Let’s talk about this: may I recommend…

friendly waiter

I shall be posting another lengthy discussion of name use in manuscripts later this evening, of course, but since those of us in the United States are heading into a long weekend, I thought I would devote a few inches of blog space to asking all of you charming, erudite members of the Author! Author! community to weigh in on some issues that have been floating around my mind of late. (Like, for instance, whether a sentence as long as the one I just finished typing is ever justifiable within a blog context.) I’m always glad when readers post comments, but these are topics I don’t think anyone has brought up lately.

I honestly would like to know what you think on any or all of these. In no particular order:

(1) In the book category in which you have chosen to write, what is your favorite book, or couple of books? What about that book made you want to write for that audience?

(2) If you met a writer who had just decided to write in your category, what books would you advise her to read? I don’t just mean books on craft (although it’s always interesting to hear which writers find helpful), but also those that would give a neophyte a sense of what books in your category should be.

(3) If you met a junior high school or high school student who wanted to be a writer, what books would you immediately hand him? (Yes, I know — I’ve asked a version of this one before, but book trends vary so much that I’m curious to see if people’s answers have.)

(4) If you bumped into a parent whose child had been devouring the TWILIGHT books, but was not a reader in general, what books would you advise the parent to slide under the kid’s nose next? (A question I hear from parents approximately four times per week, by the way.)

(5) If you are a teenager (or younger) who writes, what are the best and/or worst books adults have recommended to you? If none have struck you as especially apt, what books do you think they should have handed you?

(6) What made your best writing teacher so good? Conversely, what made your worst one so bad?

Okay, that’s probably enough for one Let’s Talk About It post. As you MIGHT have been able to tell from the general bent of the questions, I spent part of today chatting with the mother of a Seattle-area teen who wants to be a writer. She asked me which local high school had the best writing program — please pipe up, if you have a good answer for that — and I spent the next fifteen minutes explaining that from a professional writer’s perspective, what makes a great writing class is not just what is taught, but also what isn’t taught. Bad writing habits, to say nothing of mundane ones, are much harder to unlearn than most people believe.

All of which, naturally, made me think of you fine people and all you had learned over the years. Do let me know what you think.

And, of course, keep up the good work!

P.S.: Speaking of Seattle-area young writers, I’ve just received word that a local magazine is looking for a summer intern, ideally, one who can write. Should any member of the Author! Author! community be interested, just say so in the comments, and I’ll pass along the info. (Don’t worry about providing contact information; the blogging program will let me send a private e-mail response to a post.)

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