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Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook Paperback – March 30, 2010


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Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook + Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly + Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 9
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159643628X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436282
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Two fine writers put their heads together and come up with an equally fine guide to their craft for beginners. Avoiding traditional chapters, the coauthors address issues by turns in short personal takes. Mazer speaks to beginnings, for example, while Potter tackles endings; and both have diverting things to say about everything that happens in between, whether it’s the narrative voice or (eek) writer’s block. Always agreeable, practical, and commonsensical in their approach, the two are also refreshingly permissive (“it’s fine to break rules”), though they add the caveat that rule breakage should come from a knowledge of said rules and a good reason for breaking them. Their text is enlivened with sidebar features, personal anecdotes, and suggestions to readers for exercising their new skills (happily these aren’t called “Exercises” but, instead, “I Dare You”). Such devices, along with the authors’ unfailing good humor, will go a long way to convincing their audience that writing can actually be fun! A notion that is nicely underscored by Phelan’s engaging and always appealing illustrations. Grades 5-9. --Michael Cart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Cogent and invaluable.”—Publishers Weekly

“The best of recent volumes on the subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Two fine writers put their heads together and come up with an equally fine guide to their craft for beginners.” —Booklist

“For years I have been thinking about writing a HOW TO book for kids who want to write. Now I don’t have to. Anne and Ellen have crafted such a wonderful, funny, wise book about how to craft a wonderful, funny, wise book that when eager young writers send me a letter seeking my advice I can now simply say, ‘Read this!’ My hat is off to this dynamic duo.” —Bruce Coville,  author of Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
  
“The singular, intense yet funny voice of SPILLING INK shares advice—how to convince your characters they are alive, avoid noisy dialog tags, wear sunglasses to feel like a spy—with much lively wisdom, and nary a hint of adult condescension. An outstanding book.”  —Nancy Springer, author of The Enola Holmes Mystery series


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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My 6 year old daughter just loves this book.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend Spilling Ink for all educational settings and elementary through middle schoolers.
KingZoo
I would recommend this book to adults, teens and children alike.
Mommy Dana

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on April 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't come across a "How to" book for kids about writing that has impressed me--till now. Spilling Ink is a chatty, informed, get-real look at writing by two children's book authors, and it doesn't waste time diagramming sentences and listing common spelling errors. Anne Mazer, author of series like Abby Hayes and Sister Magic, and Ellen Potter, author of books like Olivia Kidney and Slob, lay out what it means to be a writer and tell kids how to get the job done.

This book is written in a thoroughly reader-friendly style, with the two authors taking turns giving advice in a manner reminiscent of blog posts. Hayes and Potter know their stuff, and it shows: as a writer, I was pleased to see such good ideas expressed so simply, not to mention humorously. For instance, the chapter and section titles are often entertaining: "More Crawling Lizards, Please," "Truth or Dare," "The Robo-Narrator," and "Belly Buttons" are a few of my favorites.

Take a look at the book's tone in this selection from Ellen Potter: "Before I started writing seriously, I was under the delusion that 'real' writers sit down and write out the entire story in one nearly perfect, spectacularly clever draft. Oh, sure, maybe they would change a word or two, or rename one of their characters 'Nathan' because his original name, 'Jake,' reminds them too much of their cousin Jake who belches the theme music to retro TV shows. But that's about it. Wrong! Hugely, profoundly, utterly wrong."

Spilling Ink offers instructive analogies, such as comparing a story's setting to a mood ring, and useful techniques, such as "the chicken-nugget circle." The authors provide short writing samples to illustrate their points here and there, which is so much more helpful than mere explanations.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By KingZoo on November 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was recommended to me by a teacher friend. I am a former teacher and current homeschooling mom schooling children in several grades from kindergarten through middle school. I am using this book with my 4th and 7th graders. It is perfect. The practical, personal advice is written in a funny, easy-to-read format. The "I Dare You" ideas are getting my kids writing - without tears and arguments. I have to admit it's motivating me, too. We are loving the writing process! I highly recommend Spilling Ink for all educational settings and elementary through middle schoolers.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really loooooooooooooove this book! I have been trying to write books forever and this will surely help! I am a 6th grader and this book has wonderful ideas and I love how they don't make it all about spelling and the boring stuff - you can get the other writing books for that-! The pictures are cute and funny, and how they word things in here are hilarious!I would recommend this book to kids or adults,this book is totally awesome!The only thing is that I would like a little more info for starting stories and how to not get bored with what you are writing. Overall, this is a fantastic book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carol J. Gibson on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Outstanding!!!! Inspiring!!!!! I'm one of those late in life bloomers who never wrote a book, only entries in my journal. For the past two or three years I've had a dream of writing a children's book. Recently I came across Spilling Ink at the library. Once I started reading it, I knew I had to have a copy of my own to refer to and to write in. I like it much more than any of the "adult" how to write books I've read. I especially love the part of interviewing my character. It got my adrenaline pumping. I am looking forward to spending some time "chatting" with my main character. I recommend this book to anyone who is dreaming of being an author, no matter what age. It's not intimidating and is chock full of ideas and creative suggestions. It is an easy read yet very informative. Kudos to Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 6 year old daughter just loves this book. She's a very strong reader, but her writing wasn't on par with her reading level. What a difference this book has made; even her teacher noticed. She loves it, and I love it. I can't believe what wonderful things she's writing now!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marianna Bailey on February 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my 8 year old granddaughter that loves to write stories. I love encouraging the girls to follow their interests.
Her mom said she is using the book and loves it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have been looking for a book on writing for kids for the longest time when my friend loaned me Spilling Ink. I fell in love with it right away and decided I had to have a copy. It is well written and really funny. My writing has improved a lot since I read this. The authors give tips on how to build suspense, get past writers block, how to make your characters come alive, etc... There are also some neat tips on naming characters and getting to know their personalities. The authors are so funny and creative! I've read this book two times already and I'm going to read it many more times!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By meme on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ordered for grandchild who wants to write. Found very helpful. Lots of encouragement to keep her interested in writing.thank you.
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