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Literary Youth: Collection Highlights The Work Of Teenage Writers

Credit Alicia Zuckerman / WLRN
Dylan Etienne got into writing at acting camp, where he discovered he liked writing scripts better than being on stage.

Dylan Etienne was in Publix with his mom when a random woman came up and asked if he likes to write. "Yeahhhh," he said, in a tone that indicated he really, really does. You gotta listen to the audio to hear him in his own words.

The woman in the store handed him a flyer for the Miami-Dade Public Library's young adult writers-in-residence program. 

Of the 100 or so submissions that came in to the library, Dylan was one of 20 students picked to spend Saturdays working alongside a published young adult author. His group worked with Kekla Magoon, learning about finding ideas, building plot and developing characters, especially characters readers care about, Dylan explains.  

Read author Kekla Magoon's blog, with advice to young writers and reflections on her time in Miami. 

Over the course of the workshops, Dylan developed the few paragraphs he'd originally submitted into a full-fledged story called "Alaska," about a teenage boy's quest to find his best friend.

Dylan says growing up, he couldn't get enough library books. He'd blow through a stack in a day or two and get his parents to take him right back for more. Now, his own story is in a library book: a collection of stories by Dylan and the other young adult writers-in-residence called Happily After ... A Crusade Against Clichés. Fifty copies of the book are on shelves throughout the system.  

The library is hoping to find funding for more young writers-in-residence.