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A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You Paperback – July 29, 2003
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Ages 8-12. Fans of Harriet the Spy who want to try keeping their own writer's notebook will appreciate this inspiring handbook. Written in a direct, non-condescending style, writer-to-writer, it offers realistic, experienced advice on how to keep notes and use them to create stories and poems. Fletcher, author of the ALA Notable children's book Fig Pudding, fleshes the book out with numerous examples from his own notebooks and from those of other writers, child and adult.
From the Back Cover
Writers are like other people, except for at least one important difference. Other people have daily thoughts and feelings, notice this sky or that smell, but they don't do much about it.
Not writers. Writers react. And writers need a place to record those reactions. That's what a writer's notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don't want to forget . . . .
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April 21, 2011
Fletcher, Ralph. (1996). A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You. New York, New York: HarperCollins.
Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook is an adolescents' guide to everything that a writer's notebook should contain. The chapters are divided into important aspects of the writer's notebook such as lists, memories, and mind pictures. Fletcher's text is approachable and friendly to the young writer. Perhaps the most important use for the writer's notebook, according to Fletcher, is that it "gives you a place to live like a writer, not just in school during writing time, but wherever you are, at any time of day" (3). Through his own ideas and stories, Fletcher encourages young writers to think like writers and use their notebooks as a tool to store and "incubate" ideas (30).
Beginning writers are challenged to start small, by noting small, important, little details of their lives. He even urges them to write in fragments or lists in their notebooks because these always have the potential to lead to deeper writing. There is a chapter devoted to "mind pictures" where he encourages students to pay attention to their world and "drink in the world through your five senses" (44). Most importantly, Fletcher challenges young writers to be alert of the world around them, and to record what it is that they are curious about, what they know, and what they see.
A Writer's Notebook contains all of the necessary information that should be a part of a beginning writer's notebook, plus useful advice from professionals like Paul Fleishman, Naomi Shihab Nye, Louise Borden, and Lillian Morrison. It is a must-read for all future teachers of writing because it serves a basic model to the writer's notebook. Fletcher urges young writer's collect relics that inspire them, record their secrets and memories, and use their writer's notebooks as a place to "incubate" their ideas until it is time to use them. The last chapter, entitled "Rereading: Digging Out the Crystals" explains to students yet another purpose of the notebook, which is to serve as a storage shed for any and all ideas and when it is time to write a deeper piece, students can sort through the rubble and find the hidden gems.