After reading novels that captivate their attention and transport them to new worlds, kids may wonder what, exactly, is involved in writing – and if they might be able to do it, too. Patricia Reilly Giff addresses these budding novelists in Writing With Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too.
Beginning with the story’s main character, she takes kids through the process of putting him in a place and creating a problem for him. Since he’ll be talking to the other characters, she shows kids how to create dialogue while juggling action and description around the conversation. His problem needs to be huge, so he’s going to worry about it, and it needs to keep getting worse. Finally, the main character should solve the problem by himself, changing in the process.
Using examples from her own novels, along with amusing anecdotes involving Rosie, her golden retriever, Giff provides an entertaining and informative guide to writing a story. The step by step structure with breaks for kids to try out the techniques makes it perfect for classroom use. Kids with a desire to begin writing their own stories will enjoy Giff’s laid-back style and encouragement.
Reviewer: Alice Berger
First-time novelists sometimes struggle with the prospect of writing a book. There are so many decisions to be made, and without a plan, it’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed. Fortunately, Before You Write Your Novel: Essential Skills for the First-Time Novelist addresses these questions and help authors stay on the right track.
In a step-by-step manner, James McCreet walks first-time novelists through the creative process. First off, he asks how ready the author is – if he has the necessary skills and determination to complete the work. Then he looks at the idea – is it enough to carry a whole novel or does it need to be fleshed out a bit more? Story building, plots, subplots, narrative approaches, and other construction elements are covered, as McCreet dissects a few sample novels. Finally, he pulls this all together in an overview of the novel outlining process.
Those who like to work with outlines will find McCreet’s approach extremely helpful, as he lays everything out for the author to follow along. Those who prefer the “pantster” approach will probably find this information more useful at the time of revision. No matter which camp you belong to, this is a great how-to book for any author to add to his writing toolbox.
Reviewer: Alice Berger
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