Friday, July 26, 2013

Sucker Literary Magazine Volume 2! Plus The Hows and Whys of Writing for Teens from Candi Fite.

Sucker Literary Magazine, Volume 2 is available now!

When Alex’s bandmates invite a girl to sing lead, a battle of the sexes becomes a battle over something unexpected. . . A girl tells her friend about hooking up with longtime crush Fred, but his kisses are not what makes that night in his car memorable. . . A therapy session with Doug might just make Jason go insane again. . . Wallflower Aubrey hooks up with Gordon after the cast party, which would be fine if he weren’t the most forbidden fruit of them all…Savannah certainly doesn’t sound like a convict’s name, so maybe hanging out with her isn’t all that dangerous. Miki is committed to getting over Dex, yet she can’t get him off her answering machine—or her doorstep. In between puffs of cigarettes and attempts to smear lipstick on her face, Allie’s grandmother dishes out advice that maybe Allie should take. . . And finally, what’s a girl to do with Satan as both her boss and father? Nine short stories pose the questions we obsess over whether we’re growing up or all grown up: Who should I love? Am I doing the right thing? Is there ever an end to heartbreak? In its second volume, SUCKER continues to showcase the very best emerging talent in young adult literature and give (some of) the answers to Life’s Big Questions along the way.

Sucker will reopen the doors for Volume 3 submissions. One day ONLY, August 1, 2013. Find the guidelines HERE.

Sucker Free Day – July 20th and 21st

Get a free digital copy of Sucker Literary Volume 2 on Amazon.

The How & Why of Writing for Teens,

How and why do you write for teens? I've answered the question umpteen million times, mostly asked by non-writing folk, the Muggles in my writerly world.
The simplest way to write for teens is to channel your inner-teenager. You don't have to be a psychic. Grab a notebook and pick a quiet place. Maybe a park bench, a blanket spread on the grass or on the beach. Clear your mind, and conjure up your most vulnerable moments from your youth.

            Remember the day at school when you tripped running down the stairs, spilling your pile of books? Recall the flushed cheeks, the profuse sweating, and the racing heartbeat as you gathered your materials from the floor. What about the chuckles, snorts, and eye rolling? Oh yeah, the memories are flooding back, aren't they? Capture those moments, those feelings, and raw emotions. Now, without judging, jot down everything you feel, see, think, and hear. Continue to write until every single thought about the incident is on paper.

           Don't read it yet.

          Extract another memory. Maybe this time remember when you were dumped by your first real love. Gosh, do you recall the anguish? Those devastating moments when you knew you were just going to die. There, that's it. Write it down. Don't leave anything out. Remember, no judging.

Toss your adult self into timeout if you must.

Depending on the story or character you're working on, you may want to stick to a particular kind of memory, such as break-ups. Everything from your past is at your disposal. It belongs to you. Use it.

Now, go back and read, not judge, but read what you wrote. Highlight anything you may use for characterization. There may be things you can use for one character, and you can save the rest for another one in the future. It works best for me if I draft after these sessions, keeping my notebook close by so I may refer to it.

Another way you can find your authentic teen voice is to hang out with teens or around them. Teens may get creeped out when adults watch them, get too close, or listen in on their conversations. I blame it on the killer / stalker movies they watch. I'm an alleged creeper, according to my own teenaged daughters. You have to be sly. Consider yourself a secret agent, given a dangerous assignment, and proceed with caution.

Choose a local hangout. Order a pizza or coffee, break out your notebook (Look busy... remember dangerous assignment), take notes, pay attention to their body language, speech, and their interaction with others.

Write down everything, whether you think it's useful or not. Pay special attention to the quirky and unique, such as the way a boy blinks and taps his fingers as if he's in a rock band when a girl is talking to him. Is he trying to be cool or is he nervous? A girl clicks her tongue and tosses her right hand in the air when she's speaking. Does she have odd ticks or extreme animation? Keep watching. Does anyone have annoying habits? Adorable traits? Check out their clothing. Take it all in. Don't waste a single detail.

As for why I write for teens, it's a bit more personal and there are no exercises involved. I think the most obvious reason I write for teens is Young Adult is my preferred genre to read. They say write what you read. With each young adult book I read, my writing improves. My characters develop depth. My plots thicken. Beginnings begin to rock. My endings, well, I'm still mastering my endings. YA keeps me young, takes me to fabulous places, and for some strange reason, I identify with many young adult characters, which leads me into my next point.

Sometimes, I relate to teens better than adults. There are times when I feel like a teenager or when I act or speak like a teenager. Even at forty-something, I've been known to abuse the words "like" and "whatever". At times, I have a snarkish behavior my fellow adult friends don't have.

I figured I suffered from some weird Peter Pan theory, but then I began to use my immaturity to my advantage. Being able to relate to my characters is super important when writing for teens. When I wrote my short story On the Edge of Postal (Sucker Literary Vol. 1, Jan. 2012), I knew my main character Ashlynn like I know myself. I related to her in a thousand ways. She was a mash-up of all my sisters and I, and our dysfunctional childhood. I identified with her angst, her sarcasm, and her explosive behavior.

If a writer fails to relate to their character in at least some fashion, the character may fall flat, appear one-dimensional, and unauthentic. We owe it to our readers to make our characters relatable and someone they can invest their time in.

My hows and whys assist me when writing for teens. Whether or not they make sense to others is a moot point.. I don't write to impress. I write to connect, to reach out, shake one's core, and make my readers feel something. In the end, it's about the reader's experience, not mine.
Thanks, Candi for the insights.
Candy Fite writes everything from picture books to non-fiction, with a passion for creating stories for teens. Between second drafting her YA novel and shopping literary agents for her two picture books, she is working on a non-fiction book about rose rustling.  She is a member of SCBWI and the Brenham Writers Group in Texas. When not writing, she’s the busy mom of two teen girls, teaching her students yoga, and traveling and speaking for her rose group. This is her first YA publication. Candy Lynn Fite can be reached on Twitter @candylynnfite or on her blog at


  1. Thank you, Martha, for hosting us on your blog today. Candi's piece about the how and why of writing YA is spot on and her piece in volume 1 is one of my favorites. . . sister relationships. Now that is one I can relate to.

  2. Looks good, Mart! Thank you! And thank you Candi for the wonderful post!

  3. Martha, you rock!!! Thank you so much for featuring not only this post, but SUCKER, too! Hannah and her staff at SUCKER are truly the best. :)

    One note: this bio is from Sucker Vol 1, which included the old bio. Since then, I've went back to the original name spelling on my birth certificate with an "i". :) So Twitter is now @candilynnfite. If folks try to follow, candylynnfite is no longer. :D

  4. Great piece Candilynn. Thanks for posting!