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Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults

4.57 of 5 stars 4.57  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Whether you dream of writing a book for children or young adults, or you want to take a finished manuscript to the next level, it always helps to get a fresh point of view. Try a little Second Sight.

In this collection of talks, a professional editor offers insights from the other side of the publishing desk on a wide range of writerly topics:

* Terrific first lines and ho

Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 9th 2011 by Asterisk Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 859)
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Cheryl Klein
Feb 14, 2011 Cheryl Klein rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: People who like thinking about the theory & techniques of writing for children & young adults
I wrote this, I'm proud of it, and I'm going to give it five stars, just because I can.
Sometimes it seems like I've read the entire internet on my quest for knowledge about writing. I should have just read Cheryl Klein's book. Second Sight tells you all the things--all of them! This book is a must-have for any writer who is working on their craft, and there are three distinct reasons why. Please note, I'm making a list here because compulsive organizing is something Ms. Klein and I have in common:

1. Concrete examples from real life. Too often, I read articles or even full-length t
K.M. Weiland
I found this book to be a little bit of a mixed bag.

On the good side:

It's absolutely chock full of stellar advice. Klein brings an obvious wealth of experience to the table and she shares in gems of solid detail, instead of the often useless generalities found in similar books. Almost everything she has to say is of worth to writers of all stripes, not just YA writers.

On the bad side:

I found myself continually frustrated by the lack of organization in the presentation of the material. The chapte
Cheryl Klein is one of the editors at Arthur A. Levine books (famous for taking on Harry Potter when nobody wanted it). I've read my share of books on writing and editing and this one struck a chord with me. Don't know if it is because of the plain, easy to understand language, the great examples of working and polishing a first draft to a final one, or the amount of knowledge this lady has. For example, the issue of Voice. Most agents/editors describe it as "something they are looking for, can' ...more
UPDATE: I have it now, I love it, it is what I said it would be, and you should get it right now! There. :)


I admit that I have not yet read this book IN AND OF ITSELF. But Cheryl is one of my best friends, and I have been reading her writing for years, and have been party to the very wonderfully painstaking work she put into the production of this book. It only takes knowing Cheryl to know that this is something that does exactly what it claims to do, that it has true value, that it is worth
For writers who really want to understand how stories work and how they can make theirs better, this book is an essential resource. It's a deeply intellectual analysis of many key aspects of fiction, and it's also a practical guide, offering tools such as checklists and spreadsheets you can use to structure your revision approach.

I'm planning to use it in a class I am teaching at the University of Washington this spring and am confident my students will benefit enormously.
Rebecca Sutton
SECOND SIGHT is a must read for all writers. I highly recommend this book! I've already found Cheryl's tips and insight a huge help in my current round of revisions. Just be sure to have a highlighter ready. You'll want to make notes on every page!
Chris King Elfland's 2nd Cousin
May 31, 2011 Chris King Elfland's 2nd Cousin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers
NOTE: This review was originally posted at The King of Elfland's 2nd Cousin on March 8th, 2011. If you enjoy it, check out my other reviews there!

Several years ago, The Professor (my fiancée) introduced me to children’s book editor Cheryl B. Klein’s blog, where I discovered several years’ worth of thoughtful, analytical, and insightful talks she has given on the craft of writing and its intersection with the craft of editing. Having found her thoughts interesting, I was excited to learn that Kle
Rachel Blom
Honestly, I don't understand the many 5-star reviews for this book. It's not bad, but it's far from brilliant. I'd give it a 3 1/2 star if I could, 3 is just too low, but 4 stars really is too high.

My main bief was the fact that it consists of transcripts of lectures the author has given, meaning there's overlap on several occasions and a noticeable lack of structure throughout the book.

Ms Klein can write and she can edit, that's for sure. Her advice on editing itself (the so called TRUCK meth
I love The Narrative Breakdown podcast, and even though I find narrative theory pretty much on a par with MATHS when it comes to getting confuzzled and befused, I'm a sucker for a book on story craft. So when I learned that Cheryl Klein (co-host of the podcast) had self-published a book about editing I had to read it.

At first I was a little disappointed to read in the introduction that there would be quite a bit of repetition -- and please excuse it -- because I thought, 'If anyone can turn a se
Indiana Gregg
If you write and hope for your WIP to be read/ published: read this book. If you want to take your manuscript to the next level: read this book. If you want insight into the mind of an editor: read this book. If you are looking for inspiration about how to create real and 3D characters: buy this book.

Lap up every ounce of insightful information that Ms. Klein shares. Second Sight exudes of the author's true passion for great characters and great stories Actually, even if your target audience is
Jody Sparks
By far the most helpful writing book I've read.I loved this book!
I have listened to Cheryl expounding on plot and other publishing issues. She is honest and probably one of the foremost experts on plot development and keeping up the tension. I have before tried to apply her methods given by her through her writings and others who know her and understand her too my complicated nonfiction that I aspire marketing to an adult and YA crowd as one book or two seperate books. Because I am not thinking so well I would be deluded to think I could do this without help. ...more
First Novels Club
All you need to do is look at the Table of Contents of SECOND SIGHT: AN EDITOR'S TALKS ON WRITING, REVISING, AND PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS to know it's a worthy purchase. For months now, I've been saying to my FNC ladies that I craved some upper-level writing advice -- like a Master's class instead of a Writing 101. (As if I consider myself a writing Master, ha!)

If you've already learned the basics (and then some) of writing philosophy and craft and want that next step up, y
Dec 27, 2012 London rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers, regardless of whether they write YA or not
I got more from this book than any other writing book I've read. Ms. Klein's insight into the editing process are priceless and the exercises had me turning to my M.S. constantly. I greatly valued the insight into the writer/editor relationship. Klein is an editor for Arthur A. Levine Books and has worked with some great writers, such as Lisa Yee and Francisco X. Stark (she was the U.S. continuity editor for several of the Harry Potter novels as well). She walks the reader through some sample ed ...more
Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing & Revising & Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults was a book I picked up at the SCBWI Winter Conference in January after attending Cheryl Klein’s workshop on revision.

It took me a bit of time to get through it, but that’s because I took my time. I read 5-10 pages at a time and put it aside. I let my mind mull over what I read and how it impacted my manuscript.

Ms. Klein writes in a practical, user-friendly style. You feel like she is sp
Catherine Johnson
What an excellent reference/craft book for writers of all genres.

1. I am very pleased to hear that your book is carried through emotions and character. So although there are lots of rules you could follow if you want to, the good news is that the most important thing is to pour out your emotions into the story and see where it leads.

2. Following on from that, do it your way but be aware that there are lots of steps you could follow in revising your manuscript to make it submission ready and Che
Fleur Philips
A compilation of lectures given by professional editor, Cheryl B. Klein, Second Sight is one of the best craft books I’ve read. It was entertaining and easy-to-follow—I felt like I was having a real conversation with a professional editor rather than reading a “how to” manual. The book was filled with samples from some of Klein’s own clients, addressing the do’s and don’ts of writing children’s and young adult fiction. In addition to providing excellent guidance—from writing and revising tips, t ...more
This resource includes some great plotting exercises for those of us who need a more creative approach to outlining and plot mapping. Lots of practical advice with specifics geared toward kidlit spanning from picture books to YA.

The one fault I think is noteworthy is repetition of ideas and concepts. This is a collection of lectures, speeches, and blog posts, and some of the points are repeated, sometimes even three times. This leads to skimming, which is never a good thing for an author. Overa
Joelle Anthony
This is a very useful tool. I think maybe more so for a writer who has a few books written than someone just getting started. I have two published novels, and so I've been through the process twice with an editor, and this built on everything I've already learned. I found it sligtly repetitive in places, but she tells you up front it will be as it is a collection of lectures she wrote and there is cross-over. The only part I took issue with at all was some of the voice stuff. While I can see why ...more
John Hively
This is the second time I've read this book. I've also used it as a reference book. My girlfriend Z says this book is my bible. I'm a month or two away from finishing my YA fantasy novel, so the advice on revision and other things has come in quite handy. I marked it all up, and will return to those things as I continue my rewrite.
Cheryl B. Klein's book Second Sight: An Editor's Talk on Writing, Revising and Published Books For Children and Young Adults is a must-read for all aspiring writers. Unlike other non-fiction books on writing which can read like a dry text book and be just as boring, hers is written with wit and warmth. Her book is a pleasure to read.

Ms. Klein's book is a collection of her talks that she has delivered at writing conferences across the United States. There are no wasted pages or words in this boo
Cathy Lentes
A very helpful, very specific, look at writing and editing books for children. Some repetition as the content contains speeches given by the author in various venues, but overall, a welcome guide I will refer to frequently. My copy is generously underlined with page flags flying.
Joanna Roddy
A very practical book to help writers with craft, editing, and the publishing process. Klein's expertise (she edited two of the Harry Potter novels at Arthur A. Levine Books), combined with a down-to-earth, accessible voice, make for a wonderful read. Most helpful for YA or children's authors, but full of gems for all writerly types. Her 25 editing steps and her lecture on "The Art of Detection" are especially helpful for those of us who love a good assignment and wish we were back in school wit ...more
This is a fabulous book, gifted to me by an even more fabulous friend. I really enjoyed reading the essays and speeches and although they are (apparently) all available on her blog, it was nice to be able to read and digest them in this format.

And "digest" is certainly the right word. There's a lot of information packed into this book, and I found myself having to take breaks between each section to let my mind really absorb what I was reading. It's a book I know I will return to time and time a
I’ve followed Cheryl Klein’s blog for a number of years, so some of the content of this book was familiar to me. This only made me want to read Second Sight more. Cheryl has a keen analytical mind, and her explanations of the details of story structure, using strong examples from published books, are amazing. I always come away with new knowledge and an understanding of the topic at hand.

Anyone interested in writing books for children or wanting to know more about how they are successfully writt
Anna Serra i Vidal
Cheryl knows what she is talking about. These are articles she has shared in conferences and blog posts and magazines. This is sound proof advice but mostly it talks to me as a human being. It tells me her process of falling in love with books and making them the best she can. It makes me really want to become part of this magic world of creating a fantasy. Dreaming about it after this book ended, and the idea still lingers with me a few months later.
This book is one of the best I have read on the the craft of writing. Cheryl breaks things down into simplistic steps, making writing and revision much easier to tackle. Her examples helped make points concrete in my head and gave me passages to study and learn. I also appreciated a look into an editor's head and how they do their job. I recommend this to all writers, no matter where you are in your writing journey.
Nicole Green
Excellent read for writers at any stage of their journey.
Hooray, Cheryl! An excellent and pragmatic guide to writing and revision. The secrets of plot and voice broken down, like a watch opened up and still ticking. I suppose it can't really make the writing process any easier, but it offers many practical suggestions for forging ahead. Well done indeed!
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Cheryl B. Klein has worked in children's publishing for over a decade. Among the books she has edited or co-edited are A CURSE DARK AS GOLD by Elizabeth C. Bunce, winner of the inaugural William C. Morris YA Debut Award; MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens; MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS, by Lisa Yee, winner of the Sid Fleischman Award f ...more
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“A book is kind of like a good Horcrux, if we can imagine that -- a piece of the writer's soul, preserved in a physical object for all time, and changing the lives of all those who come in contact with it.” 17 likes
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