As I was trying and failing to sleep last night, I thought that I should probably add a post explaining why I have this idea that I can teach you anything about writing.
I am not a published author, although I am working on that. I am not a genius. I'm 19, so I don't have years of wisdom under my belt. I just like it, and I think that I've gotten rather good at it over the years. So, without further ado:
I have been writing since the seventh grade (so, five years now?). I used to write entirely by hand, on lined paper in three ring binders that I treated as though they were sacred. I still have all of them; they're in my closet, and that is where they will remain. That amounted to seven and a half "novels." The first one I wrote I actually managed to send, through a friend of a friend of a friend, to someone at Penguin. They turned me down, but my little writer mind was encouraged by the fact that they said no because they had another too much like mine (they even sent me a proof, which I still have) rather than not liking it.
Around my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I discovered Phantom of the Opera and this lovely thing called fan fiction, which I started writing like there was no tomorrow. Now, most people I meet think fan fiction is stupid and ridiculous, and that may be, but it helped me a lot. Mostly because pre-fanfic, my characters had been flatter than cardboard. But writing PotO fanfic forced me to work with very rounded characters, characters that had real issues in just about every aspect of life. And, since I now pride myself on my characterization, I think it did some good.
Now I am a freshman in college, and in about a week my second semester will start and I'll take Intro to Creative Writing. I have just finished my manuscript, finished editing it, and sent off queries. That doesn't make me a genius, or 100% right, or anything, really. I just know what works for me, and maybe if I put it out there it will work for somebody else as well.