It’s really no secret that one of the goals of my Naked World Domination Tour is to corrupt young minds. You see… some people haven’t had proper exposure to such joys as pudding wrestling, cross dressing, or innuendo. I feel there is a hole in their education that needs filling, and I am just the person to do it.
Oh, sure… what kind of role model encourages people to get naked and have a good time, you ask. The kind that knows life throws a gazillion responsibilities at people, and thinks balance is the only way to stay sane. Someone who knows fun can be fleeting if you take things too seriously, and life really ought to be fun.
Occasionally, I get some evidence that I’m doing exactly the right thing.
My Fan Fiction Home
When I first started WRITING fan fiction, I had read very little of it. I asked for a few recommendations, which led to some very good reads. But I also started watching for things my readers were writing. It’s a reciprocity thing. Now when you read the work of friends, and you’ve been interacting for a while, you get a feel pretty quickly for who just needs encouragement, and who could use some friendly suggestions for improvement.
And you know what? In a family there grows a feeling of obligation to the fledglings. I especially feel an obligation to young writers (I'm not alone, eh, Tara?). I wish I’d had someone encourage me when I was in my early 20s… my entire career path might have been different, and though I like the path it’s taken for the most part, I would love to have been an established author by this point.
And some of these young writers are amazing. They have a fresh voice and can tap into parts of themselves that bring amazing stories forward.
A Recent Facebook Discussion Incident
I am part of a couple groups that occasionally hold discussions about this or that writing topic. I find browsing comments is a good way to choose new friends. People with insightful comments are fabulous. Occasionally though, someone can get full of himself. A young writer made a comment recently about genre flopping in both her reading and writing. A man, older, and I believe established, said something to the effect that her voice couldn’t be very good if she didn’t know what she wanted to write.
I promptly sent one of those itchy crotch curses at him and encouraged her to just write. Voice can come across in different genres and I think when a person is young, testing different waters is a better way to learn than pigeon-holing in just one thing. Sometimes we have strengths we don’t know we had.
I hope that man is STILL scratching. I commented of course, also, encouraging her to try a lot of different things. She has tons of time to worry about whether she wants to stick to one genre or not. And her voice can shine through even if she genre flops all over the place. He tried to back-pedal, of course. I’m happy to have shamed him. He clearly is not used to thinking of ANYTHING but his own grandiose head size, much less acting as mentor to people who will carry the day when he is dead and buried.
All of us who are a little more mature and confident should be nurturing young people (heck, even old people who aren’t as far process-wise need a little nurturing--I adore the generous people who've been so helpful). When we write into a void it is hard to keep going, so the nurturing is important encouragement.
I convinced a posse of these people (some a little younger than me, most A LOT younger than me) to participate in NaNoWriMo, and as I watch their word counts soar I feel a little patter of pride. When these people reach my age they’ll have a dozen books published. They’ll be superstars. I can only hope they’re still naked.