Tag Archives: teen author

Mirthless Musings

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It’s difficult moving forward in life when you don’t know exactly where you want to go.

There are phases that we go through; times when you’re convinced of your convictions, and when beliefs seem to feel like the truth.  But once these phases lose their luster and the part of you that was originally stone turns to sand…

…all that’s left is your hollow, formless body, driven by the wind.

There will always be decisions to make; we know that.  And we can control what decisions we make.  But we can never see the future or know whether or not our choices will make us happy.  We can choose a path, but we don’t know where it leads.  How can we choose when so much seems to hang in the balance?

In regards to phases, it seems fair to ask Which phases stayed the longest?  Which phases keep reoccurring?  Are these really not phases at all, but simply something that must be rekindled again and again?

I am in love with writing.  I am in love with my girlfriend.  I am in love with God and my faith.  I am good at many, many things.  I am a people person.  I am a strong person.  I am a weak person.  I am a doubtful person.  I am a realistic person.  I am a hopeful person.

I need money.  I need friends.  I need God.  I need love.  I need security.

I want happiness.  I want everything.  I want to need nothing.

Who am I?  Where am I going?  What does God want from me?

What choices can I make that will fulfill all these longings?


College.  Heh.  That’s what it will do to you.

-Dominic

Moving Forward–Another Chapter Begins!

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Alright everyone, I’m only 11 days away from college!  It’s all happening so fast…I’m not sure I’m totally prepared for all the changes happening in my life.

But…as usual…oh well 🙂

Some updates!  I FINALLY got a new computer.  It’s a nice, silver, shiny HP that actually has this weird retro look (kind of like those old Dell computers).  But it’s a great model and it should serve me well throughout college.

Another update: I…um…well…FINISHED BOOK TWO OF ELITHIUS!!!

You read that correctly.

Book two of my fantasy series, Elithius, is finally complete.  I don’t have a cover to show off (yet), but here’s a brief overview of the story!


Name: Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within

Genre: Fantasy/Anime/Dark/AWESOME!!!

Length: 375+ pages

Plot:  John Hedekira and his friends must venture into the Gray Lands in order to rescue John’s sister, Cassie.  Upon entering the Gray Lands, they make new friends…and new enemies.  Before they know it, they are thrown into the middle of a raging war, in which loyalties and friendships will be tested, darker and more heinous powers will challenge them…and souls will be ripped apart.

The adventures of John and his friends have only begun.


More information to come!  As always, let me know what you think!

Interested in reading book one of Elithius?  Grab a copy here.

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Cover art by Elizabeth M

The Cry of Youth

You are too calculating. Don’t tell me you are young. Youth gives all it can: it gives itself without reserve.

-St. Josemaria Escriva

There is an innate desire within a young person to respond to the “callings” of youthhood.  What are these callings?

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Callings for greatness.  For change.  For renewal.  For love.  For Truth.

These are not only “callings” that every youth possess, whether knowingly or not.  They are cries; even if a young person doesn’t know it, even if I don’t know it, there is a part of me that cries out for these callings, desperately yearning to fulfill them.

To be young is powerful; to be young is to be innovative.  To be young is to be idealist–and a little naive, yes.  But to be young is to have strength and, to quote the saint above, to “give itself without reserve”.

Have you ever turned on a popular kids TV show and been amazed by the simplicity, the beauty, the innocence, and the passion with which the characters think, act, and speak?  Think about Avatar: The Last Airbender.  There is so much we can take away from this television series; the beauty of it all, the innocence of the characters, their child-like yet laudable determination to bring justice to the world…the list goes on and on!

Think of Katniss from The Hunger Games and her desire to bring about change within her world, to rip out the old and bring in the new.  Think about so much of the anime out there that features young characters pitted against older opponents.  This style of story telling, in which youth struggles against the old, the innocence of truth fights against the lies of the world, is not practiced merely so that the stories will appeal to children.  Having younger characters is not merely fanservice.   There is something unique, deep, and profound that the youthfulness inside of us is trying to say, whether we know it or not.

The world needs youth, and it needs change.  We must never cast wisdom and experience aside; we must never cast Truth aside.  But the change that the world requires must come from youth…because it is the youth of the world that will shape the future.

What are we doing to empower young people to initiate this change in the world and renew the good parts of the old, while casting off the mediocrity of the past?

Writing is my way to be a rebel.  To be defiant.  To rise up to the challenges of the world and declare that I will not be defeated.  I am strong and powerful because of writing.  Because of writing, I can create change.  Because of writing, I can declare the Truth.

Roaring out like a lion, fighting with the fire of innocent, pure determination…crying out that youth has come to reclaim what the world was always meant to be.


I’m an idealist, I know 🙂

If anyone is interested in joining a young writer’s club, please contact me in the comment section below or email me at aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com!  Age range: 15-22 (exceptions can be made).  Participation required: (minimal/as much as you want!)

Oh, and did I mention that I wrote a book that simply BREATHES everything I just talked about above?

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Cover art by Elizabeth M

Check it out here!

Join the Voice of Youth Writer’s Club!!!!

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WELCOME!!!

Alrighty people, I’ve finally got things up and running.

If you would like to join my young writers club, The Voice of Youth, please say so in the comment section below.  I will send you an invitation to become an Author of my new blog, the blog upon which the club will be based.  As an Author, you will be able to create your own posts and contribute your own thoughts to the rest of the club.  All I need is your “yes” and your username or email, and you’ll be admitted!

To get some people up to speed…

This club is for youths ages 15-22 (exceptions can be made though).

We are all about helping each other become better writers by sharing our work, constructively critiquing others, and discussing diverse writing topics.

For newly published/self published authors, we are all about promoting each other and helping each other get the most attention possible.

Participation requirements: minimal (we are flexible)

Rules of conduct: Be courteous.  No bullying, threats, inappropriate comments, images, or publications of any kind.  Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in termination of your membership.

With all that out of the way, let’s have fun! 😀 😀 😀

Here’s the mission statement:

The Voice of Youth is a group of writers dedicated to helping each other write stories that promote the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, by providing constructive criticism, honest feedback, and promotional resources, so as to create a vibrant writing community with enough power to move mountains.

If you are on board with all of this, or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment!

So excited to get this started!  If you’re interested, don’t be shy!!

The Journey Of Being a Writer

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Writing is at times a lonely endeavor.  You start out with a sense of determination, as if writing and promoting your story is your destiny.  The road seems long and challenging, but you’re ready to face whatever will come.  Maybe there’s a mountain or two you have to climb, but the winding pathways of those mountains will have their serene moments, their glorious panoramas, moments of beauty.

You feel all of this before you start you journey…and then, well, the journey actually starts.  And it’s a lot worse than you anticipated.

You thought perhaps the solitude would give you a sense of purpose, maybe even a sense of heroism, since heroes rarely actually share glory.  But now you’re feeling as if loneliness is closing in on all sides, and you feel as if everything you do is worthless because there’s nobody to see the progress you’re making.  Maybe it doesn’t even feel like progress, because no one is cheering you on.

The mountains don’t seem so fair when you’ve now got this negative outlook on your journey.  Instead of being a journey filled with adventure and excitement, it’s a journey filled with struggle, stress, and fear.  You thought you could carry the world on your shoulders, but now, the world is crushing you.

Writing…hmm…doesn’t seem so great any more.

So you try to find some friends, but you can tell your friendship doesn’t run deep.  You share your feelings with them, and they share their feelings with you, but neither party is willing to drink what washes over them.  You are both unwilling to engage each other and enter into each other’s lives.  Secretly, you are both competing for the same prize.

You wonder if companionship is possible.  You wonder if it’s even possible to break free of your loneliness, of your depression, of your stress.  You cannot connect with anyone, you cannot find help, and you don’t know why.

Until you find the Tree.

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Each person is but a mere branch.  We tend to think that we are our own tree, growing up in the big, intimidating forest.  But no.  We are all a part of the same tree.

Big and small, young and old, something connects all writers.  The moment we realize this, the moment we stop pushing and shoving.  We stop fighting for attention.  We stop cheating on each other, looking over our shoulders, and being dishonest.  We stop patting each other, and ourselves, on the back.  We become critical because we care.  We become attentive because we want to be.  We become a community.

We become what we were meant to be…a part of the Tree.

A Tree cannot survive without roots.  One day, each of us will take part in becoming those roots.  But this won’t happen unless we accept our role in being a branch…just a branch.  Not the trunk.  Not the roots.  A branch.

I am a branch of this tree, and you are too, most likely.  The Tree that connects us the part of ourselves that longs to set our imagination free; the part of ourselves that yearns for creative expression, that yearns for beauty, and truth, and goodness, and a desire to share this.  We are all in love with the same thing.  We are all in love with the Tree.  We must only look deep enough to see that we are all a part of it.

I am a part of this tree.  Are you?

Any Young Writers Interested in Joining a Club?

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WELCOME!!!

Yes, that’s a long title.  But I wanted to get your attention.

I am literally thinking up all of this on the fly.  But wouldn’t it be great if a Young Writer’s Club was started on WordPress?  Does something like this actually exist?

The purpose of the club would be to promote unity, critical thinking, support, and shared love of writing with other young authors.

Age range would be for people between 15 and 22.  Exceptions could be made.

This would be more a MOVEMENT, not an official club.  I would essentially “run the show”, but I would be equal to every member.  If anyone has an idea for how to promote our club, or an idea for a direction we go in, please voice your opinion!

Once again, thinking on the fly…

We could meet once every week?  Once every two weeks?  Once every month?  Preferably on a Saturday or Sunday, when people don’t have classes?

The only thing I am interested in promoting for personal reasons is the following mission statement:

(Insert name of club) is a group of writers dedicated to helping each other write stories that promote the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, by providing constructive criticism, honest feedback, and promotional resources, so as to create a vibrant writing community with enough power to move mountains.

(I’m still working on that last part, but it sounds epic, right?)

Let’s face it.  What’s the power of old people?  Experience.

What’s the power of young people?  Fearlessness.  Passion.  Lots and lots of passion.

As a movement of young writers, I’d like to see young writers USING their passion.  And using it for good.  That part about the “true, good, and beautiful” in the mission statement wasn’t something I pulled out of my butt.  That phrase is taken from what Ancient Greek philosophers and artists tried to proclaim and portray through their art.

We want to proclaim what is True because nothing is more wonderful to the mind than the Truth.

The Truth will show us, and therefore society, what is Good.

And, once we understand the Good, we can manifest what is Beautiful.

It’s a wonderful philosophy, isn’t it?

What do you think?

If you are within the age range of 15-22 and are interested in joining or have any questions, please comment or email me at:

aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com

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Let’s be like Captain America.  Let’s move a country.  Move the world.

What If My Story Isn’t Good Enough?

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“What if my story isn’t good enough?”

“What if no one likes my idea?”

“Do I feel bored of my own idea?”

Have you ever had these doubts?  Of course you have.  If you’re a writer, then you’ve probably wrestled with these fears before, or you’re wrestling with them right now.  We constantly fear being rejected, being forgotten, or seeing our hard work go to waste.

The truth is, writing a story is a lot like being in a relationship.

“What if he doesn’t like me”

“What if I’m not good enough for her?”

“Do I feel bored with my relationship?”

It’s crazy how similar writing is to a relationship.  What’s important to remember, I think, is that, as in relationships, we have to PERSEVERE.  I mean, if a relationship isn’t good for us or the other person, usually we stop, right?  Hopefully we do.  And the same goes with writing.  If a “story relationship” REALLY isn’t working out, meaning you don’t feel captivated by your own story, or you are feeling like it isn’t worth it, then maybe it’s time to find a different story.

HOWEVER, it’s okay to just “not feel it” some days.  That happens in real life relationships…but that doesn’t mean the relationship is bad.  Bad days happen.  Good days also happen too.  And it’s important to remember that and, once again, PERSEVERE.

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PERSEVERE!

You’re never going to get what you want and be where you want to be in ANY kind of relationship unless you persevere.

Rekindle your imagination.  Think of your favorite parts.  Rewrite and reread.  Fall in love again.  Make plans.  Take breaks.  And, most importantly, be patient.  Great writers don’t fall from the sky, so you probably won’t either!

Writing a story is like being in a relationship.  What’s your relationship like?

The Advice I Got From a Hollywood Producer

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A while back, I had the honor of asking for and receiving advice from Joel Eisenberg, a Hollywood producer whose books are now becoming a television series (The Chronicles of Ara).

This information just doesn’t get old!

So here are the questions I asked him, after reading a post about his journey as a writer.

My Questions

Hi Joel,

Would you call your story of becoming a writer…relatable? How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.? I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?

From what you said, I understand that you literally gave up everything to become a writer. Maybe it didn’t seem like you were giving anything up, but from my perspective, it certainly seems like it. You ditched reason and what others would call having a “normal life” (by ditching your job!). I understand that this worked for you in the long run…but would you encourage others to do the same thing, even though this could potentially distort someone’s life…and then, in the end, it may not even pan out the way it did for you?

Just coming to you honestly, thanks for any advice!

-Dominic

His Reply

Love the questions, Dominic. Thank you and I appreciate your honest feedback more than you know. Let me try to take these in order.

“Would you call your story of becoming a writer … relatable?”

– My path was my path; some may relate, others may not. Remember, Dominic, as I mentioned in a prior reply above – everyone’s path is individual. Some may have commitments with their children, for example, while others may have no children. Some may work 15 hour days to pay bills and work jobs they loathe, while others may have certain freedoms based on the amount of money in a savings account. Your path will never exactly follow another.

However, like John Grisham, who worked countless hours as an attorney and wrote “The Firm” in whatever spare moments he had, like Stephen King and so many others … A person can ALWAYS find the time to write, or send an email query, or replay to a blog post. It becomes then a question of time management and discipline to most prudently work with the tools you have to attain your goals.

“How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.?”

– That was actually my problem for so long. I waited and waited and waited some more … and nothing happened. There were projects here and there, stacks of returned scripts … but my career went nowhere. It’s only when I got desperate that I realized only I could turn all this around. I did something I never did – I wrote that book (and did have a few non-performing films prior) – and it made all the difference for me. I PROACTIVELY kept in touch with all the people who contributed that trod similar paths, and I PROACTIVELY kept up my networking group for years. I got out of my comfort zone. I don’t believe “luck” was part of the equation.

“I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?”

– I made that same observation and asked myself that exact question for so many years. I’ve so been there. But see above. I never stopped writing. I never stopped dreaming. The sacrifices were outrageous and I would not recommend those sacrifices to everyone. But, again, I’ve always had a sort of primal “need” to write; it’s always been more than a simple “want” for me. I made it work. The others who share similar stories made it work as well.

Look, sacrifice is a monster. I ended relationships, risked sleeping on the street, and a relatively new marriage, didn’t eat well, paid bills late … I would not recommend this. But my point is — I found the way. I tell people who attend my courses, speaking engagements and such that they don’t have to go to the extent I have. I did all the work. I learned what works and what does not, and why. There is no road map; if there was everyone would follow it and everyone would share the same degree of success.

There’s not a roadmap, though, but what there is are very specific strategies to save you an insane amount of work to help you get where you need to be.

Not luck, science.

Hope the response helps …


I was so happy that he took me seriously and actually got back to me!  I also respected that he didn’t sugar-coat anything; he was being totally honest.  Overall, I think what he said was encouraging, but you still get the sense that being a writer is HARD.

What do you think of his response?  Thoughts?


So I published a book!!!  Here’s the description:

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His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.

But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.

The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.

Do check it out here if you’re interested!!!

 

Time is Everything–How Do You Manage Your Time?

Time is money.  No time to waste.  Don’t have time for this.  Need more time.  If only I had the time.  Time flies when you’re having fun.

We’ve all heard or said these things before.  Why?  Because it’s true.  Time is important to us and we never seem to have enough of it.  At times, it’s frustrating…because we want more time, or we wish we would’ve spent our time differently.

It all goes back to the fact that time is limited.  Whether you have three hours of free time to accomplish something, or whether you’re just thinking about your life as a whole.  Time is limited.  And so we value it.

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So the question becomes, “How should I manage my time?”  And it’s an important question!  Because so much depends on the answer to this question.

I’m only going to investigate this question as it pertains to writing.  We have so much we want to accomplish, so many things to do between blogging, writing, editing, networking, etc.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed (like yours truly).  Besides all that, we have our lives to attend to also: relationships, work, school, etc.

Write When You’re In the Mood…and Write A LOT!

This might seem obvious, but it’s the truth.  Sometimes we don’t have time to write when we’re in the mood, unfortunately.  But when you do have time and you’re in the mood to write, edit, or blog (or any combination), DO IT.

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When you’re in the mood…

Essentially, the idea is to poop out as much work as you can, acting solely off of your “mood to write”.  For instance, I’m usually in the mood to blog on Saturday mornings.  So what do I do?  I blog (duh).  But I also write SEVERAL posts, allowing my determination to keep me going so that I not only have a post for the weekend, but also for throughout the coming week.

In the end, as you might imagine, this SAVES TIME.  In fact, it ensures that I actually have something to publish on WP, which is important.  Because then I don’t have to take time away from school or work to blog.  In the end, writing when you’re in the mood is extremely important.

Sleep Schedule

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This is something interesting that I’ve been noticing with many big-time authors out there.  They readjust their schedule to suit their writing-moods and the amount of alone-time they have.  Let’s be honest, having alone-time is extremely important when it comes to writing.

Sleep is totally necessary: please make sure you’re getting enough of it!  But if you think you’d be comfortable writing right after you wake up, then maybe it’s time to set your alarm clock for an hour earlier.  Maybe this means sacrificing some of your night life.  But will it be worth it?  I think so.

Consider readjusting your sleep schedule.  Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn Series and many more, goes to bed at 3 A.M. and wakes up at 11 A.M.  That’s still 8 hours of sleep!  And it works for him as a writer.  He gets to spend the day with his family and then he gets to write at night.

Obviously, we aren’t Brandon Sanderson (yet 😉 ).  But you get the idea.  Adjusting your sleep schedule can produce great results for your writing-life!

Work With People

If writing is important to you, don’t be afraid to work with the people in your lives to ensure that you have time to write.  This is a touchy subject, I know.  I would never encourage you to be selfish with your time; other people might deserve your attention more than your writing.  This might suck at times, but it’s part of being a family, friend, employee, etc.

And all of these (at least being a family) is more important than writing.  Let’s keep things in perspective.

But you can still try to make people understand 🙂

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Hope these tips help!  Please share your tips about how to save time and write more!

 

Let’s All Be Honest–How Should You Price Your Book?

I think this is actually an important topic because everybody wants to sell something, but a lot of people are afraid to buy.  I would fit into this category 🙂

How high (or low) should you price your book?

Obviously, if you’re already doing well on the promotional side of publishing, you can probably make your book cost a bit more…you know, the normal price that a book should cost.  That being said, I see a lot of newbies trying to promote their stories by promoting “freebies”–books that are totally free of charge.

I understand the mentality behind freebies, I really do.  In fact, I’ve done it.  Freebies help you build an audience, get reviews, etc.  The goal is to gain loyal readers.  And, hopefully, if they like your free stuff, they’ll come back to BUY things from you too.

Yeah, that was my mentality.  I made the first book of my series free, hoping that people would eat it up and then come back hungry for the second volume.  Well, it sort of worked…the first book has received over 300 downloads.  But how many has the second book received (when it’s only priced at 99 cents?)? Like 12.

Seriously?

The thing about freebies is that sometimes it doesn’t even WORK.  It’s a waste of effort and can even be a waste of time.  Nowadays, I’m very serious about selling your book for MONEY.

Why?

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Because you worked hard to write something.  You worked hard to edit it, to publish it, and to promote it.  Why should you just give it away?  Your time and talent should be worth something.

To be honest, whenever I see a book that’s free, yes, part of me thinks, “Oh, I’ll just download it because it’s free.”  But another part of me is like, “Will it even be a high-quality book?  It’s free!”

The point is, making your book free can turn some people off.  Because writing that is WORTH something will COST something.

But then, back to the original question:  How much should you price your book?

Yes, I am asking for advice because my book (after a makeover, new name, and more editing) will be coming out soon.

My book is 300+ pages long.  I’ve worked really hard on it.  Do I want to sell it for “free”?  For 99 cents?

No, I don’t.  Because I think my book is worth more than that.

I guess the point of this post is to ask you to be real with yourself and with others.  How much should someone else’s work of art cost?  How much should YOUR work of art cost?  What are you saying by making your book free?

Think about it.

What’s the point of earning “readership” by promoting a freebie, if, in the end, you really haven’t gained any loyal readers?  It’s easy to download a book for free.  But it means so much more when someone actually BUYS your book.  Also, if they buy it, then they’ll be more obliged to READ it.  And that’s what we want as writers.  That’s how we hook readers.  And isn’t that the goal?

I’m coming out and being honest.  When my book comes out, it will not be free.  This is my decision to make.  I hope all of you can respect that and still give my book a chance, if you’re interested.

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Don’t be scared though, I’m not going to make my book super pricey either!!  I’m not Shakespeare yet 😉


What do you think?