John Scalzi on Teenage Writing

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For those that don’t read Scalzi’s blog–I peak in on occasion–there has been somewhat of a controversy going on there between he and all those Teenage Writers out there. Read it here.

So, I started to think as I was writing earlier about this. Scalzi is essentially correct. All teenage writers are in that phase where generally speaking their writing will suck. Of course, there are exceptions, and this has some bearing on the fact that I am editing the TW Anthology. I want to find those gems. And there will be some because TW has quite a few talented writers.
As it is, I find it interesting that there seem to be phases in a writers life. I would place the phases as follows:

Phase One–Birth: This is that phase where you start to write and someone comes along and says “that’s pretty good”, or you come to the revelation that you really like writing. Most people never get out of this phase because they quit.
Phase Two–Adolescence & the Teenage Years: This is the point that Scalzi is talking about. It’s that part of your life where you love writing and you do write, but it’s not professional caliber. It’s utter garbage, essentially.
Phase Three–Starvation: This is that phase where you’ve developed your craft so it doesn’t suck, but at the same time you’re not going anywhere with it. You haven’t hit that sweet spot yet. This is where I’m at. Nobody is biting yet.
Phase Four–Charitable Relations: Success! You’ve been published. And that’s it. You’ve got a real publication under your belt. A lot of writers stop here, or publish a couple more and stop.
Phase Five–Golden Age: If you get lucky to be here, and yes, it is entirely luck, then you are one of the chosen. You are now making a living writing. Scalzi is here! Congrats Scalzi!
Phase Six–Fallout: Alas! You’ve been writing so long your ideas are getting tired! Welcome yourself among the ranks of Stephen King and the like. Granted, the writing isn’t crap, but it’s not Golden Age anymore. You’re falling off the wagon. This happens towards the late period of someones’ career.
Phase Seven–Death: You just stop writing. End of game. You’re done. This implies retirement of course.
Phase Seven Alternate–Rebirth: It’s rare, but this happens. Sometimes you’ll fall into the Fallout stage and then BAM you create a rare gem! And then you’re right back in the Golden Age again!

So, what do you all think about it? Any thoughts?

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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