quaranTEEN voices



Feeling isolated and bored during quarantine? Now’s your chance to connect with teens and professional authors from around the country! We’ll talk about writing, how we’re getting through social distancing, and share our own work through quaranTEEN voices.

Each week, you’ll receive an email with two writing prompts created by a guest author. You respond to the prompts on your own if you like. Then join us on Friday to meet our author, make new friends, and work on the prompts together at the quaranTEEN voices gathering.

Sign up for quaranTEEN voices here


July 17 – Playing with Timelines with Phil Stamper

Special guest Phil Stamper joins us for this week’s quaranTEEN voices! Phil is a YA author whose debut novel, The Gravity of Us, was published in February 2020. The book is about two teen boys who find love when their parents’ NASA mission completely uproots their lives. It captures the thrill of first love and teenage self-doubt. His next novel, As Far As You’ll Take Me, will be released in February 2021. Phil grew up in rural Ohio and now lives in Brooklyn.

From Phil Stamper:
Authors are always playing with timelines. This is important for people writing in any genre, but it gets especially complicated when you’re writing something in a ‘present-day’ setting. Even though it’s a challenge, it’s also a lot of fun to think about both the past and the future when writing.

Whether you’re bringing an element from the past into the modern era or inventing something new in a present-day or near-future piece, playing with history is an interesting way to push the boundaries of realistic fiction. But it’s broadly applicable, too—when I write a book with a “present day” setting, it’s likely that book will come out years after I originally wrote it. Because of that, contemporary writers always have to be ahead of the curve.

Here are a couple writing prompts that play with time:

Prompt #1:
Ever hear the phrase “History repeats itself?” Start by thinking about a moment from the last 100 years that stands out to you, then modernize it in a present-day story. Think about the various elements that led to the historic moment: conflict, innovation, communication (or lack there-of), and see what those elements would look like today.

Prompt #2:
In this one, let’s reach slightly beyond our timeline. Write a fictional piece set 1-3 years into the future. Think of what’s happening right now and how it will influence our lives in the near future. What new technology will we have? What social media platform will you be using? What laws will be passed? What will our day-to-day life look like? And through all this, what do you think will stay the same?

Check out talks from our previous guest authors here, and read works written in previous sessions here!


Miss the prompts from previous weeks? Use the links below to catch up!

Spring 2020
Week 1: Quarantine Silver Linings
Week 2: Accessing Your Memories with J. Courtney Sullivan
Week 3: Small Details with Jacqueline Woodson
Week 4: Objects & Habits with Isaac Fitzgerald
Week 5: Last Times with Amanda Gorman
Week 6: Screenwriting with Spike Jonze
Week 7: Taboo Emotions with Tiphanie Yanique
Week 8: Getting Into Character with Lilliam Rivera
Week 9: Playing With Words with Aracelis Girmay
Week 10: Release with Claudia Rankine
Week 11: Making Conversation with P. Carl
Week 12: Social Movements with Lisa Ko


Summer 2020
Week 1: Reimagining Stories with Lev Grossman
Week 2: Playing with Timelines with Phil Stamper

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