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This past summer I got an unusual question from the UC Berkeley Continuing Studies Department.

“Poem Kim just completed 8th grade and is interested in taking your Writing the Young Adult Novel course with her father. Would you mind if she enrolls?”

Poem Kim, co-founder of DullPencil

Although my class is geared for adults, my response was: “Absolutely! I’d love to have her in my class and welcome her with happy arms.”

Most of my UC Berkeley students range in age from college students to retired seniors. Although they come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, a “little kid” tends to exist in all of them. What most of us lack as we write and revise our stories for children and young adults is unbiased feedback from our targeted audience. So I thought this would be a great opportunity for my students to test their writing on Poem Kim—a real live young adult reader.

Poem Kim did not disappoint. Not only did she provide valuable feedback for my students, but she also had the kind of insight on the craft of writing that I experienced among MFA level writing students at Vermont College. And yes, I was blown away! Her critiques were spot-on and delivered in a poetic style. Poem Kim clearly lives up to her name.

Poem Kim and Christabel Abbott, friends and co-founders of DullPencil

That’s why I’m not surprised that she and her clever friends, Christabel Abbott, Shaoyie Soh, Stella Tharp, and Isabelle Yar, recently launched DullPencil, a web page aimed at becoming a meaningful resource for young adult (YA) writers.

DullPencil will publish essays and short fiction anthologies written for the YA audience twice a year in paperback and e-book. Contents for the anthology are selected through an on-line voting process by you, its readers, as well as by the DullPencil editors and advisors.

The first DullPencil anthology will be a compilation of the first 150 words of your story, if selected. Not only will you get published, but you will get feedback from your targeted audience and can revise and improve upon your submission as many times as you’d like. It’s free to enter, you don’t have to be a teen to submit, and you own the copyright to your work.

What do you have to lose? Nothing.

So sharpen your dull pencil, revise your first 150 words, and submit now!

Click here to learn more and please spread the word.

Best of luck to you, Poem Kim! And kudos to your father, Jake Kim, for nurturing such a gem of talent.

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