awesome gift, and if that's the only thing that you keep in your blog I'd still read it frequently. :)
    But of course there are some other things I like too... ;) Like, I LOVE the writing prompt contests! They challenge me to write.
    I also do like reading the guests posts, so that would be cool to read their stuff that they post on a monthly basis.
    Clare Kolenda

  2. I really love the step by step process you have for writing a novel. I'm hoping to start writing one soon, and so it has been helpful. :)


  3. Clare, my desire to help you guys grow as writers won't be going anywhere! Thank you for your input. Writing contests will stick around!

    Moriah, glad to hear it! Thank you!

  4. Stephanie, just about everything on here is really awesome and SO helpful to me, as a teen writer. Your passion to help us shines through your posts and I'm so thankful that I found this blog a while back - it's been an invaluable help to me!

    The writing prompts are, of course, totally awesome! I not only like the challenge they give me, but it helps me broaden my scope a bit.

    I've REALLY enjoyed the step-by-step process to writing a book that you've been posting. and also when you write a post answering a question a teen has asked you. Those are probably my favorite to read.

    I'd be fun to see guests posts on here on a regular basis. I'm sure they are a wealth of information.

    Hmm...I can't think of anything you've posted that I didn't like or that didn't help me in my writing life, in one way or another. This blog is such a HUGE blessing!!

    Thanks for putting the time into it!

    ~ Katy

  5. Honestly, I love everything about GTW and wouldn't want to change a thing. I like the idea of guest posts, but I also really think your voice and perspective and, like Clare said, your honesty make this blog what it is. I've been so blessed and encouraged by everything I read on here.
    I also love the writing prompt contests- don't get rid of those! :)

  6. Thank you for those insights, Katy! And the encouragement.

    Honestly, it's selfish. I love this blog, and I love hanging out with you guys.

    Would anybody be interested in having "genre specific" days? Like someone who talks once a month about sci-fi fantasy issues, someone who talks about historicals, or something. I'm a little worried about that being too niche. Like, if you write the type of stories that I do, I don't know how much you would get out of a sci-fi/fantasy post ... but it could also be great to get an education and appreciation for all the genres.

  7. Sierra, thank you! I really appreciate that.

  8. Oh, also want to let you guys know that Roseanna White did a write-up about Go Teen Writers today. She's going to be holding a drawing for a bunch-o-books so if you like free books, head on over there:

  9. I LOVE the idea of "genre specific" days!! :) I love learning about all different kinds of genres, and I think it would help lots of teens pinpoint their own books into a genre. I had a hard time with that a few years back.
    Great idea!

  10. Ive been thinking about this today and everybody has already said it so well! Claire hit the nail on the head. I think your honesty, openness, and sincerity is touching a bunch of us who will go on and list you as a big influence to our writing :)

    I love the idea of genre specific days. It's on thing I was thinking of and maybe to add to that at the end of the post you could list a couple books that exemplify the genre for us to check out if we wanted?

    What about some posts with exercise that can improve our writing? Everyone and a while you mention them, like the scene cards and putting random things together.

    And it was a lot fun when people posted what they are working on!

  11. it would be awesome to have more writing resources such as links that can help us! Also, it would be awesome if you had the "so-and-so on the 12th of every month". that was just your example, but I love reading guest posts as well as reading what you have written!

  12. All great suggestions, Tonya. Listing books is something I should do more of for regular posts too. And exercises is a fun idea!

    And we should have another "what are you working on" day. That was fun for me too!

  13. Thank you, Shelby! I'll look into "beefing up" our resources page and brainstorming who I think would be a good addition to the GTW team.

  14. Well I'm a huge fan of just the honest straight answers to tough writing questions, which I've always been able to get here more than anywhere else. Sometimes I get the answers before I even have a question! So just the honest straight-forward answers are my fave. Because I feel that I get helpful answers here that are specific and not vague.

  15. While I was reading a post over here yesterday, it occurred to me that one of the reasons I love this blog so much is that it's so real. The advice, the problems, the solutions... I like how you've been there, you're still here, and you're showing us some of the ways. Okay, so that probably made no sense, but that's what I like -- the realness. Writing a book is something I want to do -- and it's something that I can do. You're showing us how, encouraging our dreams. I think that's so important.

  16. "Genre specific" days would be awesome! I love the idea of having a little bit of something for everyone. My favorite things about this blog are probably the tips you give -- like the idea of using a storyboard, or what makes a good title, for example -- and the prompts. So thanks for those, and everything else you do!

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  18. Stephanie, I think the "genre specific" days are a wonderful idea! I'm sure, between all us teen writers, there's a wide variety of genres we're working on. Maybe you could do a poll asking us which genre our WIP is in, and then you'll know which genre's to tackle first...or something like that!

    But, seriously, that's a great idea! I'm writing suspense, and would love advice on making my writing and plot more catching/gripping. :-D

    ~ Katy

  19. I love everything about this blog. Especailly the prompts.

  20. I'm definitely feeling the love guys - thank you! I really wanted GTW to be a place where we could have honest talks about the writing business, so I'm glad to hear you view it that way.

    Katy, great idea about polling genres! I'll do that and then see who I can line up.

  21. I'll stop by later to add more, but I just wanted to say I have loved the prompts and getting feedback. Maybe if it's too difficult to keep up the pace of three authors giving feedback every two weeks, you could have a prompt swap. Each person who submits could get three submissions to offer feedback on, then they would get feedback from three other teen authors. It wouldn't need to be competition - just a way to get feedback anonymously.

  22. "heavenlyprincess" - a prompt swap! That would be so fun! And it could be a great way for everyone to see what works and what doesn't.

    I feel like I became really good at writing synopses after I judged a couple contests and read 15 of varying quality back-to-back. Something about that experience helped crystallize why a synopsis works and why it doesn't.

  23. Stephanie,

    I want to echo what everyone else has already said: that your honest and sometimes hilarious writing style is what first drew me to GTW and keeps me coming back several times a week! The advice and encouragement I have gleaned are invaluable ~ thank you so much for all that you do to make GTW what it is!

    I'm glad the prompts are staying! The feedback email is much anticipated. I think that a prompt swap would be too much fun!! :)

    Guest posts would be great with me, ESPECIALLY genre-specific ones. I nodded my head while reading that comment. Great idea!! I would love hearing from authors of different genres! :)

    One of my favorite things about GTW is the sense of community I feel in the comments section. Have you ever thought of creating a Go Teen Writers Facebook page? That might be a good continuation of that...

    Wonderful comments, everyone!

  24. Ok, coming back to add...

    I love the idea of genre-specific posts!

    Re: honesty
    Reading this blog has convinced me that I really could publish a novel, if I work hard. I've read plenty of people who say "yeah, sure, try and self publish. You'll be great!" and don't really tell how to truly do well. You tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly, and its really helpful :)

    More prompt ideas:
    As much as I have enjoyed practicing the "first 100 words" exercises, I think it would be great to have more diversity. Like the synopsis challenge. I also would like to have more time to work on my entries. Last week I missed out on the synopsis challenge because my week was really crazy. If I had had 2 weeks to work on it, I could have written during the not-so-crazy week. I have also had times where I didn't have Internet access for days and therefore only had a couple days to write my entry.

    Thanks again for all you do!

  25. PS just realized I didn't sign my name to either of those!

    --Jordan Newhouse

  26. I like the genre-specific ideas! Otherwise, I can't think of anything right off the bat. I could go either way with the guest posters. Love the prompts, love the blog, and love you :)

  27. Thanks, Ellyn :)

    Jordan, I'm so sorry you missed last week. I'll definitely consider allowing more time. Most people turn their entries into me ON the evening of the due date. Which is fine with me, but I've wondered if they're turning them in on the due date because they've been working on their 100 words on and off through the week, or if they've just put something together in the last couple hours. So I haven't known if you guys would benefit from more time or not. Thank you for sharing your point of view on that.

    Rachelle, an FB page would be really easy to do, and like you said might be a good extension of the community here. It's going on my to-do list.

    Thanks so much for your feedback, guys! If you have more thoughts and suggestions, please share them! I take Sundays off, so I might not respond right away tomorrow, but I'll see them on Monday.

  28. The two times that I've missed entering the prompt contest have been because of crazy weeks, so I'm in the same boat as Jordyn. Two weeks, or just a week and a half, would earn a sincere "thank you" from me. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but that's how I feel. :) And I usually turn in my entry the day before or the day of because I write it, let it rest, then go back and write it.

    I can't wait to "like" that page!! Thanks so much, Stephanie! :)

  29. How long, ideally, would you guys like for prompts? 10 days? 2 weeks?