Nonfiction – Writing Magic

Writing Magic coverGail Carson Levine is an accomplished author, with many popular children’s books under her belt, including the Newbery Honor book Ella Enchanted (which, by the by, was absolutely nothing like the movie.) So when she gives advice on how to write, she has the experience and expertise to back it up. How much better, then, that she has written a book on writing advice not for adults writing for children, but for children themselves?

The most important rules, according to Levine, are to write as much as possible, and to save all of your work, no matter how bad you think it is. To this end, every chapter ends with a writing exercise related to the chapter’s topic and the instructions to “save what you wrote/revised.”

Much of what is here will not surprise anyone. The importance of voice, why we revise, and tips for dealing with writer’s block are staples of writing manuals. But even with these more mundane topics, Levine brings something new to the genre with her kid-friendly prose and short, upbeat chapters. Examples from her own writing experience pepper the book, so children who are already fans of her fictional works will meet old friends. But even those who have never picked up a previous title will find no problem understanding the examples within the context with which they are presented. Overall, this book will no doubt be a treasure for one of the many aspiring writers looking to improve their work.


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