Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

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Overview

LEARN HOW TO WRITE LIKE THE EXPERTS, FROM THE EXPERTS.

Practical advice in a perfect package for young aspiring writers.

After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice,accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot,

make ...

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Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

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Overview

LEARN HOW TO WRITE LIKE THE EXPERTS, FROM THE EXPERTS.

Practical advice in a perfect package for young aspiring writers.

After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice,accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot,

make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Mary Ann Darby
Mazer and Potter receive one recurring question from thousands of their readers: "How do you write?" This book is their answer, crafted with joy and verve. Their discussions cover every topic from how to find inspiration to crafting a story to how to find a good place to write. The chapters are short and cleverly interspersed with sidebars, including many "I Dare You" sections that challenge budding writers to take on tasks such as describing the color yellow to someone who cannot see and writing irresistible starting lines for stories. The book's light and conversational tone makes it absolutely approachable and fun. The "Recipe for Mental Compost" in the "Inspiration" chapter is just one example of the practical and delightful advice they offer as a means of breaking down the daunting business of writing. Aimed at middle and junior high students, this book will be terrific for both libraries and classrooms. Mazer and Potter undoubtedly had a good time writing this guide and clearly know their audience. They sometimes toss aside the meticulous planning teachers urge, but for students who want to pursue creative writing, their advice is thought provoking. Rather than outlining the whole plot of a story, Potter says she "stalk[s] my characters...following close enough behind them to see what they will do." It is also funny (your descriptions should be more interesting than "...that smooshed toad on the sidewalk") and practical (find a writing partner to share work with and to "cheer each other on"). Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby
Publishers Weekly
This playful guide for aspiring writers aims to demystify the creative process as it explores first drafts and finding inspiration, the meat and potatoes of writing, and writer's block and criticism. Mazer (the Sister Magic series) and Potter (the Olivia Kidney books) challenge readers to dig deep into their characters, make a “mental compost pile” to find inspiration, and face revision head on, while modeling their own approaches. “I get ideas while waiting in lines, staring at the clouds, or lying sick in bed,” says Mazer; demonstrating how to build suspense, Potter shares the true story (“with a few embellishments”) of a robber hanging from her neighbor's terrace. Phelan's ink illustrations and a lighthearted humor enliven the text, and honest advice, such as “Your character's heart's desire is what propels your story forward,” are cogent and invaluable. Ages 9–14. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Two prolific writers for children offer advice on the writing process for young writers. In an engaging, informal style, Mazer and Potter cover the range of writing concerns, from getting started, creating characters, writing dialogue, finding a narrative voice and revising. Clearly the authors had fun compiling their tips, and original metaphors and images for the writing process keep things light: "Mental compost" is the fertile soil of the imagination, the "overflowing toilet" comes from having too many ideas and 300-pound drafts are what students lug around when enthusiastic teachers burden them with too many required steps in the writing process. This volume runs that risk, too, with so much well-intentioned advice that it could become daunting, but Phelan's illustrations, "I Dare You" sidebars that encourage students to try out ideas and the authors' own models of their writing help keep the format light and engaging. Young people who have already written a fair amount will best be able to see the value of the advice and will feel as if they have been allowed into a friendly conversation with masters of their craft. The best of recent volumes on the subject. (introduction, appendix) (Nonfiction. 9-14)
From the Publisher
 “Books on how to write can be boring, but this one is packed with funny tales from the authors’ lives, lively examples, cheerful illustrations, and practical advice. These authors know that writing should be fun, and they remind us on every page. If telling stories is your thing, this is definitely your book.” —Discovery Girls magazine

“Cogent and invaluable.”—Publishers Weekly

“The best of recent volumes on the subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Two fine writers put their heads together and come up with an equally fine guide to their craft for beginners.” —Booklist

A solid overview of the tools for literary analysis and evaluation” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Even students who never thought of writing, or dread the thought of writing, might want to try it as they read the ideas and suggestions packed into this book…The book’s gems are also useful for teachers looking for new ways to get their students writing.” —Library Media Connection magazine

“For years I have been thinking about writing a HOW TO book for kids who want to write. Now I don’t have to. Anne and Ellen have crafted such a wonderful, funny, wise book about how to craft a wonderful, funny, wise book that when eager young writers send me a letter seeking my advice I can now simply say, ‘Read this!’ My hat is off to this dynamic duo.” —Bruce Coville,  author of Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher

  

“The singular, intense yet funny voice of SPILLING INK shares advice—how to convince your characters they are alive, avoid noisy dialog tags, wear sunglasses to feel like a spy—with much lively wisdom, and nary a hint of adult condescension. An outstanding book.”  —Nancy Springer, author of The Enola Holmes Mystery series

“Practical and delightful…this book will be a terrific for both libraries and classrooms.” VOYA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596436282
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 110,564
  • Age range: 9 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Mazer is the author of The Salamander Room, The Sister Magic series, and the bestselling Abby Hayes series. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

 

Ellen Potter is the author of acclaimed books for children including Slob, Pish Posh, and Olivia Kidney. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, son and a motley assortment of badly behaved animals.

 

Matt Phelan has illustrated many books for children, including the 2007 Newbery Medal winner The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2012

    Awesome!!

    Absolutely loved this book! Great for all ages! Very supportive and uplifting considering all the negative things online about Young Authors. It's always encouraging! I liked how it was written by two authors combined which gave you two opinions or advice on certain things without contradicting each other. I was so sad when I finished the book. I could read it over again. This helped a lot by the way with things I would never have thought of before writing. Overall, this book was AWESOME.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    Awesome

    This book was really really awesome! It gives out such good writing tips and even provides ideas for you to get started writing. I definetly reccomend for ages 9-14

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2012

    REALLY helpful!

    I loved this book! A lot of the writing tips in the book really helped me get to know my characters, and it gave me a few ideas. I highly recommend it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Great!

    I own the paperback verson, and it is well worn out with me reading and re-reading. I've been writing for years, and this is one of my favorite books! This book was ritten with teens in mind, so I don't know if adults will find it as useful as a teenager might.
    It has great examples and clearly states everything, answering a lot of my questions, and hopfully yours too. They leave you challenges to do, and inspire and encourage.
    All in all, a great read. I recomend it to any teen writer.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    I loved it

    Its a great writers book for kids!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Good for writters 20 and younger but AWESOMELY GREAT READ!!!!!!!

    A very gpod book, but not ment for people over 30. I enjoyed it because I am only 12 so it helped me out greatly.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    Young writers

    I received this book as a gift when i was younger, and it is GREAT. I reccomend it to younger writers, and as a writer i really appreciated having this book to use as reference and for inspiration, encouragement, ideas, and so much more. The two authors who wrote this book equally contribute to the book and share their philosophies, styles, and advice for writing. I especially appreciated having this handy when i would happen to come across writer's block and felt somewhat stranded and lost as to what i should/needed to do and how i should/could get back into writing again. I TOTALLY recommend this book to young and/or amateur writers. :)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    I read it

    Its such a great book I want to be a writer when I grow up too

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    Anne Mazer is so amazing!

    I love one of the others, Anne Mazer. She is an incredible writer with loads of talent. She wrote an extremely lovely series called The Amazing Days Of Abby Hayes. If you read this series or part of it respond please!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Anonymous999

    Always helpful!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Perfect guide for teens

    This book not only gave me handy advice on how to write, but it encouraged me and told me not to be pressured to write perfectly at once. Thanks, Anne and Ellen!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    best book

    you can write the best books after you read it

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Tap on me

    Dear Readers,
    This is one of the best books ive ever read.When i read it,it makes me feel more interested in reading and writting.
    Hope it makes you "people reading"feel the same way i do.
    Thx for reading this.

    Sincerely,
    PrettyGirl9889

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Were w Im reading this in class

    ITS FRIGIN WONDERFUL

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    Inspiring

    I just love this book! I have read it so many times, I can recite 3 chapters non stop!!!!! It is a really inspiring book. People reading this, get this book! It is funny, suspensful, calming, and a really understanding book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Teacher recommended

    My 8th grade teacher recommended this book for me. He was kidding because he said the girl on the cover looked like me. Well i got it anyway and i loved it. It really helped me discover my characters and have them work for me instead of me trying to satisfy their demands as i discoverd their likes and dislikes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    just read sample

    It looks good,but i will go to BN and buy it there. 9.99 is too much for a nook book

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    Snakes101

    Well,i read it.it helped in some ways...it has pretty good info


    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    Does not even load $9.99 is way to much money

    Waste of money

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    waste

    If you are already serious about writing do not bother with this read.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews

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