CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 5. . . .October 1, 2010
Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens. Canadian Edition.
New York, NY: iUniverse, 2010.
56 pp., pbk., $14.95.
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Kristin Butcher.
I want to talk to you, writer to writer, about how you can write your best story possible. I want you to feel successful and professional and to have the tools that will help you write something that others will enjoy reading as much as you enjoyed writing. And I want to have some fun along the way.
This book is designed to hang around on your desk and be used whenever you're stuck on an aspect of writing or want to start a new project.
As stated in her introduction, this is Heather Wright's purpose for creating Writing Fiction. It's an admirable venture, and she has the credentials to back her up. Wright is a veteran educator, living and teaching in Kitchener, ON, and currently working on a novel for young adults. She knows writing, and in this How-To manual, she has managed to do what many who have gone before her, have not—she's presented the basics in a logical, useful, entertaining way.
The book is a 56-page resource guide that steers teens through the writing process. It starts with a section on goal setting, moves to idea gathering, then character and setting creation and plot development. Wright explores different ways to begin a story, choose a point of view and write effective dialogue. She discusses ways to present description and how to avoid the passive voice. She addresses writer's block and emphasizes the importance of editing. She even explores methods of staying motivated and the importance of connecting with other writers.
The guide also contains writing exercises and templates intended to help users develop character sketches and organize their ideas.
In addition to the book, itself, Wright has set up a related website where she provides additional templates and writing links and invites teens to ask her questions and even share samples of their writing.
Writing Fiction is a bare-bones resource. If the information isn't useful, it isn't there. That is what makes it so valuable. Teens don't have to wade through pages of padding to get to the good stuff. The book contains only the good stuff. Teens interested in writing will make good use of this book.
BC's Kristin Butcher is a former English teacher who writes for children and young adults.
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