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Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly
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Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,087 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
In Writing Magic, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her secrets of great writing. She shows how you, too, can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more. She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she off ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published September 1st 2006)
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Allison Tebo Neither, really! It's about how to make your writing better - how to find your 'pixie dust'.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

Although WRITING MAGIC is geared towards young adults, this is the perfect helper for anyone who has ever wanted to write a book. Creating stories is hard work. It takes practice, discipline, and dedication. It would be nice to think that writing a book simply means sitting down and typing up words, but, alas, it really doesn't work that way. Thankfully, though, we have Gail Carson Levine, Newbery Honor author of some of my favorite books (ELLA ENCHANTED, THE T
Panda Incognito
I'm pretty sure I owe Gail Carson Levine my soul for convincing me to save everything I wrote.

When I was eleven and read this book for the first time, I was desperate for help: I could not control my drive to write, but knew that everything I wrote was garbage, and was caught in a constant cycle of hand-cramped creativity and furious rage over how incapable I was. I wanted to be able to improve, and although no book could ever be a magical fix, this one offered some helpful advice and got me thi
Jan 28, 2012 Courtnee rated it really liked it
Gail Carson Levine is a quirky author. I hate to say it, but I've yet to read "Ella Enchanted" or "Dave at Night" or any of her princess books. I have heard of "Ella" but I just never really thought of picking it up. I might after reading this book. Heck, I'll go ahead and say it, I didn't even know who the author was until she mentioned "Ella Enchanted". It's sad, I know...
It is a very helpful book. I like the way she presented things and how she offered more than one way to do everything, bein
Oct 08, 2011 Evie rated it it was amazing
I'm sixteen years old and have had this book for s couple of years now and let me just say that no book has ever communicated such a deep appreciation and love of the art and whimsical power of writing as Gail Carson Levine did in this book. I've written stories for as long as I van remember and this book has been a true treasure to me! I recently finished an almost 300 page book that sparked from one of the story openers in this book! My story change over time and went from the intended 20 page ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mom ordered this book for me years ago (when I was in my early teens) after I read Ella Enchanted and wanted to read everything that Gail Carson Levine had to offer. She did not read the description so she did not realize that it was not a story, but rather a collection of tips on how to become a writer yourself. When this book arrived and I got my first glimpse of the cover and title I thought it would be about a girl who could write something down and then magic would happen from the words ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Eden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers and those who want to start writing.
I. Love. This. Book.

Writing Magic is not the type of book on writing that tells you how to write. It is more a book of writing prompts and exercises. Mrs. Levine doesn't tell you how to write, she just gives you advice and examples of things like writing in the third person, or writing details in your stories.
One of my favorite chapters is Writers' Groups and Other Helpers. It is about being involved in writers groups, or just letting others see your writing. As a writer I know how it is to le
I want to qualify my three star rating with this: Were I in the age group this book is intended for, I'd probably have rated it a 4 or 5.

This is a good book for its audience, and elementary school kids should enjoy reading the short chapters that teach writing basics with a familiar, friendly tone. This book invites kids to play on the page, and encourages the magic of writing while striving to remove the pressure of first draft perfection. It also teaches readers to "Save what you wrote"--somet
Penny McGill
Jun 15, 2013 Penny McGill rated it it was amazing
Alice and I have had so much fun reading this book. Gail Carson Levine is a favourite on her home bookshelf anyway but this one called out to us from the shelves of the local bookstore recently. It's this wonderful blend of great writing and great advice and really, who could give better advice on being a successful writer than Gail Carson Levine herself.

Each chapter is filled with exercises and ideas for improving your writing and there are personal experiences on publishing and editing work. I
For obvious reasons (ie it was written for children), there's not that much in this book for older writers, but all the writing advice is very solid and helpful for beginners. I'd have loved this book back when I was in the right demographic, and I'd definitely reccommend it to children who want to write. It's up to date enough to include advice about internet publishing, which is good.

In terms of appeal for older people: firstly, some of the writing exercises are genuinely useful and interestin
Rae Ryans
Apr 09, 2014 Rae Ryans rated it it was amazing
I purchased this for my son (10) to use in our homeschool curriculum this year. As a writer, I understand the need to build the foundations early, and this guide offers that in a fun, witty, yet easy to understand. Last year, my son began creative writing on his own. He loves building worlds, characters, and engaging his imagination. I couldn't ignore it, but I realized I needed help.

After reading over each lesson and the instructions, I'm in love. I even found myself asking, "Where was this whe
Apr 12, 2015 Shradhdha. rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommendations
This one was recommended by a 16-year-old patient. She is a wonderfully plethoric writer and will someday go on to inspire thousands of young writers. She would like to be a writing mentor and expert later in life due to a "narrow-ness" of writing education in India for high-schoolers, middle-schoolers and senior citizens. While reading the book, my mind was peppered with reminders of her comments, passion and creativity.

Also got around to watching "Ella Enchanted" (the movie) again - loved it!
Jan 26, 2008 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Being both an avid writer and reader, you can imagine my excitement when my favorite author came out with a writing book. Gail Carson Levine is one of those authors who can make up an entire world with its own cultures and customs and creatures and people and you read it and immediately sucked into it. It's always believable, creative, and enjoyable. Every time I finish a Levine novel, I put it down thinking, "How did she DO that??" She is a gifted writer.
I would recommend this book to any aspir
Nov 05, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, fantasy
I enjoyed this book. It's a book on writing, written to young readers (I would guess middle school or early high school). The book is filled with activities. Every chapter ends with questions for the reader to think about and a writing activity to try. It's a short book, and it reads fast, but the author's questions were good enough that I close the book more than once to work on my own writing. Perhaps that's the best compliment you can give any book on writing: it made me want to write more.

Jan 01, 2008 Spencer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Teens and Pre-Teens seeking to Write
Ms. Levine presents writing in an easy non-overwhelming way that inspires writing even in me. Her advice is a wonderful lead into the writing life and makes it fun when so many writers make it sound like some sort of torturous walk across the desert to make a masterpiece. I wish I had read some of her advice when I was younger. I would have leaned towards the school of revision sooner and not thought that the masters of writing never made mistakes.
Apr 24, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, read-in-2011
Cons- written to a child's level, which is good for them but something I had to get used to. Also had a slow start, but...

Pros- ... it got better around page 30 and kept going. This is good for giving readers a nudge to think about how details build atmosphere. Also has frequent writing prompts that would be good for all ages to get started. In sum, it has all of the characteristics of any other how-to-write book, but puts twist on all of the familiar recipes.

Oct 25, 2014 Kaelyn rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It gave me lots of great tips for writing. The only reason I wouldn't give it five stars is because of the writing exercises. They really are kind of trying to limit your imagination. I personally don't like being told exactly what to write. I'd rather let my imagination run free. Otherwise, it was an awesome book.
Sep 22, 2010 JaNeal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
A writing book for children that beginning writers of all ages will find useful. (Even more advanced writers will appreciate Levine's reminders and tips.) The book covers all the basics for writing fiction and has some marvelous writing prompts. This is a comprehensive how-to book colored with Levine's magical charm.
Dec 30, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, read-2015
Really lovely little book filled with a myriad of writing advice. Nice short chapters so you can dive in and out, and tonnes of writing prompts and exercises. Would be great for a beginning writer especially.
Mar 25, 2012 Charlie rated it it was amazing
I'm not even half way through and its 5 stars already! So helpful. It has a project(she calls it writing time) after each chapter based on what she's talked about in that chapter. Really, really great book.
Just finished. It was brilliant!!
Aug 25, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
I picked this book up for my nine-year-old who loves to write, but I kind of absconded with it. While it appears to contain writing advice for young middle-grade authors, in reality it has something to say to anyone who has the itch. Funny, warm, and full of great ideas.
Jul 06, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it
While this book was obviously written for younger children, it still contained helpful and encouraging nuggets of truth for us old people!
Mandy  Harmon
Aug 05, 2008 Mandy Harmon rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Mandy by: Found it at library
This book was exactly what I needed when I was in sixth grade. I loved to write, but didn't feel like I could. This book was perfect then, not as much now, but still great. =D
Mar 23, 2015 Katie added it
A good book for young writers and adult fans of fantasy books, who'd like to try writing with some easy tips and fun prompts.
Jennifer Ellision
DNFed; nothing wrong with this, but it seems to be a writing guide for kids who want to write. Which is great! Just not what I was looking for in reading it.
Carrie Dalby
Jun 25, 2014 Carrie Dalby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Great refresher for older readers/writers and a fabulous starting point for young writers.
Write. Save what you write. Rewrite. Read. Rewrite. Rewrite. And be patient.
Adrienne Furness
Just as good for grown-ups as it is for kids. Respectful, good-humored, and encouraging. It will make you want to sit down and write already.
May 06, 2010 Kabes11 is currently reading it
i started reading but i never finished, its for wanna be writers
Lee Ann
Oct 20, 2016 Lee Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I was a huge fan of Ella Enchanted growing up AND I'm a writer, so when I was choosing nonfiction children's books for a grad school assignment, I pounced on this one.

Sadly it's not very useful to me now, after 4 years of specialized schooling in creative writing. But for beginning writers I can see it being incredibly fun and helpful. Each chapter is accompanied by an exciting writing exercise for the reader to complete. And each chapter ends with the author advising the young writer to save hi
Mar 18, 2017 Isabella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young writers
This was a lovely read! I love how helpful and kind Gail is. I feel like she was right next to me, talking me through what it is to write a story and giving me tips. I loved her exercises, I'll definitely save some of them for later when I'm stuck and/or want to start something from zero!

Some tips were kinda "obvious". I mean, I've been writing for a while now (even though I only got back to it very recently), so I already knew. But others were really valuable and actually helped me when I got s
Nov 01, 2016 Sherrie rated it really liked it
This book is written for young writers but I think all writers of any age or experience will get a lot out of this book. Sometimes it's good to review the basics and the writing exercises are inspiring. This book is a great way to remember how to play with your writing.
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  • Revision & Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft Into a Finished Novel
  • Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook
  • What Would Your Character Do?: Personality Quizzes for Analyzing Your Characters
  • World-Building
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • The Power of Point of View: Make Your Story Come to Life
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • On Writing
  • The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types
  • Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes
  • Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
  • Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing Deal
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
Just letting you all know: I'm only going to review books I love. There's enough negative criticism without me piling on. A book is too hard to write.

Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and began writing seriously in 1987. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Fairest; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Yo
More about Gail Carson Levine...

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“There's nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you've read only once can't.” 884 likes
“When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. You may already be on it. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross, it burns behind you” 168 likes
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