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Vegan Vampires, Rainbow Horses and More! [Bad] Writing Tips from Teenagers

I’d read Dickens or Dostoevsky if they were Scratch N Sniff novels

By [Bad] Ideas for Writers (& Life)Published 2 years ago 4 min read
Teenagers give their advice on writing


ALPHONSE D. (13, Bellevue, WA):

Don’t write long stuff. If what I’m saying right now were something I had to read, I’d be out. Bored off my gourd.

SALLY (16, Centerline, MI):

Everyone thinks we like vampires or werewolves or zombies. They’re okay but it has to be more. It’s better if you add another dimension.

You mean like a love story or a quest of some sort?

Not at all. I mean like make the vampires vegan or something.

Vegan Vampires Coming Soon to a Book Near You

TOD Z (17 1/2, Maumee, OH):

There’s a trend now toward glorifying depression. We all know you can’t just tell your depressed friend or kid to snap out of it. To just be happy. We know depression is a real disease. But it’s not like it should be celebrated. Medication, therapy, time and support. What I’m saying is maybe don’t always make the depressed story, the depressed character, suicidal. Suicide isn’t bad. It’s fine. I mean if you’re gonna go around and be all rah rah about heaven and how it’s this glorious place then you can’t be all Death is Bad and Death is to be avoided. Other cultures celebrate death. Duh. Suicide as a brave act, that’s a thing to write about. I guess what I’m getting at is maybe you just lost a reader because seriously I should just kill myself. [Ed. note: He was joking. So far.]

Write with words that sound like they’re coming out of a real mouth. Don’t employ grandiose words for effect. Talk real, dude. That’s where it’s at. That’s lit.

— Wouldn’t give his name

TARA T. (16, Sonoma, CA):

It’s always wonderful when I can visualize what the writer is describing. If you tell me there’s a prince on a white horse, in my mind’s eye I picture my ideal of a prince and a white horse, but it’s probably not what the writer wants me to envision. Don’t go overboard with the details unless they’re necessary but tell me he has blonde or brown hair, or red, or green…

What if he’s bald?

The writer?

The prince.

That would be a really unique prince. Maybe he is bald and maybe the white horse has three legs and a rainbow tail. Now I’m gonna keep reading.

So, basically add details that make it come alive.

The horse?

The scene, the story.

Though if it’s a dead three-legged white horse, I’m in all the way.

WALDREN (18, Newtown, PA):

I hate writing. Reading I mean. Reading writing. If it’s words, ugh. I prefer scents. Good smells. No book is going to have that. If you can add smells to your words, I think then I’ll make the time for writing, for reading writing. And I don’t mean just make me imagine odors like doing a bit about an Italian chef searing a pan and adding sesame oil and garlic. I mean, let me smell the garlic right off the page. Scratch N Sniff. That’s what I’m talking ‘bout. Had those books as a kid. I’d read Dickens or Dostoevsky if they were Scratch N Sniff novels. Hell yeah.


True crime is catching my attention these days. Stories that have these social media hooks. Like the writer who wrote about killing someone in a series of stories on Medium which everyone thought were funny little essays, but were actually a road map to his dementia and revenge plot.

It takes a lot of research to do true crime.

Depends who you hang out with.


My sister is a police officer. She was called to a scene where they found a girl I went to high school with. She was dead in a field. Naked and her eyes had been removed. There were coins instead.

Coins for eyes?

Quarters. And the week before, I was commenting on her Facebook. She was posting about fighting with her boyfriend. She even said he was going to kill her. And he posted that he was leaving town. It’s even worse because nobody can find his last girlfriend.

So what happened?

See — true crime. Hooks ya.


Has anyone told you you should write about vampires?

Kind of.



We don’t use the L any more.

— LOUIS El M (19, Salt Lake City, UT)

PRASHANTH T. (17, Bangalore, India):

Personally, I’m tired of underdog stories. I’m way in the mood for an Overdog. Tell me about someone who is kicking ass and keeps kicking ass. Or write about the dog from Dogecoin. Write about that dog. From all the dogs in the world, that dog done just went out and got his own coin. That’s no underdog.

BYRON B. (17, Atlanta, GA):

Once upon a time, y’all lived happily ever after, the end. That’s some bullshit right there. Who does that? Anyone you know? Cuz for sure ain’t nobody I’m seeing. I guess if you need to escape, true. But escaping sucks if once you finish the story, you’re all back trapped up in your reality. I don’t read to escape. I read to laugh. And that’s not no version of escaping cuz I’m laughing all the time. My life’s one big laugh. Actually, you know what? I don’t really need to be reading. Maybe I ain’t your audience.

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About the Creator

[Bad] Ideas for Writers (& Life)

Stuff from 25+ years in Hollywood trenches. Also producing stand-up comedy tours, mostly in the Middle East and Asia with comedians from LA and NYC (for the most part) bridging cultures through laughter. They say I'm a dreamer…

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