The importance of teen authors

While Nina Martineck ('19) celebrates the official release of her second published novel, she reflects on why teenagers' words are important, too.

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The importance of teen authors

Martineck's book is officially for sale now, so purchase it on Amazon!

Martineck's book is officially for sale now, so purchase it on Amazon!

Nina Martineck

Martineck's book is officially for sale now, so purchase it on Amazon!

Nina Martineck

Nina Martineck

Martineck's book is officially for sale now, so purchase it on Amazon!

N. Martineck '19, Writer

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Think of your favorite author in the whole world. (For most of us, it’s excruciating to just pick one.) Think of every thought of their they’ve ever conveyed through their words. Every picture they’ve painted with paragraphs. Each ounce of emotion they’ve evinced from you.

 

How old were they all?

 

If such authors as S. E. Hinton, Mary Shelley, Veronica Roth, Kody Keplinger, or even Jane Austen came to mind, then one of your favorite authors published a bestselling novel before the age of twenty.

 

Though I am nowhere near the prowess of these literary geniuses, I, too, am a teen author. I published my first book, The Knowers, at age seventeen, and I’ll have a second out sometime this spring (Editor’s Note: OUT NOW! Order here.). Because of my publication, I’ve become acquainted with so many other teen authors and have read some of their work. Quite honestly, some of the things I have read that were written by high schoolers rival works produced by adults.

 

Teenagers feel things so much. There’s no such thing as a snowflake, only a blizzard; no sparks, only wildfire.”

— Nina Martineck

Inarguably, there is a stigma around teen authors. Why should anything written by someone who technically hasn’t passed high school English be of any importance? Why should we read things produced by people with so little life experience? How can teenagers convey their thoughts without creative writing degrees?

 

I was told once that I should pay attention to the way I perceive things now, at this moment of my life. To me—and to lots of us—everything at this point is a life-or-death scenario, be it a pretty dress or a petty classmate or an epidemic in Eastern Europe. Teenagers feel things so much. There’s no such thing as a snowflake, only a blizzard; no sparks, only wildfire. No flickers of emotion, only lightning. It’s all lightning, thunder, wind. There’s something stunning about that: how we feel, how we communicate, how the world turns for us, against us, and with us, all at once.

 

Adults may have seen blizzards once, but we’re lying to ourselves if we believe they don’t see blithe snowfall in its place now. They just can’t say the words we can say, or feel the things we can feel, or tell the stories that we know how to tell.

Teen authors tell stories that everyone, regardless of age, needs to hear. To be truly open-minded, one must acquaint themselves with stories from everyone. In addition to those from younger authors, we need to hear stories from marginalized groups from different races and identities, differently-abled people, those who have lived in neglected areas, and everyone in between. Why have we conditioned ourselves to hearing one type of story? Why don’t we as a society want to hear more?

 

Teen authors fit a myriad of labels and defy a myriad more. We don’t necessarily know exactly who we are yet—only who we could be. Writing is a way for us to figure it out.

 

It’s such a wonderful thing, not knowing who you are yet.

 

Next time you’re looking for a new book to read, try one written by someone your own age. Compare your outlook on life to theirs. Study how they paint their pictures and build their worlds and introduce you to the characters that waltz around their brain.

 

Who knows? Maybe you’ll pick up a pen and get to work on your own story.

(If you’re interested in my journey as a teen author, you can follow my book account on Instagram, @the.knowers, or check out my blog. If you’re a teen author—or thinking of becoming one—please let me know! I’d love to read any work you’ve written.)

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