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.
“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