A well-meaning and friendly resource that may well save young writers much time and distress and, perhaps, lead to success...

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WRITER TO WRITER

FROM THINK TO INK

A best-selling children’s author offers a comprehensive guide for aspirants.

In 2009, Levine started a blog about writing, short essays that became a writers’ advice column, and this volume presents the blog’s “greatest hits.” Character building and “hatching the plot” are clearly what young writers get stuck on most often and thus receive substantial treatment here. Other issues, such as theme, “mid-story crisis,” back story, flashback, foreshadowing and mystery are also covered. There’s a seriousness about the craft that’s refreshing; Levine is determined to help young writers get the underpinnings right—verb tense, using a thesaurus (or “word grazing,” as she calls it), clarity and grammar. She urges readers to take to heart her advice about usage, writing, “here’s a command about grammar and spelling: Get it right. An editor won’t give the newbie writer any latitude on this.” Most chapters end with the friendly reminder to “[h]ave fun, and save what you write!” The volume has a pleasing circularity, beginning with the author’s discussion of her own blog and closing with advice on writing blogs, since a well-written blog offers what Levine’s became, a means of mutual support for writers.

A well-meaning and friendly resource that may well save young writers much time and distress and, perhaps, lead to success in getting published. (Nonfiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-227530-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A vivid mix of local color and tongue-in-cheek wit, albeit with loud sour notes.

HALF THE LIES YOU TELL ARE NOT TRUE

From a Labrador native, homespun “recitations” in equally homespun rhyme.

Written for oral performance (most are available as recordings) and easy to read aloud despite plenty of regional jargon, these 13 original yarns feature big dollops of wry humor. There’s fog thick enough to eat (“Mother used to dice it with pork fat and onions, / Or she’d mix it with mustard as a poultice for bunions”); the horrific consequences of trying to unclog a septic tank using a pump fitted with an old boat motor; and the experiences of a “Man of La Manche,” who is abducted not by aliens but Capt. Kirk, attempting to beam a moose up to the Enterprise. Recurring characters include 90-year-old “Super Nan,” who vanquishes a bullying polar bear at Bingo, and Uncle Jim Buckle. Paddon trips hard over the edges of good taste in “Berries,” a violent tale of a berry-picking war during which Jim takes a second wife, “a woman best described as Atilla the Hen,” after his first is killed by a land mine—but even that one comes to an uproarious climax, followed by an amicable resolution: “I guess blood’s…even thicker than jam.” It’s hard to tell from the small, roughly drawn figures in Major’s appropriately sober vignettes, but the (human) cast is likely all white. The glossary is extensive and essential for readers outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.

A vivid mix of local color and tongue-in-cheek wit, albeit with loud sour notes. (Verse tales. 11-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-927917-15-2

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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ONCE UPON A MARIGOLD

From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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