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This book is unique in that it talks directly to kids about writing, in a personal rather than a "textbook" manner. I can't think of any other books for kids that do this (other than the others by Fletcher listed at the end), and it is so valuable! The book is also simply very interesting and well-written. This book is not about the craft and mechanics of writing, but about how to establish that all-important *habit* of writing. It's about all the elements that enable and support a person to actually write. I don't know whether this book or "A Writer's Notebook" by Ralph Fletcher should be read first; they are both so important. I'm thinking of having my students read them concurrently. I love the fact that Fletcher does not teach "the process," but rather encourages kids to find their own process. He cautions students not to "prewrite the life out of their topic" through excessive prewriting. It is also made clear, through the book's inspiring interviews with children's writers, that the processes that these successful writers use differ greatly from each other. One of the authors says she would never talk about her topic before writing about it, because "ideas bring with them an energy to write them. If I talk about them instead, I lose that initial energy that's crucial." I am a prolific writer, have almost never written an outline (before writing) in my life, and have always disagreed with requiring kids to do so (see Peter Elbow books for more on the process I use - freewriting). Some of the topics this book goes into are where to write, finding an idea, brainstorming, getting started, amount to write, rereading, handwriting vs. using a computer, research, rough drafting, revision, and the proper place of grammar and spelling (definitely never "disturb the flow," when you're writing well, to deal with them). In all these topics, a variety of options are given, with liberal use of quotes from both kids and adult authors. Fletcher makes it clear that "getting an idea" and "getting started" are two distinct activities, and not necessarily related. It's common to have a great idea that you never bring to fruition, and even more common to just start writing, with no ideas initially. In fact he goes into the value of writing "just a bunch of slop," and valuing it as a form of "exercising." His overall message is that although some people are born or inspired writers, for most people, writing is hard work. You have to live a full life to have material; be conscientious in capturing those inspired thoughts and moments in your writer's notebook; do the tough work of writing something bad as a first draft; be open to "radical surgery" type revision; reread your own work incessantly; solicit feedback; be a careful editor; and look for appropriate places to publish. Lastly, I read this book as a mother of three and a teacher who supervises homeschooling families. Since reading this (and Fletcher's other wonderful books: "A Writer's Notebook" and "Live Writing"), I haven't been able to stop writing poetry myself (which is not something I normally do)!
I am glad I didn't know this was written for young people!
I love to write and like to think I have a wonderful novel and play in the works yet they never seem to get finished because I am frequently paralyzed by perfection. How Writers Work is a great antidote for the miserable disease of perfect procrastination. Thoughtful, insightful and joyfully embracing it addresses the curious and open child that still lives within our heart and in the back of our mind, you remember... the adventurous little kid who never associated cats pooping in sand with making mud pies and eating them?
I loved this book and will keep it as my go-to kick in the pants when I get all tangled up in my perfect fishing nets. Yes, this book has many wonderful ideas about how to write creatively, but more importantly, it reminds we somewhat anal adults how to direct our simpler, inner genius so we can easily whip up marvelous mud pies instead of getting bogged down perfecting the art of tarts.
Being a book blogger, I feel that it is important to understand some of the key skills in creative writing. The book is written for those starting out on their writing journey and it feels more like it is aimed at those in or just left school. The hints and tips given really helped me in my own writing style on my blog, This book is written in an easy to follow and understand tone. The author writes as if he is talking to you directly and trying to help you understand some of the techniques in creative writing rather than telling you what you should be doing. Its a great book if you want to help yourself get starting with your writing career.
There were some interesting ideas. The author walks you through the entire creative process, including stuff that some might consider obvious - e.g. make yourself comfortable when you write. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the book (kindle) was marred by the numerous spelling errors. The author does advise wannabe writers to focus on the ideas and not to worry too much about spelling :-) However, I think that in this case, the book was scanned and converted to digital format, but no one bothered to proof-read the final product. A book on writing (even if it was only an e-copy) should not be filled with so many spelling mistakes, and so I gave it three stars instead of four.
This book gave a simple introduction to the world of writing for young readers. Fletcher described many different tactics that authors use and how you as a writer may begin to implement them. He includes writings from other authors on the subject as well. Great book to use in the classroom with young writers.
Just what I was looking for to help me to find a writing process. I think I have a book running around in my head but had no idea how to put it on paper. I am half way thru the book now and it has been very helpful.
The simple and friendly writing actually help me quite a bit when I feel discouraged about my own writing. I'm not a young writer anymore, but still find this book useful. It's a good reminder that simplifying things can really help with writers block.