Review by Booklist Review
Popular author Levine offers copious writing advice in this companion to her earlier work on the subject, Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly (2006), using questions from her eponymous blog as a framework. Here, she offers general guidance, such as establishing good writing habits and finding a reader you trust, as well as specific direction for everything from building character to choosing and managing tense, drawing on examples of excellence from everyone from M. T. Anderson to Langston Hughes. Individual chapters on different elements of story offer practical suggestions the chapter on building tension features no fewer than 10 useful tools and conclude with a variety of writing prompts and a refrain to have fun, and save what you write! As the title suggests, Levine writes for a practiced audience; exercises often involve the revision of existing work, rewriting a story in verse, or in another tense, and a beginner might feel overwhelmed. Still, avid writers will find meaningful guidance, support, and inspiration in Levine's polished, enthusiastic instruction.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2014 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
"Have fun, and save what you write!" Those words close out nearly every chapter of this valuable writing guide, a companion to Levine's Writing Magic (2006), and they form the heart of the author's advice. Levine describes this book as the "greatest hits" of her blog, where she has discussed the craft of writing since 2009 (and where the exclamatory advice above closes out her posts). Chapters explore finding inspiration (and time to write), character- and plot-building, and writing poetry, among other topics. (Walking readers through the publication process, Levine notes, "We writers rely on the eagle eyes of copy editors! However, I still try to get the nitty-gritty right myself, and so should you.") Questions from visitors to Levine's blog are used as springboards, and Levine is generous in sharing her struggles, tactics, and experience. Ages 8-up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Starred Review. Gr 5-8-In this follow-up book to Writing Magic Creating Stories That Fly (HarperCollins, 2006), fantasy author Levine doles out realistic and helpful guidance to aspiring authors. This title is an extension of her blog, and Levine provides her audience with the common nuts and bolts of the profession, offering this advice: writers write, they keep writing, and they save everything they write to use again. Levine's tone is conversational and upbeat and her suggestions easy to follow, tinged with an underlying sense of encouragement that will bolster readers. She discusses common difficulties, warning young people not to get hung up on minutiae and letting them know that confronting challenges is a surmountable part of the craft. The chapters are based on questions that have been posted to her blog and address how to develop characters and backstory, come up with plot twists and flashbacks, and create mystery and tension. Each chapter ends with appealing and doable exercises. Levine urges her audience to cast away self-criticism and to write and rewrite, underscoring that this is an enjoyable, important process. An engaging and valuable addition.-Patricia Feriano, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Ella Enchanted[c1] author Levine offers writing advice and prompts, primarily for fiction writers. The chapters, mostly expanded from her blog, look in-depth at aspects of writing including large-scale character and plot concerns and more specific matters of style. A lengthy section focuses on poetry and its role in fiction. Levine's second book on writing (Writing Magic) takes budding authors' craft questions seriously. Ind. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A best-selling children's author offers a comprehensive guide for aspirants. In 2009, Levine started a blog about writing, short essays that became a writers' advice column, and this volume presents the blog's "greatest hits." Character building and "hatching the plot" are clearly what young writers get stuck on most often and thus receive substantial treatment here. Other issues, such as theme, "mid-story crisis," back story, flashback, foreshadowing and mystery are also covered. There's a seriousness about the craft that's refreshing; Levine is determined to help young writers get the underpinnings rightverb tense, using a thesaurus (or "word grazing," as she calls it), clarity and grammar. She urges readers to take to heart her advice about usage, writing, "here's a command about grammar and spelling: Get it right. An editor won't give the newbie writer any latitude on this." Most chapters end with the friendly reminder to "[h]ave fun, and save what you write!" The volume has a pleasing circularity, beginning with the author's discussion of her own blog and closing with advice on writing blogs, since a well-written blog offers what Levine's became, a means of mutual support for writers. A well-meaning and friendly resource that may well save young writers much time and distress and, perhaps, lead to success in getting published. (Nonfiction. 11 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.