Having discussed the nuts and bolts of writing fiction in What's Your Story? A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction, Newbery Honor author Bauer now delves into the more abstract aspects of the creative process. Drawing on her own experiences, the novelist examines the origins of inspiration and the subconscious drives that compel authors to write. She points out that many components of fiction-characters, settings, plot details-need not be autobiographical, yet the text does suggest that a story's meaning is directly linked to the unique experiences of its creator. Matching particular sections of her own works with the ideas or circumstances behind them, Bauer provides invaluable information for both writers and readers of fiction. As smoothly composed as What's Your Story?, this companion guide offers a frank, compelling analysis of the artistic imagination. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpThis title, which is neither exclusively nor even primarily for YAs, covers some of the same territory as What's Your Story? (Clarion, 1992), but the approach here is more personal. On one level, it is an autobiography. While the essential facts about the author's life are not always conventionally or chronologically presented, they are clearly accessible. But what makes the book unique is that it is an honest attempt to give readers an answer to the question, ``How do you write?'' Bauer says she can give her students the ``mechanics'' of writing, but finds that inspiration is up to them. However, she has the ability to articulate much of the process of her own creativity. Using the pain and loneliness of childhood as material is an idea that many young people will grasp hungrily. Her theory that stories are written to fill the ``child hole''to repair injustices and fill gaps in one's childhoodis one that more sophisticated YAs will find thought-provoking. Bauer analyzes many of her works, showing how her life is revealed in the emotional context and perhaps in the physical specifics of her stories, but how the plots are constructed through imagination. She manages to be self-analyzing without being self-serving. The result, in crisp, open writing, is a documentary of creativity full of moving and amusing anecdotes that keep readers involved.Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
Julie Yates Walton
A fiction writer for more than 20 years, Bauer wants to help young writers find the voice within themselves. Whereas her "What's Your Story? A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction" (1992) teaches story-writing mechanics, this attempts to unravel the mystery of creativity and imagination in writing. Bauer examines her own life experiences and their relation to her writing and writings. (In fact, a rather irritating side of the book is its assumption that the reader has read all of her works.) Each chapter deals with a specific aspect of writing, such as "Imagination," "Moving beyond Experience," and "Truth and Reality." Less a how-to than it is an informal stroll through a writer's psyche, the book should appeal to writers already" sold on their craft. Bauer is a fine writer, and her insights are unquestionably keen. After years of teaching writing classes, she knows what questions young writers ask most, and how to answer them in an engaging and thoughtful manner.
From the Publisher
"A documentary of creativity full of moving and amusing anecdotes that keep readers involved." School Library Journal
MARION DANE BAUER has written more than 80 children's books, including picture books, easy readers, early chapter books, and novels. She won a Newbery Honor for On My Honor, a middle grade coming-of-age story. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit her website at www.mariondanebauer.com.