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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,723 ratings  ·  402 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'.

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  2,723 ratings  ·  402 reviews

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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
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
Oct 08, 2011 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
Jan 28, 2012 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
Yvonne Olson
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I hate reading books on writing. They're all either dry, give bland advice, or they repeat what they say over and over again, and it feels like reading one of the countless OTHER books out there on writing.
This book doesn't feel that way for me.
I've adored Gail Carson Levine since I was a child. Ella Enchanted was one of the books that made me who I am today, steered my interests towards fractured fairy tales. I've read many of her books, and she is so
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Geared toward younger and beginning writers, Writing Magic has some really interesting tips for just getting into the story you want to write and to seek inspiration in everything. A quick, encouraging read!
Thomas J. Benedict
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cool little book. I always learn something new and important reading these.

Jan 03, 2011 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
Jessica (JT)
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
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
while this was written for young writers, I found it very inspiring as an adult. the content is concise and well thought out. there are plenty of writing exercises and they are not cheesy. her advice are solid and not just fluff. this is a good reference to return to again and again.
Giselle Bradley
This was very much writing 101 for children and young adults. I enjoyed it but it wasn't groundbreaking. I more so enjoyed this book for seeing behind the scenes of Gail's books and seeing her specific writing process.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great, sweet, straightforward craft book, and I wish I'd had it when I was in sixth grade.
Samantha Stambaugh
Great resource.
Review to come!
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
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
This is a great little book! It is obviously targeted at a younger audience and it is perfect for that. It's short, simple, but gives great information and is very encouraging. Even as an adult, I felt I came away a better, more motivated writer and, as a big fan of her other books, loved learning more about Levine's life and writing process!
Hilary Bush
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've never read anything by Gail Carson Levine but I enjoyed this and I felt like she was very encouraging. It put me in the mood to get back into fiction writing.
Amanda  Woolard
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is inspiring and helpful to writers! It offers great insight and exercises that relate.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is written for the young writer, as in biological years. However, I found it no less informative and helpful as a 47-year-old writer. In fact, though I've been writing my whole life, I consider myself a "youth" when it comes to my writing career. I did the exercises at the end of the chapters and even submitted a few of the short stories that came out of the writing prompts. This book was light and an easy read. I could easily have read it in one sitting, but I took the time to do the ...more
Chelsea Hagen
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great book about learning to write. It had some good tips about publishing that I found very useful.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although Levine wrote this book for the "young" writer, her advice is solid and insightful for writers of all ages.
Penny McGill
Jun 15, 2013 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 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 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 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 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 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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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.

Dec 03, 2018 is currently reading it
This book is wonderful, it gives you a number of different writing techniques to practice.

Other Writing books to-read:
Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing
by Patricia T. O'Conner

Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose
by Constance Hale
Sep 22, 2010 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.
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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

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