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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever!
Mary Kole's new book is the best writing book ever! I buy a lot of writing books, but this book is my absolute favorite book on my shelves. Actually, it hasn't made it to the shelves... I have it on my desk where I can get my hands on it. When it arrived, I browsed through it and then let everything else go and ended up reading it from cover-to-cover. It is so...
Published 22 months ago by joan larson

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Info
Good Advices. Have to admit that for the exercises will be helpful to have some "examples" to compare if what I did if close to what it is expected. However, the information make sense to me
Published 9 months ago by Vanessa Chavarria


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever!, October 29, 2012
This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
Mary Kole's new book is the best writing book ever! I buy a lot of writing books, but this book is my absolute favorite book on my shelves. Actually, it hasn't made it to the shelves... I have it on my desk where I can get my hands on it. When it arrived, I browsed through it and then let everything else go and ended up reading it from cover-to-cover. It is so comprehensive and laid out in a way that is so user friendly. I highlighted, tabbed, and bent corners over. I had so many "a-ha" moments as I devoured this tasty morsel. I'm looking at my MG book through different eyes. Mary Kole has written a book that all writers should read... not just Children's writers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome!, November 2, 2012
By 
Kim Offenburger "kim" (Metropolis, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who was so impressed with this book. I literally couldn't put it down, then I went back and highlighted like a maniac! I'm working on a mid-grade novel and now feel I have some important tools to help make my story really sing.

Writing Irresistible Kidlit is for writers who have a solid understanding of the craft. But what sets it above the current pack of 'how to' books is that it's written from an editor's/agent's mindset. What does it take to produce the next Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? Mary Kole gives you solid advice on making your story bigger and plot stronger and hopefully, you'll be able to catch the attention of a publisher.

The advice presented is helpful for authors of any genre, not just MG or YA.

After reading this book I did something I've never done before. I wrote the author and told her how much I enjoyed it and now I'm writing a review on Amazon.com, something else I've never done. If you're a writer, I highly recommend adding this book to your library.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, January 16, 2013
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I taught writing at university level so the search for a solid text on the craft was always a top priority, and there were not many.

Until now.

Disregard the 'Kidlit' name in the title. This book is for every writer in every genre. It is thoughtfully formatted as well so that each topic is clearly set out. Each topic is explored from the point of view of a publisher and an agent so the craft insights are pure gold for authors.

I don't know who this Mary Kole is, but from now on if I see a writing craft book with her name on it I will hit the 'one click purchase' button without a second thought. She respects writers. She feels for writers. She understands writers. She knows exactly what insights writers need as they work.

When I read McKee's 'Story' I was grateful for the knowledge he packed into his book, but I felt slapped about. When I read Kole's 'Writing Irresistible Kidlit' I wanted to have her children. Why, because on every page the approach she takes makes sometimes wonderful ideas to pop into your head as you read - and then again later as you reflect on what you have read.

Every page is wise and rich and full of craft and works to stimulate your imagination. How? The insights and the examples are perfectly tuned and they resonate in your writer's dreamscape and the music they make inspires. With no other craft book on writing have I needed to have a notebook next to me just for new ideas.

This is wisdom that you remember as you are dropping off to sleep - that dreamtime that brings new ideas into the world. You absolutely must have a notebook with you if you intend reading Mary Kole's book.

In summary then - possibly the very best book on writing craft I have read in 25 years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book for writers!, December 19, 2012
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This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
Mary Kole's new book on craft, Writing Irresistible Kidlit, (Writer's Digest Books, Dec. 2012), isn't the kind of book you just read; it's that kind of book that fires up your brain, makes you stop every few pages to grab a pen and paper, and dash out a line or two. I recognized many of Kole's points, but the insight was this: Much of what an author does is instinctual; what Kole has done is pull the tools out of the box and assign names to them. How much more useful a tool is when you're aware it exists!

Culling from specific, contemporary works, Kole explains writing practices and goals. In illuminating "high concept," she says, "[Readers] want stories that . . . lift them out of the everyday." Then she asks, "What's something they can't experience in reality?" (p. 31) She then cites and deconstructs loglines for Holes, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Hunger Games, and more. It's this analysis throughout the book that inspires you to put your own work through the same machinations and see if it's strong enough to hold up. Tips are specific: "Make your middle grade characters firmly thirteen and under" (p. 8), and her discussion on the six things readers should know within the first chapter (p. 78).

Shaded boxes throughout the text contain exercises addressing character specifics, theme specifics, voice specifics, etc. Here, Kole takes the abstract and makes it concrete. You'll want to print these exercises out and put them together for reference, a boiled-down toolbox for all your work.

In Writing Irresistible Kidlit, Kole delivers a user-friendly, specific text on the craft of writing. I found it so useful that it sits on my desk--open--as I work on my next manuscript.

I read Writing Irresistible Kidlit as an advance copy, and Kole uses as one of her published samples my first novel, Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A kick in the backside, November 27, 2012
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This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
If you want to really assess whether your MS has what it takes, this book will tell you. It really helped me zone in on whether my MS had the elements it needed to draw readers in. My MS failed and I'm starting over. But with this book to hand it should make it a lot easier to write a novel that has a decent chance of success.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Resource, October 11, 2013
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This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
I recommend this guide to all aspiring Young Adult or Middle Grade authors. Mary Kole's writing style is clear and concise. She dedicates 79 pages on "character development" alone and almost the same on "plot development". I've read many books on how to craft fiction and this is by far one of the best. I also recommend this book to published authors who are looking for a fresh take from an industry insider.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Resource for MG and YA Writers, December 12, 2012
This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
This book does double duty, and I'm glad to have it on my shelf. It's an excellent analysis of the children's book market, and it's also a great resource on craft. Kole definitely has expertise in coaching novelists to write more deeply. Pay special attention to the sections on interiority--the author uses (amazing, current!) exemplars as teach pieces. These concrete excerpts really add to the lessons, showing the reader how to develop hot plots and realistic characters by relying on crystallized details and emotional depth instead of on generic gestures and convenient devices. If you read this book, and take the advice to heart, you'll have a lot of great tools in your writing arsenal, and you'll be that much closer to writing 'irresistible kidlit.'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the investment, November 26, 2012
This review is from: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers (Paperback)
Mary Kole's brand-new book covers all the bases for any writer working on middle grade or young adult fiction. She is very encouraging but does not sugar coat the real challenges we all face in writing for a younger audience. She backs up her points with many excerpts from recent, successful kidlit. I found myself rereading several chapters and highlighting a lot of points. Kole's chapters on character and plot are excellent. It really helps to see kidlit through the eyes of a successful literary agent. What does an agent look for in a new book? Why does one story get an acceptance while ten others are rejected? If you want to know how to improve as a kidlit writer (or any writer for that matter), you owe it to yourself to get this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book for beginning writers, March 15, 2014
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This is another book about the writing craft. Your impression will depend on how many craft books you have previously read. Having read a few I must say I didn't find much new here, but others may find the ideas valuable and for this reason I'll give it one more star than I spontaneously would. The book stands out (which is rare in this genre) by addressing those of us who write for children. The first couple of chapters are especially valuable for aspiring kidlit writers, as they cover specifics of the market for midgrade and young adult fiction, and the mindset of the young audience. I also found the last couple of chapters useful, giving advice for anyone interested in a career in kidlit. Between those sections you will find the usual methods, concepts, rules of thumb and advice that you find in most other books on the writing craft.

Kole gears the text towards children's writers mainly by providing ample examples from MG and YA books. (Similar snippets and examples are found in most writing books and for some they may do the trick, but I personally prefer to read examples in context.) Overall, Kole does a good job presenting the elements of the craft. I would read these, but do it critically, because writing is not a game with a fixed set of rules. Anyone who reads real books (even bestsellers) with these writing rules in mind know that they are broken all the time, so (1) readers don't know and don't care much about these rules, and (2) the only fixed writing rule is 'what works, works'.

If I may mention one thing that I didn't like about this book, it is when Kole (and the authors and publishers she quotes) tells us what not to do, sometimes in a slightly bantering tone. Which types of characters to stay away from, for example. I would say that many of the most memorable characters in fiction are stereotypes on one level or another. Harry Potter is just one example. Stereotypes abound, so it's clearly not about what these characters do in the plot. It's about how you write them and how they come alive on the page. Everything in writing is about application and workmanship, not about dos and don'ts. And teaching by negative example isn't always very effective. Negative examples (showing us what not to do) are often limiting and confusing, whereas positive examples give us models to strive for.

At the end of the day, this text covers most of the basics and I would recommend it for those who haven't read much in the genre before. At any rate I would stay way from the Kindle version of the book, as the advanced formatting with quotes and boxes doesn't work well on the screen. To those who have read a couple of these books I would heartily recommend Elizabeth Lyon's Manuscript Makeover -- a gem that I find myself dipping into a lot. Lyon covers all the craft elements of Kole's book in greater depth and also provides invaluable advice on the revision process. And if/when you are fed up being fed the rules of the craft, read Stephen King's On Writing. It's an eye-opener.

Finally, for what it's worth, you don't learn to ride a bike by reading books about it. You have to get on a bike to see what works and what doesn't. You learn to write in the same way -- butt in chair, writing. These craft books will be useful to help you diagnose problems in a text that doesn't work, but they are no substitute for your own work and reflection on it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, informative, reading, October 27, 2013
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Mary Kole gives a wide range of advice for aspiring MG AND YA authors.Her main focus is on growing in the craft so that you will be publishable. Great insights for authors of any level.
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