Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

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by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. Illustrated by Matt Phelan. Nonfiction. 288 pages. Grades 5-9.
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Review

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This book has a conversational feel to it. The two writers are not actually speaking back and forth to each other, they are addressing the reader (a young writer), but each small section or aside is noted as "by Ellen" or "by Anne" and this creates the feeling of two writers sitting around a table with you bubbling over with ideas. Headings include: Getting Started, Fancy Equipment Not Required, The Blank Piece of Paper, Writers' Rule to Ignore or Adore? Write What You Know, Making a Mess, A Recipe for Mental Compost, and To Plot or Not to Plot.

There are specific suggestions here but the entire work comes off more in the style of coaching or of a veteran sending back stories from their own experiences. It has just the right tone of encouraging and inspiring without intimidating the reader. It blows lightly but quite decisively on the embers of inspiration.


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Related Books

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    Grades 4 - 9
    Woe is I Jr.: The Younger Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O'Conner. Illustrated by Tom Stiglich. Nonfiction. 176 pages.
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    This is the kids' version of the very popular Woe is I for adults. O'Conner brings the same lighthearted, witty style to this book. From the basic to the tricky this covers pronouns, punctuation, word order and more. Good for kids in about fourth grade and up.


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