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

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,497 ratings  ·  227 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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On Writing by Stephen KingThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.Bird by Bird by Anne LamottWriting Down the Bones by Natalie GoldbergEats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Best Books on Writing
110th out of 431 books — 796 voters
The Magic of Finkleton by K.C. HiltonScrawl by Mark ShulmanHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Best Middle School/Young Adult Novels
44th out of 130 books — 121 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com

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...more
Courtnee
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...more
Evie
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
Kaseka
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...more
Eden
Jan 06, 2011 Eden rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Penny McGill
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...more
Katie
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.
Olivia Ambrose
Olivia Ambrose ~ Informative

“Writing Magic” is concisely written book that explains the basic elements of writing and how to overcome challenges associated with it. Told with a sense of humor and encouragement, Gail Carson Levine makes learning about writing an enjoyable experience as well as informative and interactive with the exercises that are scattered throughout. She makes very valid points about how to write, and especially emphasizes to just keep writing. This is perhaps her most importa...more
Lindsay
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...more
Carrie Cox
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.
Linda
I bought this book because I thought it was about writing about magic, you know, like writing fantasy. It's actually a book for kids about the process of writing fiction in general. But I still liked it. Here's why. In this short, to the point book, Ms Carson Levine tells you everything that a much longer, much more expensive book about writing fiction will tell you. For five bucks I learned everything, starting books, ending books, dialogue, showing vs. telling, how to critique in a writers' gr...more
Braidey
Levine, Gail Carson. 2006. Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Ever dreamed of expressing your own creativity and ideas through writing and publishing a book, but believed it was a task too enormous to accomplish? Writing does not need be an insurmountable mission, Newberry Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her best tips and tricks of writing that will help you overcome obstacles and craft your best writing potential.

What I knew prior to reading th...more
Sara
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.

Spencer
Jan 01, 2008 Spencer rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
Jessica
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
JaNeal
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.
Rae Ryans
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...more
Eve Victorie
I got this from the library, but now I totally want to get my own copy (& will probably highlight the whole thing when I do)! This was such an AMAZING book!!! There were TONS & TONS (did I say TONS?!) of helpful writing tips in here! A must read for ANY aspiring author!!
Charlie
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!!
Mandy
Sep 18, 2010 Mandy rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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.
Mya
Sep 08, 2014 Mya is currently reading it
I'm reading this book to kick start me back into writing and it's doing just that!
Malia
I love how Gale Carson Levine made this book so much fun to read. There are many great activities to do such as giving story beginnings to help you start of a story. Before I read this I had no idea what a POV was (if you do not know what a POV is, well you are just going to have to read this book!) but now I do and it helps me so much with writing stories.

If you plan to read this book be prepared to have a piece of paper and pen/pencil to write tips,ideas,etc...I hope you will love this book...more
Kabes11
May 06, 2010 Kabes11 is currently reading it
i started reading but i never finished, its for wanna be writers
Heidi
This was one of the first books I ever put on my "to-read" shelf here on Goodreads. Back in 2009.... It feels good to finally check this one off.
I love Gail Carson Levine. She has written two of my favorite books, so when I've been blocked for some time in my own writing, I reached out for this. That being said, it was nothing new. Granted, not everyone started out majoring in Creative Writing in college. It was a nice review though, and would be genuinely helpful for those that have not taken...more
Laura Clift
This book is wonderful. I've read it through twice, and it has some really great information. For me writing is a hobby, not a future, but I love it. Levine's book is full of prompts and projects called "writing time" and I've already written three small stories that I'm proud of. Anyone who wants to learn more about writing, whether a fictional story or an essay, should definitely pick up this book. It will help you see your full potential as a writer and open your mind to what you can accompli...more
NebraskaIcebergs
Admittedly, part of what I like about writing guides is getting to read about authors. Truth to be told, I didn't pick up Writing Magic by Gail Levine to discover how to write stories. I've read so many writing guides that now I learn most by the actual process of writing. Rather, I wanted to know how one of my favorite fantasy authors writes. For that reason, I loved the first section! In it, Levine shares all her reasons for being a writer. Just so you know, she writes to be in charge, to tell...more
Stephanie Jobe
Gail Carson Levine is known for her writing and here she shares her methods with her readers. Her guidance comes not only from her own writing but also from her work with writing groups of all ages. While this is aimed at younger writers the exercises are of value to all ages.

I would say that the book is designed to be very interactive. I did not do the exercises as I went through but I would definitely recommend them even if you alter them. I have already used some of the exercises in trying to...more
Sylvia
Kalo mau belajar nulis fiksi yang oke, boleh juga nih baca buku ini. Dilengkapi dengan how-to dan step-by-step in writing plus beberapa tips, buku ini dirasa cukup manjur buat dijadiin resep belajar menulis. Dibuat oleh Gail Carson Levine, yang menulis buku 'Ella Enchanted' (I love that book AND the movie, too!)

Isinya sih gak semua baru, dalam arti ada beberapa yang semua penulis pasti udah tau, kayak misalnya jangan dengerin orang yang bilang ke kita bahwa kita gak bisa nulis, atau nulis terus...more
Andie
This is a sweet, simple and very practical guide to story-storming. I would expect no less from this author.

The overwhelming theme is save everything you write. If you, like me, throw it away because the thought of letting someone else read it terrifies you - then hide it, but keep it.

It's full of whimsical prompts for short writing sprints and is intended for a novice. Each exercise is crafted to get you thinking first about STORY, then characters, then place...then save and start all over agai...more
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13677
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
More about Gail Carson Levine...
Ella Enchanted The Two Princesses of Bamarre Fairest Ever The Fairy's Mistake

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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.” 737 likes
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