quaranTEEN voices

quaranTEEN voices gives young writers the space to connect with each other, as well as with professional authors from around the country! Students receive writing prompts written by the author to work on independently, and on Friday, they meet our guest author, make new friends, and talk about writing. Teens have the option to share their work at the quaranTEEN voices virtual gathering as well.

Sign up for quaranTEEN voices here

All gatherings take place on Zoom, 3:30–4:30PM EST.

Daniel Ehrenhaft • October 30

Daniel Ehrenhaft is the author of several books for children and young adults, such The Last Dog on Earth and 10 Things To Do Before I Die. He has written so many books, in fact, that he has lost count. Daniel writes because he loves to read, and he aspires to do for young readers what his favorite authors did for him. If he had it his way, he’d get paid to read. But he has other hobbies too, such as traveling the globe on a doomed mission to achieve rock stardom. When he’s not doing that, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife, dog, and cat.

From Daniel:

If you love to read as much as I do, then you probably also share an irrational love of writing. If you’re invested enough to work on your own fiction, then as far as I’m concerned you are worthy of respect. For that reason, I tried to avoid clichés prompts so that you can take your writing to the next level. (You know: “Imagine your day, but if you were an alien!”)

Sometimes when you’re stuck in a story, it can be helpful to get a new perspective or new ideas by doing a short activity based on your characters. The below are consonant with my novels The Last Dog on Earth and 10 Things To Do Before I Die in that they involve characters who feel misunderstood.

Choose a piece of writing you’ve already drafted. It could be a section of a longer story or just a short scene. Then, use one of the prompts below to understand your characters better and get deeper into your piece. Maybe it’ll take you in a direction you didn’t expect and a side character will become more important. Or maybe you’ll use what you learn through the activity to help you revise.

Prompt 1:
Pick a key moment of epiphany or realization for your main character and rewrite it from the point of view of an unimportant side character. How might a less important character perceive the realization? What do you learn about your main character (and their epiphany) through this new perspective?

Prompt 2:
Swap the ages of two characters and rewrite a scene between them. How do their ages change the way they interact with each other? Do you learn anything new about the scene or the characters when you switch their ages?

Prompt 3:
Most writers (and readers!) would agree that conflict is often what makes us learn about a character and keeps a story moving. Sometimes we end up making our protagonist deal with a terrible situation for the sake of the tale. Write a letter to your main character, apologizing for something you put them through in your story. How did that conflict help your piece?

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter HERE to receive weekly prompts and other virtual youth writing opportunities right to your inbox!

Fall quaranTEEN voices Schedule

Mariama Lockington • October 2
Karen Russell • October 16
Daniel Ehrenhaft • October 30
Rachel Eliza Griffiths • November 13
GD Falksen • November 30
Rebecca Stead • December 11

Check out talks from our previous guest authors here, and read works written in previous sessions here! You can also find all the previous prompts in the list below.

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
Week 3: Where I’m From with John Murillo
Week 4: Where It’s At with Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Week 5: Using Your Senses with Shruti Swamy
Week 6: Something True with Kelly Jensen
Week 7: Writing With Feeling with Megha Majumdar
Week 8: The Beast with Ada Limón