The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

by Cheryl Klein
The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

by Cheryl Klein


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This master class in writing children’s and young adult novels will teach you everything you need to know to write and publish a great book.

The best children’s and young adult novels take readers on wonderful outward adventures and stirring inward journeys. In The Magic Words, editor Cheryl B. Klein guides writers on an enjoyable and practical-minded voyage of their own, from developing a saleable premise for a novel to finding a dream agent. She delves deep into the major elements of fiction—intention, character, plot, and voice—while addressing important topics like diversity, world-building, and the differences between middle-grade and YA novels. In addition, the book’s exercises, questions, and straightforward rules of thumb help writers apply these insights to their own creative works. With its generous tone and useful tools for story analysis and revision, The Magic Words is an essential handbook for writers of children’s and young adult fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393292244
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 205,810
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Cheryl B. Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books. She was formerly the executive editor at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Inc., where she edited a wide array of popular and award-winning titles. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

The Magic Words: An Introduction, and How to Use This Book xi

1 Clarity and Connection: Principles of Good Writing 1

2 Experience and Emotion: Ages in Children's and YA Literature 11

3 Proficiency and Practice: Using and Developing Your Gifts 27

4 Promise and Premise: Crafting a Strong Story Concept 39

5 Effort and Flow: How to Write a Novel 56

6 Intention and Invention: Identifying Your Points 63

7 Identity and Choice: Creating Multidimensional Characters 74

8 Interest and Change: Building Bonds Between Readers and Your Characters 103

9 Power and Attention: Writing Outside Your Own Groundwork 126

10 Structure and Sensibility: The Power of Plot 151

11 Obstacles and Negotiation: Seven Ways of Looking at a Scene 202

12 Movement and Momentum: Controlling Your Pace and Prosody 216

13 Person and Personality: Fundamentals of Voice 238

14 Teases and Trust: What Makes a Good First Chapter 273

15 Worlds and Wonders: Writing Speculative Fiction 286

16 Perspective and Polishing: Considering Charlotte Keene 297

17 Vision and Revision: Twenty Techniques 319

18 Love and/or Money: Publishing Your Book 327

Recommended Reading 347

Acknowledgments 353

Index 355

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