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Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly Paperback – September 19, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5 Up—The accomplished children's and young adult author speaks directly to young writers, providing advice on all aspects of fiction creation. Sections titled "Liftoff," "Heart and Guts," "Plowing Through," "Digging Deeper," and "Writing Forever" address such topics as coming up with story ideas, developing characters and plot, and finding opportunities for publication. The tone is friendly and direct, getting quickly to the point in each short chapter, which closes with writing prompts. Levine encourages readers to take their work seriously while remembering to have fun. An informative and encouraging must-read for young writers.—Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, North Hollywood
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Levine, best known forElla Enchanted (1997), offers middle-graders ideas about making their own writing take flight. Though her concentration is primarily fiction, she notes that her suggestions can help all sorts of writing. Among the topics she covers are shaping characters, beginnings and endings, revising, and finding ideas. But the best part of Levine's book is her honesty as she shares with children the truth that there are no perfect books, that rejection can be as useful as success, and that you thank the creative part of you by using the ideas that it sends. She even dips into the details of getting published, which will inspire the most serious in the audience. Each chapter concludes with writing exercises, some surprisingly inviting, all of which end with the injunctions: "Have fun" and "Save what you write." A terrific item to have on hand for writing groups or for individual young writers who want to improve. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Edition Unstated edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060519606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060519605
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 145 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although WRITING MAGIC is geared towards young adults, this is the perfect helper for anyone who has ever wanted to write a book. Creating stories is hard work. It takes practice, discipline, and dedication. It would be nice to think that writing a book simply means sitting down and typing up words, but, alas, it really doesn't work that way. Thankfully, though, we have Gail Carson Levine, Newbery Honor author of some of my favorite books (Ella Enchanted (Trophy Newbery), The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and the upcoming Fairest, to name a few) who has taken the time to put together WRITING MAGIC. Filled with tons of wonderful tips about becoming a great writer who creates even greater stories, there are also writing exercises to get those creative juices flowing.

The book is broken down into five sections, with several categories in each:

Section one is entitled Liftoff, which includes A Running Start, Why I Wrote This Book, Shut Up!, Eureka!, Getting into It, and Noticing.

Section two, Heart and Guts, includes The Nitty-Gritty, The Kiss of Life, Character Helper, Suffer!, Talking, Back to Beginnings, Where Am I?, Who Am I?, Voice, and Happily Ever After--Or Not.

Section three, Plowing Through, includes Stuck!, The Operating Room, and Writers' Groups and Other Helpers.

Section four, Digging Deeper, includes Show and Tell, Abracadabra!
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Farr-weinfeld on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writing Magic is so wonderful--I think it's right up there with Stephen King's On Writing: A memoir of the Craft, which was so helpful to my own writing. I tore through every page of Writing Magic, and I don't think anyone should let the fact that it was written by a YA author or FOR that particular audience stop you from reading it to help your own writing immediately! Gail Carson Levine gives great, usable advice and has filled each chapter with exercises to improve your craft. Like all of her other fiction, it's a well-written, page-turner! Thank you Ms. Levine, for a true gem of a book!
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By WW@HistoryReader on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm an old kind of guy who came to writing late. I have read a number of books on writing including those by E.M.Forster and Marten Manser. This surpasses them for simplicity, usefulness and directness (if there is such a word. Highly recommended.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By BlueOwl on July 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am 12 years old. My dad bought this book for me. He thought I should write a review on this book. My opinion is: If you think you're horrible at writing, you might want to and should use this book. If you think you're great at writing, use this anyway to get better with writing. This book has good tips for writing better, writing better stories, and getting great ideas for better stories. The author has tips for writing good dialogue, making up unforgettable characters and more. But if you are looking for something interesting to read (like ficitions) find something else. This book can also help you with writing emails, essays, letters, and greeting cards. Reviewed by PJ.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Cazares on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I just looked over my son's writing assignments from the past 3 months - everything from 'Writing Magic' is lush, engaging and interesting!!! And loooong - sometimes several pages (this from 9 year old who says he hates to write!!!)

We have at least 3 other programs (IEW, Writing Strands, k12) that we use - but this little book has really opened him up to writing - and at less than $10.00 dollars - you just cannot go wrong!!

A grateful homeschooling mom
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Margie Read VINE VOICE on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The primary audience for this book is a younger writer, but the suggestions are well worth studying by writers of all ages. Of the many books on how to write I have used in teaching and for self help, this ranks among the very best. It is short and concise, but every chaper should make a difference in the work produced by the reader/writer. An excellent book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By HomeschoolMOM on January 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I got this book for my birthday from my parents. This book teaches you to write books of wonder. Writing Magic's enchanting pages draw you in and make you WANT to be a writer! The exercises are useful and fun! I've written pages that I never thought I could write. I love Gail Carson Levine's books. I'm just starting FAIREST. In the first few pages I see everything she was talking about in WRITING MAGIC (exciting beginnings, daring tales, etc.). This book really shows you how to write magic.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Green VINE VOICE on January 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend recommended this to me with the understanding that it was written for young people, and my first impression was that it would be great for my kids but I would have little use for it. Instead I've decided that I really like the way the various components of writing are discussed in short and easy to read chapters that really get the point across. Plus it's inspiring, making the concepts very easy to apply.

The book covers the basics of writing fiction and does so in a very illustrative manner. It talks about the proper way to use dialog, adding details that help to set a tone or make a point, and others. There are a lot of instructive writing "assignments" that I didn't do, but which my kids found kind of fun. Overall, a nice and succinct book on the fundamentals of writing fiction.
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