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Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults Paperback – March 9, 2011
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I'm an editor at a major children's house, and I see manuscript after manuscript cross my desk all with similar flaws. Unpublished authors are often working on their own, and don't always know what they need to take their book to the next level. This book tells them, with clear, incisive and deeply practical advice from a veteran in the field.
The author tackles thorny problems such a plot, character and theme, as well as questions on how to get published (Her annotated query letter from hell is hilarious, and spot on.) She brings an impressive depth of thought to the topic, as well as crystal-clear writing and fun.
I wish all prospective authors would read this book before sending out their manuscripts. Books written with SECOND SIGHT as their guide are sure to have a leg up on their competition.
On the good side:
It's absolutely chock full of stellar advice. Klein brings an obvious wealth of experience to the table and she shares in gems of solid detail, instead of the often useless generalities found in similar books. Almost everything she has to say is of worth to writers of all stripes, not just YA writers.
On the bad side:
I found myself continually frustrated by the lack of organization in the presentation of the material. The chapters are presented basically verbatim from blog posts and conference talks with little attempt to eliminate redundancies or coordinate subjects.
In the end, however, I'll both be keeping the book for my private library and recommending to others, since its insights finally outweighed the aggravation of their presentation.
In this case, the source is impeccable. Cheryl B. Klein, who started out as an editorial reader at Scholastic Books for Arthur A. Levine Books, is now a Senior Editor for that imprint. In other words, she's a seasoned pro with over a decade in the publishing trenches, and in this 313-page book, she's generously shared her considerable knowledge about writing, editing and publishing book-length children's fiction and YA (Young Adult) fiction. (Scholastic, if you don't know, is the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. And Klein, if you didn't know, was the continuity editor for Harry Potter novels 5, 6 and 7.)
Collecting selected talks Klein's given at writer's conferences, conventions, and other venues over the years, this book shares a wealth of knowledge enormously useful for any fiction writer, not just those who write for children or YA readers: The plot checklist on page 94 should be carved in stone and mounted on every fiction writer's desk--it's time-tested, accurate information, and an excellent roadmap for insuring your novel is headed in the right direction and gets to where it needs to go.
Right upfront, in "An Explanation of This Book," Klein writes that she is "a narrative nerd. I love reading stories, taking them apart and seeing how they work, then putting them back together with each piece polished and gleaning." In this book, she shows how YOU, the beginning writer, can do just that for your own fiction; in other words, she shows how to avoid the sandpits, traps, and blind alleys in which beginning writers often find themselves in.Read more ›
Scholastic super-editor Cheryl Klein* has compiled seven years' worth of her conference talks, blog posts, and web features into one book. As the title implies, the goal of this book is to give you an editor's perspective for analyzing and revising your book.
The verdict: It does!
The background: I read SECOND SIGHT initially because I was lucky enough to interview Klein for the 2012 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market), and the interview centered on concepts in SS, as well as other topics. I had to frequently remind myself of my impending deadline and the interview questions that had yet to be written, because SS made me want to open up my work-in-progress and get tinkering. Now that's an effective book on craft.
The explanation: SECOND SIGHT works for me for a number of reasons, namely...
1. It's an excellent blend of philosophy and technique. Klein first explains why and how something works (such as voice or plot/character development), then offers concrete advice or worksheets on how to make it shine in your WIP. Nothing makes me snooze more than a lofty book of 500 pages of theory. This is not that book!
2.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are many books out there about how to write and sell your children's book; none can hold a candle to Cheryl Klein's for clarity, inside knowledge and practical advice. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Suzanne Kuller
Pile-o-presents day. Remember the anticipation from the night before? Flutters in the stomach and a jump-up-and-down, I-just-can’t-wait-another-minute feeling? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lisa Redfern
This is most certainly a book with lots of valuable information about writing fiction. It's definately staying next to my computer for inspiring reference when writing fiction.Published 4 months ago by Fay
Great resource for writers interested in breaking into the market. I appreciated the straight talk and the practical tips on both writing and publishing what I've written.Published 14 months ago by Molly Olecki
I really didn't get anything out of this book. There was a lot of self promotion going on.
There was information I am sure others will find helpful, just not for me.
This book was recommended by Denise Jaden in her book. After completing another National Novel Writing Month marathon, I have been using it to help me in the revision and editing... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lydia E. Harris
Excellent. I've read it and taken notes. I plan to read it again very soon and apply much of what I've learned. It is one of my favorite books about the writing process.Published 20 months ago by Rosie
Not boring theory, but down to earth ways to improve your manuscript. I have many writing books that attempt to tell me how to write. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Dayne Sislen