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Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  782 Ratings  ·  176 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,
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Square Fish
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Jun 20, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy Bearce
This is the best book on the craft of creative writing that I've read that is aimed at elementary kids and middle schoolers. It's written to the young people themselves, which is fun, and offers challenges and advice from two different authors. Teachers could easily incorporate it into their classrooms. I am asked sometimes which books to help someone learn to write. My favorite writing book for high schoolers and up is On Writing, by Stephen King, followed by Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. And I ...more
Mar 17, 2011 Cherylann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
A great book on writing!
Tonya Shuford
Jun 20, 2016 Tonya Shuford rated it it was amazing
As an instructional coach, I have used this book to inspire three fourth grade classes to add more meat to their writing. The co-authors are published authors of children's literature. They share how to bring characters and writing to life in a hilarious and amusing way. Threaded throughout each chapter are dares for the reader to complete. My daughter that is about to enter 7th grade absolutely LOVES this book. She stole it from me! Her favorite part is the dares that are threaded throughout ea ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Tate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spilling ink is a book with many tips about how to write a book. It is tips on how to write, not how to write. It gives great examples and great explanations on why the tips work. It is broken up into sections, for example, one section is about characters and how to make them seem realistic. Another section is about how to make a good conflict in the story. Spilling ink is a book with tips of how to write a book.
I loved the book. It really helped me on my journey to be an author. It had very f
Jul 10, 2016 Collin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved how this isn't just your typical tips from some guy no ones ever heard of. This book was written by numerous well known authors and the way they wrote it really appealed to my senses, especially seeing as how the styles were different amongst writers however seemed to be written solely for me. I liked how there was some humor in some areas, like the prologue the very first sentence read "Congratulations! No one ever reads the prologue so I'd like to give you some kudos, we're gonna get a ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
"Here's the best part of being a writer: Your words can change the world."

Very insightful. And more than just helpful.
Lauren Vender
Mazer, A., Potter, E. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer's handbook. Square Fish.

Citation by: Lauren Vender

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: Ref 818.8

Content/Scope: This handbook gives students tips for improving their writing. It discusses topics such as voice, plot and character development, and revision.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: The book is written by two well known authors.

Arrangement/Presentation: It includes specific tips for improving writing and getting started on a new writing pr
Mar 18, 2016 Caleb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spilling Ink
By: Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
Review written by Caleb Naeger

Spilling Ink, by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, is a young writer's handbook that suggests methods of writing that work for the authors, but ultimately shows that the only rules you have to follow are the ones that work best in a particular piece of writing or for a particular author. This book also shows that, even if you don’t think you can write, anyone can be a writer. In conclusion, this informative nonfiction handbook
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
"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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've started taking an interest in writing for kids, and grabbed this one based on Amazon reviews. It's fun and very respectful of its audience - basically a standard writing guide written in language that appeals to young people. Maybe a little bit of information overload. Also, it assumes that the reader wants to be a "professional writer", and spends a lot of time describing the day-to-day life of a person with that "job", as well as the pros and cons of that choice, as if it's just a straigh ...more
Alissa Trammel
Potter, E., Mazer, A. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer's handbook. New York: Roaring Brook Press.

Citation: Alissa Trammel
Type of Reference: Handbook
Call Number: Ref 808

Content/Scope: This handbook was written for young writers, 5th to 9th grades, to assist them in the writing process, from the perspective of professional writers.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: Each of these authors has published other books, with Anne Mazer writing more than 45 books for young writers.

Arrangement/Presentation: Thi
Laura Faulkner
Mazer, A., Potter, E., & Phelan, M. (2010). Spilling ink: A young writer's handbook. New York: RB Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press.

Citation: Laura Faulkner
Type of Reference: Handbook
Call Number: Ref 808.3

Content/Scope: This handbook is written for young writers in 5th through 9th grades. The content is designed to aide them in the writing process with various form of books ranging from picture books to elaborate fiction. Writing Prompts are included and referred to as “I Dare You’s” to encou
Abby Moreland
Jun 02, 2012 Abby Moreland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dana and Sonja
Jun 18, 2016 Dana and Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookaday
I LOVE using this book with my middle school students. I've read a lot of books like this one, but Anne's and Ellen's voice is the perfect match for students in this age group. They are open and honest about the challenges of writing and what writers can do to create strong characters and plots. They're also hilarious! Just today, I used a the "Getting to Know Your Characters' Deep Dark Secrets" chapter as a minilesson when teaching mystery fiction. It's been a joy using this writing resource in ...more
Anastacia *gaining love* Asbury
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  ·  review of another edition
This is a joyous energetic writing guide, good for any age! Seems especially appropriate for middle-grade authors.
Loved this helpful and motivating/inspiring book =)
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Apr 26, 2015 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ellen Potter is the author of many children's books, including the Olivia Kidney series, Pish Posh, SLOB, and The Kneebone Boy. Her non-fiction book, Spilling Ink; a Young Writer’s Handbook, was co-authored by Anne Mazer

Olivia Kidney was awarded Child magazine’s “Best Children’s Book Award” and was selected as one of the “Books of the Year” by Parenting magazine.

SLOB is on more than 10 state book
More about Ellen Potter...

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