Readers serious about writing for young people could do far worse than start here.

THE MAGIC WORDS

WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS

An industry leader offers a manual for aspiring writers of fiction for children and teens.

As executive editor at the Arthur A. Levine Books imprint of Scholastic, Klein has edited such well-regarded titles as Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee (2003), Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork (2009), and If I Ever Get out of Here, by Eric Gansworth (2013). With this substantial volume, she distills years of experience into an intensely practical, appealingly conversational manual. Klein discusses what makes good writing, parses the differences between the middle-grade and young-adult markets, and identifies the many different points an author must consider in making choices that affect characterization, plotting, worldbuilding, voice, pacing, and more. She assumes that her readers are themselves readers, speaking to them with collegial authority and confidence in their familiarity with touchstones of the literature. Presenting real-world examples, she then analyzes what makes them work, showing readers how Suzanne Collins establishes Katniss as a character readers can empathize with in The Hunger Games (2008), for instance, and how David Levithan and Rachel Cohn balance narration and dramatization in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2006). Discursive analysis is complemented by exercises that frequently challenge readers to analyze how they introduce characters or to rewrite a dramatized scene as a narrated one. Klein’s prose can sometimes overwhelm, as in her description of creating a bookmap, a seemingly daunting task that may send readers to her website to see an example that could bear out their first impressions. Her use of technical terminology can also get in the way, as in a paragraph on plotting in which the seven uses of the word “obstacle” become itself an obstacle. Still, there is wisdom aplenty in this book, and the discussion of writing outside one’s own culture is worth the price of admission all by itself.

Readers serious about writing for young people could do far worse than start here.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-393-29224-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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