Saturday, June 17, 2017

Spilling Ink (Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter)

Spilling Ink
Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
Square Fish
Nonfiction, YA Writing
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: What does it take to write a book? Words and ideas, obviously, but there's more to it than that. There's plotting and character creation and revision and grammar and all sorts of ways to mess up and give up... but if you don't tell your stories, who will? Popular children's book authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter team up to offer advice and encouragement to would-be writers of any age. All you need to start is an idea, plus a few words.

REVIEW: Aimed at a middle-grade audience, Spilling Ink doesn't delve into deep outlining or grammar technicalities or the often-daunting statistics on finding an agent or getting published. It's more about the overall process, not to mention the joy of crafting stories, a joy that's all too often squashed by teachers more interested in grading papers than nurturing talent or parents convinced all writers are depressed alcoholics working out of hovels. The journey from a story idea or simple urge to write to a finished manuscript isn't one that can be definitively mapped, so the authors here don't try. Instead, they offer signposts, a few cautions, the odd detour, and more than one friendly rest stop where the weary or discouraged traveler can rest and recharge. Along the way are "dares" challenging the reader/would-be writer with various exercises, such as test driving different writing styles or rewriting a moment from their lives with a different ending. If you're looking for seven-point plot arcs or a rigid outlining method or a compendium of grammar rules, you'll have to do further research. This one's all (or mostly) about the joys and frustrations of storytelling, told in a way most any writer, no matter their age, can relate to.

You Might Also Enjoy:
No Plot? No Problem! (Chris Baty) - My Review
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly (Gail Carson Levine) - My Review
Wonderbook (Jeff Vandermeer) - My Review

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