Starting that young has some interesting consequences in and of itself. But any beginner at any age runs into trouble sometimes. I certainly made a lot of mistakes as I worked my way into being in the know about the industry and lots of people I've known have made these same mistakes. So if you're a beginning writer, you might take some notes. Get off on a better foot than I ever did!
-- Including a lot of violence and gore to make the work seem more legitimate...
-- ...but still deciding not to actually kill any characters off somehow.
-- Throwing in best friends and cats and saving them from obvious deaths just because I couldn't imagine life without them.
-- Basing my book off of an imaginary game me and my friends played, for that matter.
-- Or off of a dream that I then barely changed in the writing, which made some bits of worldbuilding quite confusing.
-- Going way too heavy on the romance, even though I was 12 and it was a middle grade novel. I had lots of feels, though, to be fair.
-- Removing the existence of parents because parents are too much trouble. This is a common trope for children's lit. There are a lot of tropes out there to not follow -- just look them up, or you could follow parody Twitter accounts. Plus, here are a few tropes I personally recommend you avoid. (Interestingly enough, it wasn't until 8th and 9th grade that I really got tropey, as part of my writerly development. But I did stop killing off parents by then.)
-- Reacting so badly to a critique of the book's title that I destroyed the story's entire existence, except for one snippet in my journal.
-- Not actually editing anything. Whoops.
-- Not using the page break or automatic indent functions in Word.
-- Querying publishers instead of literary agents, mostly big ones that definitely don't look at you if you don't have an agent.
-- Not editing before querying.
-- Mentioning my age in the query.
-- Did I mention, not editing before querying?
-- Querying from my mom's email address. Although to be fair, she didn't give me much choice. Parental controls on email and stuff.
-- Not really researching the people I sent to beyond their query requirements. Which is still a lot more than a lot of beginners manage, but it turns out it's really good to know what's up with each individual you're sending to.
-- Speaking of which, I didn't address the first few queries I sent to the person by name, I just did the To Whom it May Concern thing. Make it personal. That's important.
Do get your research in pretty well before you start, though, I'd say. Also, EDIT. EDITING IS YOUR FRIEND.
Thanks for reading and I'll see you next time for our July humor post!
Images via zmescience.com and ncsl.org.