Guest Post: Kara Terzis' Thoughts for Aspiring Teen Writers + Giveaway

Today, I'm happy to have Kara Terzis on Just Commonly! After winning a writing contest, her debut novel, Frayed released in June and boy, what a thriller! (My review is scheduled for next week.)  Kara's here to share with us her thoughts for aspiring teen writers. Afterwards, don't forget to scroll on down to enter the giveaway for the chance to win a copy of Frayed.

Thoughts for Aspiring Teen Writers.

Before FRAYED, my first published novel, I’d been writing for years. I’ve lost count of how many drafts I’ve written, but as I’ve been writing since I was eleven/twelve (I’m nineteen now) you can imagine that’s a lot of drafts. Through each and every one of them, I’ve learnt a little more about myself, a little bit more about writing. Writing is hard, and I don’t think it gets any easier when you’re older, so always, my advice is the same. Keep writing. Don’t quit. It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to not write every day. It’s okay to have self-doubt. When it comes to writing, those aren’t the important things—the important thing is to keep going.

With enough writing and enough perseverance, anyone can become a published author.

Pay attention to the world around you—and be curious about everything. How people walk. How people talk. The expressions they pull. Their emotional reactions. Look and learn, because even though it might be the tiniest, most insignificant detail, you never know what could inspire a novel. Be a sponge and soak up as much as you can. The same goes with any form of art out there, too. Inspiration is literally everywhere for writers—it can strike at the most unlikely of places. I keep a notebook on me whenever I can (which can be hard to do, so I often use the Notes function on my iPod) because I never know when an idea might come along.

Read a lot, write a lot. Especially in the genres you love the most. And (I think this is particularly important) never be embarrassed about what you love to read/write. Never let someone make you feel bad about the books you read or the stories you write because they aren’t mainstream enough, or they’re not seen as popular or clever. One of the best things about reading is how much it can inspire you. I think it’s incredible how books—both reading them and writing them—can touch so many people’s lives and change them for the better. So read and learn, and be proud of it.

As with anything—practice, practice, practice. Don’t just wait around for the perfect time to write, just write. Whether that’s twenty minutes in your lunchbreak or after your homework, write. Take every moment you can to write, and of course, enjoy it.

A huge part of being a writer is getting feedback and getting your work out there. And, okay, this is a scary one, and I think all writers feel the same way no matter how experienced they are. But feedback is an important part of shaping a novel and, largely, why I joined online writing sites. (That and I was dying to share my stories with the world.) And more importantly, be open about the feedback you receive. I can guarantee you won’t agree with everything that people say about your writing, but regardless, listen with an open mind. Let it sink in. Think about it. It’s so, so hard to be objective about something you’ve written so the more people that read your writing, the better (but maybe not too many). Don’t be afraid of feedback or criticism because ultimately, your writing will improve from it. Learn to adapt that feedback into your writing—because in hindsight, your writing will be so much better for it.

One of my favorite quotes on writing is this—“Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life” (Lawrence Kasdan) and I do think there’s a lot of truth in that. (Although I’d rather write a novel than do mathematics any day.) Writing is hard, hard work, but it’s also the best sort of work in the world. And at the end of the day, the most important thing is perseverance.

Don’t give up.

Title:  Frayed
Author: Kara Terzis
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date:  June 7, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary / Psych Thriller

Dear Kesley,

My therapist tells me I should write you a letter. Like flushing all my thoughts and feelings out of my system and onto paper. I tell her it's a stupid idea.

But here I am, writing a letter to a dead girl. Where do I start? Where did our story begin? From the moment you were born...or died?

I'll start with the moment I found out the truth about you. Your lies and my pain. Because it always begins and ends with you.

And that end began when Rafe Lawrence came back to town... 

Ava Hale will do anything to find her sister's killer...although she'll wish she hadn't. Because the harder Ava looks, the more secrets she uncovers about Kesley, and the more she begins to think that the girl she called sister was a liar. A sneak. A stranger.

And Kesley's murderer could be much closer than she thought...

A debut novel from Wattpad award-winner Kara Terzis, Frayed is a psychological whodunit that will keep you guessing!


Kara Terzis was twelve when she wrote her first novel, and hasn’t stopped writing since. Later she started publishing her work on Wattpad, where in 2013 she won the Sourcebooks Story Development Prize, leading to the publication of her debut novel, Frayed. She adores fairy tales, photography, rainy days, and film soundtracks. When she’s not writing, you can find her buried in a good book and daydreaming. She lives with her family in Sydney, Australia.

Her debut novel--FRAYED--will be out from Sourcebooks Fire on June 7th, 2016.

TO CONNECT WITH KARA:  website,  facebook,  twitter,  tumblr




  1. I love the well-thought out writing advice. Thanks for the post today!

  2. I like reading books that have suspense in them.

  3. I love YA thrillers. Thanks for the opportunity!

  4. Oh I love this post and I LOVE Kara's blog!! She's such an inspiring blogger and writer and just all round excellent bean. :D I totally enjoyed Frayed too, eeeep. AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR WHATEVER KARA WRITES NEXT!!

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  5. This sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win :)

  6. Sounds like good advice! The book looks like a good read too!


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