Young Emerging Authors Fellowship

Congratulations to the 2018 YEA Fellows on their published books!

Kathleen Thomas is no stranger to The Telling Room. Over the years, this ninth grader has participated in several of our afterschool programs, including Writers Block and Publishing Workshop, and has been published in our year-end anthologies. Homeschooled in Standish, Kathleen wrote a fantasy novel, Quick, about a clan of orphaned bandits fending for themselves in a desert oasis when a vengeful mage and his caravan invade.

Rylee Sinclair, a senior at Baxter Academy, wrote a coming of age urban fantasy novel, Tell Me the Future, about a pair of psychic twins dealing with the after-effects of a heroic, though traumatic, quest five years earlier, a process that takes them back to the small New England town where their lives were forever changed.

Raina Sparks came to us as a sophomore at Cape Elizabeth High School to publish The First Rule of Dancing. Her stunningly beautiful narrative poetry, with its natural sense of rhythm and sophisticated and sometimes surprising empathy, seeks to explore the complex lives of “everyday” women – “their struggles, their weaknesses, their trials, but ultimately their strength and their individuality.”

Elizabeth Flanagan, a junior at Medomak Valley High School, joined us all the way from Waldoboro each week to work on her historical novel, The Secrets They Left Behind. In alternating chapters set in 1950s Iowa and Prohibition-era Chicago, 14-year-old Clara, a collector of secrets, sets out to unravel the truth of her late father’s past. When a mysterious stranger comes to town, more questions are raised.

 

 

The 2018-19 YEA Program

What is YEA?

The Telling Room's Young Emerging Author (YEA) fellowship is our writing and publishing program that offers successful applicants the chance to plan, write, edit, design, and publish their own books in a single year. In weekly sessions at The Telling Room, fellows work collaboratively, writing and sharing their work, and independently with professionals in the writing and publishing industries, including authors, editors, agents, designers, and publishers.

The year is divided into four parts:

• In the fall, fellows engage in an intensive writing workshop to hone their book ideas and shape the arcs of their books;
• In the winter, they move on to peer editing and one-on-one sessions with individual writing coaches;
• In the spring, they begin an immersion in pre-publication production including design and marketing; and,
• In the summer, they launch their books with public readings, events, and book tours.

The YEA fellowship is a free program open to applicants ages 12-18. The selected cohort meets for the first time in the fall and continues to meet weekly, on Tuesdays from 3:00-5:00 pm at The Telling Room’s writing center in downtown Portland, ME, through their book launches and events the following summer.

 

Application Requirements

Do you have a novel you want to publish, or a collection of flash fiction? A batch of poetry? A graphic novel to write and illustrate? A memoir or series of personal essays? If you are between the ages of 12-18, and are ready to dedicate yourself to writing, editing, and publishing a complete book in one year, please submit the application requirements listed below to kathryn@tellingroom.org.

The application deadline for the 2018-19 YEA fellowship is 9:00 am on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

However, we strongly encourage students to apply early.

Please include:

1) A one-page pitch that answers these three questions about your proposed book:

  • What is your book about? (Be specific! Talk not just about themes but about plot and/or content.)
  • Why this book by you?
  • Why this book right now?

2) An excerpt of your proposed work in double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font. Ten (10) pages of prose or five (5) poems (10 pages max). The writing should demonstrate your voice and style. Please include sample art with any graphic novel submission.

3) A brief letter of support from someone who knows you and your writing well, such as a teacher, mentor, employer, etc. Letters from parents are accepted only as second references.

All materials should be contained in one document and attached to your email. Please use “YEA application” as a subject line for that email, and use your full name as a file name for your application document. No Pages documents, please—.doc, .docx, .rtf, and .pdf are acceptable document formats. There is no application fee. You will receive confirmation by email. Please contact us if you do not receive confirmation to ensure that we have received your application.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by Tuesday, October 9, 2017. Please check email or the website on that date for the names of the 2018-19 fellows. Fellows will begin the program on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

For more information or technical questions, please email Kathryn Williams at kathryn@tellingroom.org.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I do the program long-distance?

A: Unfortunately, no. An integral part of this program is the support of a true writer's community, as YEA peers and mentors meet face-to-face and work side-by-side. We have had students travel up to an hour each way to participate, and we are happy to write a letter in support of early dismissal from school if necessary. However, in-person attendance every Tuesday from 3:00-5:00pm is required.

Q: Does the idea for the book have to be a new one? I have several ideas I've been working on over the years.

A: The idea for your book should be the story you really want to tell. It can be an old idea or a brand new one, but you should be committed to seeing it through, as you will get sick of it (and then excited about it and then sick of it and then...over and over again). The idea should also be fairly fleshed out. The most successful participants in this program have written much of a first draft when they start, or at least are clear on the content and/or plot of their books.

Q: How long will my book need to be?

A: Quality over quantity! There are no word count requirements. However, this program, though a year from application deadline to book launch, is incredibly short in terms of book writing. It is rare that authors are able to plan, write, edit, and publish a book within a single calendar year. Therefore, we are typically drawn to shorter book forms: a novella, a chapbook of poetry, a comic book, a focused collection of essays. No tomes!

Q: My idea is a series. Does the book have to be a stand-alone?

A: While we would be thrilled for you to continue publishing books related to your book-world, this program is designed for stand-alone concepts. The book should feel complete in and of itself—no cliffhanger endings. In the book publishing industry, authors often have to prove themselves with one book before they are greenlighted for multiple.

Q: Is it necessary to have a set title for my story when I apply?

A: You definitely do not need a title yet! Titles are important, of course, but ultimately decisions about them are reserved for the end of the publication process. Often as an author works on a book, the concept and/or story evolves so that an original title doesn't fit the final work. Once your first draft is submitted in late spring, we will work on titling it. We will also "blurb" it and learn how to talk about it when you're inevitably asked, "So, what is your book about?"

Q: I have a really busy year of school, and I’m trying to set realistic goals for myself. How much time will I spend writing outside of the time we meet together each week?

A: This is a great question to ask! First off, good for you for trying not to put too much on your plate. It’s critical for you to consider how much time you have to give this book before applying to the program. It will take up a TON of your time. You will be at The Telling Room about two hours a week on average, but you can expect to put in many more hours each week writing and revising on your own. If you are a rising high school junior or senior, beware—the assembly of a complete first draft will monopolize your time in the late winter and spring. And if you don’t know what your summer holds, please be aware that pre-publication work and the launch of your book will happen deep into the summer months, after school is out.

Q: What about content rating? My writing is a far cry from explicit, but sometimes it gets too mature or intense for younger readers.

A: If you feel there's an audience for your content, then you should write for that audience. However, this program does include fellows as young as twelve. It's enormously important to the success of all participants that fellows trust and feel respected by each other. When we consider applications and subject matter, we keep this in mind.

Q: Are there any topics that you will not consider?

A: All topics are fine, though we may lean away from content that is overly graphic or dark. The beauty of the words is important, but we're looking for good bones. We love scene-based writing and vivid imagery. We look for stories within stories (or poems). Poetry, short fiction, and narrative nonfiction are appealing. We also love children’s books and realistic fiction for a YA audience. Comic or illustrated chapter books will be considered. Sweeping fantasy is difficult to write in a year, but we welcome realistic fiction with fantasy or sci-fi elements. Also, we love ghost stories. Basically, if it’s a story you want to tell, we are ready to listen.

 

Still have questions? Email kathryn@tellingroom.org for answers.