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Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  718 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews

Practical advice in a perfect package for young aspiring writers.

After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice,accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Flash Point
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lost Hero by Rick RiordanHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
30th out of 70 books — 12 voters
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Maine Student Book Awards 2011-2012
29th out of 42 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,503)
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Jun 20, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it
I was child writer. Which is to say, I was one of those kids who wrote endless stories between the ages of nine and fourteen or so. Of these stories, I finished only one. And I remember taking a writing class over a summer once that I enjoyed, but otherwise I didn't have a lot of direction when it came to my writing. I dabbled a bit in high school, but for the most part my creative side floundered for many years before getting a bit of a revivification in adulthood. So it's impossible for me not ...more
Barb Middleton
Feb 28, 2015 Barb Middleton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, humor
Good grief. I have 10 pages of notes on this book. Don't worry, I won't put you to bed with a long review, but the great phrases, advice, and lesson ideas had me paraphrasing oodles of sections. Speaking of "oodles," it is a word I've been hooked on lately. Go ahead, say the word. Now get a good gob of spit in the back of your throat and say it like a five-year-old blowing bubbles. My grandson reminded me of this fun bubble-spit game. This book advises to beware of certain "writing tics" such as ...more
Mar 17, 2011 Cherylann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, non-fiction
Admittedly, this book sat on my desk at school for 7 months before I picked it, and I only picked it up because I was feeling guilty that I was hogging a book from the school library that a student or two probably wanted to read. I took it from the library because I thought it sounded like a good read. I had no idea what a good read this book is! I can't wait to book talk it to my students. The book is full of sound writing advice for kids. And the best part is they'll probably take it for two r ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Aɳɳα added it
Shelves: favorites
A great book on writing!
May 17, 2014 AryaTheFangirl rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
Liked this more than I thought I would. Most writing books one reads are really dense but this one wasn't. Also some unique advice which tends to be lacking in most writing books.
Mar 08, 2010 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Two veteran authors take their years of writing, their know-how, and their energy and offer it happily to new authors, both young and old. What could have been a dry subject is definitely not in their hands. Simply starting the book will have you hooked and make you wonder why you never wrote that book that you know you have inside you. Mazer and Potter take on all of your excuses, throw in some great advice, and really inspire you to go for it! Written with lots of humor, this book has I Dare Y ...more
Amy Carr
Jul 30, 2010 Amy Carr rated it really liked it
Whether you are a child, teenager or adult...whether you are a writer or just secretly dream of writing...this is a wonderful reference book to get you writing or help improve what you have written. It is written for an audience 3rd grade and older and really breaks down not only the process of "writing" but all the different elements of story, character, voice, etc. It gives "writing" assignments, examples, and tries to break down this overwhelming task into bite size pieces. I loved the book.. ...more
May 24, 2015 Dayna rated it it was amazing
"Here's the best part of being a writer: Your words can change the world."

Very insightful. And more than just helpful.
Kelly Bowles
Phelan, M., Potter, E. & Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling Ink: a young writer’s handbook. New York, NY: Square Fish.

Citation by: Kelly Bowles

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: 808.3 Phe

Content/Scope: This title is designed for grades 5-9, helping beginning writers figure out their craft. It is a how-to book offering tips about writing, using humorous examples from the writers’ own lives. Even includes “I Dare You’s” in a writing prompts section.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: This title was on New
Mary K
Nov 18, 2015 Mary K marked it as to-read
Mazer, A., Potter, E., & Phelan, M. (2010). Spilling ink : A young writer's handbook (1st ed.). New York: RB Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press.

Citation by: Mary K Smith

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: Y808.3 Mazer

Content/Scope: Handbook shows young writers how to find a voice in their writing, develop characters and plot, make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. The handbook also include writing prompts for young writers to begin their own projects.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: Two acco
Jennifer Duell
Spilling ink: a young writer's handbook. (2010) New York: Scholastic Inc.

Citation by: Jennifer Duell

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: REF 808

Content/Scope: A writer's handbook targeted to upper elementary and middle school students. Contains personal narratives, prompts, and real-life authors talking about writing. This handbook will appeal to upper elementary students beginning on-demand writing along with journal writing.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: Scholastic is a global publishing company
Dec 03, 2014 Guy rated it liked it
"Spilling Ink" by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter is about a young girl teaching the reader how to write. The young girl is supposed to portray Anne Mazer as a child and how she lived her life.
The main theme of this book is how to write. One lesson that this book teaches is how to improve your writing by using various techniques. One of these is criticism, like how to take criticism and how to differ between good criticism and bad criticism. Another lesson is how to overcome difficulties while writ
Penny McGill
Nov 25, 2014 Penny McGill rated it it was amazing
I never wanted to be a writer when I was a kid and almost don't understand my own kids and how much they love their notebooks and writing so when a book like this is returned or I see it on the shelf I always bring it home to try and get into that headspace. I never succeed. It always feels 100% foreign to me, as if I were reading a book about milking a cow (who was the first person to think that was a good idea?) but a book like this makes me see why it might seem like fun to other people and, ...more
Potter, E., Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer's handbook. New York: Roaring Brook Press.

Citation by: Brandie McKinney

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: 808.02

Content/Scope: The contents of this handbook is related to young readers and their writing. Two authors created this book to inspire others to learn about the different aspects of writing and having fun creating writings.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: The authors of this book are authors themselves and are conveying personal k
Kaitlyn M
Mar 26, 2014 Kaitlyn M is currently reading it
I really like this book it gives really good advice on writing books and coming up with the people in the books. My favorite part so far is when you start to write about a person pretend they are alive and real after doing that it should be easy to write about them. Another thing the aouther said was you could base people in your book after people in real life. Your story could also e somthing that really did happen to you. Another idea i really liked was write some names and put them in a bowl ...more
Abby Moreland
Jun 02, 2012 Abby Moreland rated it it was amazing
This was like my 7,000,000 read. This is an amazing, amazing writing book. It covers plot, characters, writing style, writing habit, metaphors and similes, writing picture books, battling writers block, dealing with criticism, and so much more. I go back to it whenever I'm stuck. And though I've checked it out at the library each time, I'm ordering it on Amazon soon. Best yet - Anne and Ellen put it all together with a modern, humorous, and anything-but-boring style!
Popular children's book authors Mazer and Potter provide practical writing tips and an inside peek into writers' lives with this charming writers' guide. Whimsical illustrations by Matt Phelan enhance the book's playful tone. Give this book to an aspiring young writer or add it to classroom and library collections.

Anastacia *Witchy Mabel* Asbury
Feb 25, 2011 Anastacia *Witchy Mabel* Asbury rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
ummm not sure what page but this will sure help me!!! there are some very unusual but very, very, very, VERY useful tips and ideas in having a sleepover with your characters where you ask them about themselves... Best writing book ever!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 28, 2010 Wendy rated it it was amazing
This is a joyous energetic writing guide, good for any age! Seems especially appropriate for middle-grade authors.
Jan 30, 2016 TheLibraryOfSarah rated it really liked it
Loved this helpful and motivating/inspiring book =)
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Apr 26, 2015 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-14
This is a book I wish I'd read forty years ago. I always wanted to write, and I always did write, but I never wrote often enough or adventurously enough. With this kind of encouragement, my life might have turned out a whole lot different.

There wasn't any fan fiction on the internet in my younger days (there wasn't even any internet), and the idea of writing down stories to share with my friends would never have occurred to me. And I had the idea that writing, any writing, had to be totally orig
Sep 26, 2011 NebraskaIcebergs rated it it was amazing
Having never heard of Anne Mazer or Ellen Potter before, their writing biographies initially felt a little less important than the tips about writing that I could pick up from their guide: Spilling Ink. Ironically, I've now added their novels to my reading list. Such is the power of a good writing guide! (It also doesn't hurt that Mazer has written a series of books about a girl who wants to be a writer.) If you aren't a fan of novels where the character viewpoints switch back and forth (and I'm ...more
Stephanie Jobe
May 02, 2012 Stephanie Jobe rated it it was amazing
First off just because something is illustrated doesn’t mean that there are huge amounts of images. I always love having a well placed smattering of pictures and Matt Phelan’s sketch style illustrations fit right in with the creative atmosphere of this book. I’ve always been drawn to things with stark contrast so the black and white on this cover styled like the yellow legal pads I used to tear through makes my heart happy.

I spent much of this book smiling a very silly smile and nodding in agree
Dec 23, 2015 Ciarra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young Writers
Shelves: favorites
Spilling Ink By Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer is a handbook for young writers. In this book Ellen and Anne give all sorts of tips and advice on making a book. From making characters come to life to how to turn on your idea radar, this book has it covered. Spilling Ink also gives some insight on making picture books and more on being a writer instead of just how to make a book.

Spilling Ink really is a great handbook for any young author. I feel like a changed writer after reading it. I feel more co
Deana Chandler
Phelan, M. l., Potter, E., & Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling ink: a young writer's handbook. United States of America: Flash Point.

Citation created by: Deana Chandler
Call Number: 808

Description: This is a how-to manual that serves as a guide for aspiring writers.

Content/Scope: The book offers advice about the writing process. It covers everything from character and plot, to accepting criticism and dealing with writer’s block.

Accuracy/Authority: This handbook has received positive reviews by repu
Phelan, M. l., Potter, E., & Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer's handbook. United States of America: Flash Point.

Reference Type: Handbook

Call Number: 808.02

Content/ Scope: This handbooks guides students (gr. 4-7) through process it takes to be a writer. It offers tips and opportunities for the reader to use the knowledge they have gained though “I dare you” sections. The handbook is available in audio format.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: The authors are experienced writers. The tips
M. Neeley
Jun 22, 2012 M. Neeley marked it as to-read
Shelves: reference
Melissa Neeley

Mazer, A., Potter, E. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer’s handbook. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press.

Type of Reference: Handbook
Call #: Y808.3 Mazer
Cost: $15.34

Description: This book offers playful advice on how to progress through the writing process for intermediate students.

Relevance and Relationship: A useful writing guide for older elementary or middle grade students, this handbook can be used in all content areas across the curriculum.

Purpose: This handbook analyze
Elizabeth Lamantia
Jun 22, 2012 Elizabeth Lamantia marked it as reference
Reviewed by: Elizabeth LaMantia
Format: Handbook
Item Title (APA Style):
Phelan, M. l., Potter, E., & Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling ink: a young writer's handbook. United States of America: Flash Point.
Call number: 808.3
Reviewed in: Brownson, A. (2011). Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook. School Library Journal, 57(7), 52.
Price: $17.99
Book of helpful hints for young writers.
Relevance and Relationship:
This book would be appropriate for the collection analyzed during my field ex
Brandi Plumlee
Jun 22, 2012 Brandi Plumlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Name: Brandi Plumlee, LME 508
Potter, E., & Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer’s handbook. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press.
Cost: $8.99 (Barnes and Noble)
Dewey/Call Number: (Not available from Library of Congress)

Reading Level: 9-14 years

Category: Elementary Level/Non-fiction Reference-Handbook

Review Citation:
Brownson, A. (2011). Book Review [Review of the book Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook]. School Library Journal, 57(7), 72. Retrieved on June 16, 2012 from Academic Se
Jean V. Naggar Literary
Aug 08, 2012 Jean V. Naggar Literary rated it it was amazing
“Agreeable, practical, and commonsensical...Engaging and always appealing illustrations...Will go a long way to convincing their audience that writing can actually be fun!” --Booklist

“Cogent and invaluable.” --Publishers Weekly

“Engaging and informal...[Readers] will feel as if they have been allowed into a friendly conversation with masters of their craft. The best of recent volumes on the subject.” --Kirkus

“Terrific...practical and delightful...crafted with joy and verve.” --VOYA

"One of the bes
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Quite a lot of Anne Mazer’s writing education took place while she was unconscious. Her parents wanted desperately to become writers and made themselves get up at 4:00 a.m. Every morning in order to have writing time before their three young children awoke. The first thing Anne heard every day was two big, noisy electric typewriters. The furious sound of typing was her childhood wake-up music. Dur ...more
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