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Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery

Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery

4.2 23
by Pseudonymous Bosch

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This imaginative companion to the New York Times bestselling Secret Series teases, prompts, and leads readers through the steps of writing a story. Bosch's signature rip-roaring voice delivers an engaging narrative (for the reader to help complete!) and interactive puzzles and games. Readers get the chance to create their own story while enjoying a satisfying


This imaginative companion to the New York Times bestselling Secret Series teases, prompts, and leads readers through the steps of writing a story. Bosch's signature rip-roaring voice delivers an engaging narrative (for the reader to help complete!) and interactive puzzles and games. Readers get the chance to create their own story while enjoying a satisfying mystery as well.
Here's a note from our fearless "author":I feared this might happen. I knew reading was a dangerous business, but now it's not safe for writers either! You see, the author of this book is missing. Well, maybe not "missing." A certain author whom I won't name (okay, me) has abandoned his book and has left his readers hanging out to dry. This is a crime, I admit, but there it is. Most of this book, well, I just haven't written it. And I'm not going to, either.
Why? Oh, I have my reasons. Big. Grown up. Author. Reasons. Unfortunately, I can't reveal them yet. Let's just say a life is at stake (mine) and leave it at that. So will you do it? Pretty please? You'll do it? Thank you! But please hurry! Time is of the essence and you can't wait any longer. You must WRITE THIS BOOK!

Editorial Reviews

"Through a variety of puzzles, games, and activities, readers become writers and, hopefully, learn a little about the writing process as they go."
Kid Lit Frenzy
"Fans of The Secret Series will feel right at home with Bosch's trademark style and humor which starts right from the beginning...This would be a great book to use in summer writing groups or as part of a writing club at a school."
From the Publisher
Praise for Write This Book:"

...A marvelous tutorial, covering everything from how to write effective dialogue to choosing perspective to genre to world-building...Writing a book has never been so much fun. A must-have where the "Secret" series is popular."—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
The premise of this writer's guide for kids is like Mad Libs on steroids. Pseudonymous Bosch has created a DIY mystery book, which flippantly educates readers of the process of producing a book. As the author (perhaps Raphael Simon?) suggests to readers, if you're actually going to write in this book, write in pencil because librarians get miffed if you mark their books. Speaking for my tribe, I agree and, for that reason, do not recommend it for library shelves. However, making it a prize for Summer Reading is a great idea. Bosch and his trusty rabbit assistant, Quiche, take the fledgling scribe through steps from choosing characters, settings, villains, assigning genres, building plot, and bringing the book to a conclusion. There are pages for procrastination and blank pages with eyes that stare back at the blocked writer. Puns flash by, both in the main text and the numerous footnotes that are Bosch's trademark. Also pay attention to the intriguing bits of trivia about language, history, and writing technique included in the notes. This book is actually a great vocabulary builder, even for adults, although I do wish that pronunciations were included. Cartoon asides by a sunglassed Pseudonymous and Quiche are delightfully interjected on the pages. Creative kids will embrace this book with enthusiasm and be inspired to take up a pen(cil). Back matter includes a "Parental Obituary section," which humorously lists the untimely deaths of all the orphans in great literature. Also funny are fan letters that sound suspiciously real from children who have written to Bosch for class assignments. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—The author has taken it upon himself to teach his readers everything there is to know about the art of writing. He sets forth his proposition early on: "You, the reader of this book, shall be the author of this book." After he shares the basic premise of the plot-two siblings, A - - - and Z - - -, stumble on a mystery involving a missing author-he goes on to provide plenty of substance about the main elements of a story. Through his reluctant and snarky narration, readers learn about all the parts of a book, from the copyright page to "About the Author." An "official character assessment form" allows readers/authors to figure out what kind of person the main character is going to be before proceeding with the story, and a plot map literally shows the way from the inciting incident to the quest to the climax to the denouement. "Write This" directives followed by blank pages allow inspired readers an opportunity to jump in with their own ideas (librarians, beware!). The result is a marvelous tutorial, covering everything from how to write effective dialogue to choosing perspective to genre to world-building. As with other books in the series, PB's long-eared sidekick, Quiche, jumps in from time to time. Ford's whimsical spot art adds to the humor. Writing a book has never been so much fun. A must-have where the "Secret" series is popular.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Offering "a book written by you that's already published," "Bosch" follows his own title page with a blank alternative one, then goes on to sketch out a fragmentary plotline filled with options to circle and dotted lines to fill in (guaranteeing that any library copy won't stay unmarked for long). The "story" involves two children, A____ and Z____, who are searching for vanished writer I.B. Anonymous. In fits and starts, the author provides generic arcs for noir, fantasy and gothic stories that all lead in the end to I.B. Anonymous' reappearance to congratulate his supposedly unwitting collaborators. With frequent pauses for technical advice, dubbed "Pseudo-intelligence," writerly "Pseudo-assignments," and forms for creating villains and other characters--not to mention squabbles with a smart-mouthed rabbit typist, off-topic footnotes and distractions for procrastinators--the emphasis is on amusement rather than instruction. Sample jacket-flap word lists give readers a taste of self-marketing. Two features in the appendix--the "Parental Obituary Section" and notable first lines--bridge the gap between theory and practice. Ford supplies accusatory eyes on blank pages and like visual commentary. Would-be wordsmiths will come away with a marginally useful toolkit and, if not "hack writing of the highest order" as promised, at least a finished practice piece. (writing tips, self-awards) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Pseudonymous Bosch's Secret Series
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
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File size:
13 MB
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Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Write This Book

A Do-It-Yourself Mystery

By Pseudonymous Bosch

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2013 Pseudonymous Bosch
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-316-20781-2


Beginnings: The Blank Page

Enough with the epigraphs and dedications! It's time to start writing this book in earnest. Ready?

One ...

Two ...

Three ...

What happened? You're sure not writing very fast.

Scary, isn't it? A blank page staring you in the face.

Luckily, that's just a drawing. Pages don't really stare at you; you stare at them. It follows that a blank page should be scared of you, not the other way around. Feel better?

Good. Now get to it—

What? Still having trouble?

Oh, I forgot. Here are some lines to help guide your handwriting:

Don't tell me, you want straight lines. So fussy!

It's not the lines? You don't know what to write?

I hope you're not just procrastinating.

OK, OK, I'll write the first chapter. But please, dear reader, don't get used to it. You are going to have to take the wheel soon—even if you don't have a driver's license. In fact, let's not call it a chapter; let's call it a prologue. That way I won't feel like I'm doing so much work.

At the beginning of a book, many writers, especially lazy writers like me, try to grab their readers with a quick action-oriented teaser, like you might see on a crime show on TV. This is hack writing of the highest order. And it's exactly what I'm going to attempt here.

Now pay attention. This is the beginning of your very own book.

The Case of the Missing Author


It all began with a laugh, a cry, and a thud. The laugh was so loud it—

What, you're stopping me already? Oh, you think It all began with is a dull way to begin, do you?

At least you'll admit that the laugh-cry-thud combo creates a compelling sense of mystery....

No? The only mystery is why I'm such a bad writer that it makes you want to laugh and cry at once?

You're a hoot. Where did you get that joke from—my genius rabbit? I'll tell you what, smarty-pants, why don't we keep my first sentence—temporarily—as a placeholder, then you can insert your vastly better sentence at a later time. Fair enough?

Store your first sentence here for later use:

Now, with your permission, I will begin again. Read closely—this is your chance to see a master writer at work! And yes, by master writer I am referring to myself.

The Case of the Missing Author


It all began with a laugh, a cry, and a thud.

The laugh was so loud it made Z____ sit up in bed. It came from across the street and it sounded like the laugh of a madman. It gave him the creeps.

Before Z____ could lie back down, the laugh was replaced by a desperate, piercing cry. The cry of a wounded animal. Or of a man reduced to the state of an animal.

The cry was followed by a thud so heavy it could have been a boulder falling to the floor.

Or a dead body.

Z____ ran into his sister's room. A drastic measure reserved strictly for emergencies.

"A____, wake up."

"Go away." A____ tried to bury her head in her pillow, but Z____ gave her a hard sh—

"Go away." A____ tried to bury her head in her pillow, but Z____ gave her a hard shake.

"It's important."

"What is?"

He told her what he'd heard.

She cocked her head, listening. All was silent now. "And you're sure it was him?" She gestured in the direction of the house across the street.

"Uh-huh. C'mon—we have to do something!"

Grumpily, A____ followed Z____ downstairs.

Hearts beating fast, they cracked open the front door and peeked out. There was a full moon and they could see as clearly as if it were daytime. And yet there was nothing to see. The house across the street looked completely peaceful.

A____ stared at it, more curious than she'd let on. Their new neighbor had moved in two months earlier. They knew next to nothing about him, only that he was supposed to be some kind of author—a profession that might be suspicious in the eyes of some but that intrigued her greatly.

There. Now you know their neighbor is an author. (Did you guess that this author is I.B. himself? Then you're one step ahead.) You see how I'm weaving in crucial information without interrupting the flow of the story?

"Maybe he was reading one of his books out loud," A____ suggested. "I heard writers do that."

"It wasn't words; it was a laugh, and then a scream, and then—"

"So what do you want to do? Knock on his door?"

Z____ shrugged unhappily. He didn't know what he wanted to do.

"He won't let anyone in during the daytime," A____ continued. "Can you imagine how mad he would be if somebody barged in on him in the middle of the night?"

"He won't be mad if he's dead."

A____ rolled her eyes. "Maybe he was watching a sitcom and that was the laugh you heard. Then he switched to a horror movie—"

"And then what—he knocked the TV over?"

"Why not? Aren't all writers supposed to be crazy?"

Z____ laughed, his mind turning to the mystery series he was reading: A Series of Secrets by I.B. Anonymous. If their neighbor's books were anything like I.B.'s, then their neighbor must be completely nuts.

His sister was right, thought Z____: in a writer's house, sounds didn't necessarily mean what you thought they did.

Remembering all the twists and turns and zany reveals in I.B.'s secret stories, Z____ allowed A____ to lead him back upstairs.

Shortly afterward, the door of their neighbor's house opened, and a pair of eyes peered out into the night. Satisfied that he/she/it wasn't being watched, the owner of those eyes crept out of the house.

A moment later, he/she/it had vanished.

Out of the distance came the sound of a dog—or was it a wolf?—howling at the moon.







Writing Materials: The mise en place

Well, did you like the beginning of your book? Think you can do better?

Good. You can prove it by answering the following:

What happens next?

(Almost all fiction writing boils down to that essential question.)

What—you're not a fortune-teller? You can't see the future? Very funny. I meant, what happens next in your story—not what happens next in your life. You may not be able to see the future, but as the author of this book you can write it.

You still don't know what happens next?

I don't mean to insult you, but I'm not surprised. It's very difficult to make something from nothing.

Creative freedom is all well and good, but in my opinion, writing requires a degree of preparation. I feel the same way about dinner. Making dinner, that is. (Eating dinner I'm happy to do quite spontaneously.) Whenever I cook, I try to assemble my ingredients beforehand. I don't want to get halfway through my chocolate chip cookie dough only to discover I've already eaten all the chocolate chips.

The French have a name for this practice of preassembling ingredients, as they do for many crucial culinary activities: the mise en place. The set in place. To make sure you have all the materials you need for your book, I suggest you create a literary mise en place.

What should go into your mise en place? Aside from those chocolate chips, of course. (Chocolate, I'm sure you'll agree, is absolutely vital to the writing process.) Well, what is necessary for writing? Let's start with the basics:

• a writing utensil (pen, pencil, crayon, feather quill, electronic computational device, lipstick, chocolate-smeared finger)

• a writing surface (napkin, table, tablet, chalkboard, bedroom wall, dusty car window, plaster cast, old tennis shoe, palm of hand)

• and ... something to write about (Ah, now that's the tricky one, isn't it?)

What should you keep by your side to help you come up with story ideas? One answer is: anything that inspires you.

Feel free to ignore this list and create your own:

• A bad dream

• A good joke

• An old comic

• A broken toy

• An overheard conversation

• Chocolate

• More chocolate

Excerpted from Write This Book by Pseudonymous Bosch. Copyright © 2013 Pseudonymous Bosch. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Pseudonymous Bosch is the author of the New York Times bestselling Secret Series. He loves rich chocolate and fine cheese. His identity is a closely guarded secret, as is his new series with Little, Brown, coming Fall 2014.
Gilbert Ford is the author and illustrator of Flying Lessons. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can visit him online at www.gilbertford.com.

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Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting all year. It's just as awesome as i'd expected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just bought this book from Barnes and Noble today and I am nearly done with it. It is, in all simplicity, a guide for how to write a novel. I plan to become a novelist in the next few years, so I find it quite helpful, though I don't know your intentions for your slightly later years. O.o Anyways, PB basically is urging you to re-write The Secret Series, but with a few little quirks and differences. Irritating, yes, but it helps since you know the basic flow of the story. And, like in all of his books, PB adds his odd-yet-halarious sense of humor to the book. I'll stop a-talking (No, I'm not really talking to you...probably. o.O) so you can get a-reading/a-writing.-Agent Snitch (A ten year old.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PB is awesome!!!!! I love his books. Please dont write mean reviews on here. Thanks!!!!! : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will you people quit being downers and say something good about books? And some people do care about Percy Jackson, like me :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know this is a little late but I think I know the answer to the problem. I would say to look your best, but dont try too hard either, because guys like it when you are yourself, and maybe try to become friends with him or at least be aquanted with him. Also you should subtly hint about the dance to him, but dont give away too much. ~Annonymous Advice Giver
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author shows you what mystery should sound like. Throughout the book he is not afraid to add suspense and various cliff hangers at the end of chapters and even at the end of the book. The charters are interesting as well and are quite lovely children! I think this book is a great success and is very well written from beginning to end. If you like mystery with a bit of a modern twist you would enjoy this action packed book. Sincerely great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to read(or write,whatever)this book! Will sombody who already read this book PLEASE tell me if this book is good? I am also a huge fan of the secret series!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi, this is JaggerFastfeet. OK, so I have decided to do a test to see if you would make a good advice-giver that has advice worth listening to. Answer the problem i will give you. If you gave good advice, you're in! I will post some tips for advice if you need them at the end. Remember! There are no wrong answers. PROBLEM: There is a school dance in 7 days. I really want to ask a boy i like to join me but its guys ask girls. But he doesn't even know me! How do i get noticed by him? TIP#1: When giving advice, try to think about what you would do. Put yourself in the person's shoes. TIP#2: Try to be as accurate as possible with the keyboard. If you give an answer like this: Vr Fibfidrnt sbd br vols, it won't do anyone much good because it doesn't make any sense and is unreadable. GOOD LUCK!! ~ JaggerFastfeet &stars &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You cant do anything complete waste especialy for PB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The secret series is amazing! I'm a percy jackson fan and this series is better than the pj series( the percy jackson series)!!!!!!! But remember, tell NO ONE! -#tenyearoldinfithgrade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought it thinking I could type in the words on my tablet but when I bought it I cant do ANYTHING!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well if your looking for a secret series book, this is not it. He tells what to write in the book and its nots that fun. Most of it is him writing or talkinto you. I bought this book thing i would write out the rest of cass and max-ernest's life but it is somthing complety unrealted. I fell as if P.B lost his magic and cleverness in this book. - The Bookworm
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can you interact or type on this book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His name is rafeal simon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thx. liked yours to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bluejay said it is going to be Thursday. All of the writers meet in result three, Hollyclaw.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It boring and he basically tells you what to write
Anonymous More than 1 year ago