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Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write
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Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Presents various elements of fiction, from creating believable dialogue to executing an exciting plot, through to real story excerpts. Filled with tips, tricks, and writing exercises, this guide encourages teen writers to write creatively and explore various elements and responsibilities of fiction.
Paperback, 213 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Cottonwood Press (Fort Collins, CO) (first published 2008)
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 ·  179 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Cameron Coulter
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Victoria Hanley's Seize the Story is full of good advice on storytelling, and full of good allusions to famous novels and works. The most useful part that I found, however, was the advice from YA novelists in the back of the book, which consists of interviews with authors who offer their own writing advice.
Presented with serious intent, there are many humorous parts of this book. Most notably is every single time it offers advice on how not to portray a certain aspect of writing. There are nume
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I only have one word to describe this book: AMAZING!

Seize the story is a handbook for teens who like to write, for adults who want to write YA books, or for any other person who enjoys writing and wants to improve his/her writing skills.

At the beginning of the book the author talks about creative writing classes and why sometimes people don't like those classes. She says that people think that Writing Courses or this kind of book can kill the creativity and put everybody to write in the same w
Gray Cox
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs, lovely, helpful
This is actually my fifth time to read this book, and I still love it so much!

It's so helpful and inspirational, not to mention super informative about the writing industry. I would recommend this to any teen or middle grader, who enjoys writing and wants to learn more about the craft. Definitely my favorite writing craft book so far. ^_^
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could own this book. It's great. I really connected with it. ...more
Anna {Follow me for reviews! (✿◡‿◡)}
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ANYONE who wants to write a novel
This was clearly a very good idea for me to read this book.
Seize the Story was full of awesome tips and tricks for anyone who is trying to write anything, and it was SO INTERESTING!
Besides having tips and tricks, it encourages you not to back down, and to keep going forward.
When I got it out of the library, I showed it to my family and I think they were a bit confused that I was SOO interested in this type of book.
Definitely will re-read, and I am going to try to buy this as soon as I can.
Amelia Rucker
Apr 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best Book on Writing

I should have finished this book back in 2017 when I started on it. It definitely brought back memories of me writing my first novel at seventeen years old. Now with nine novels underneath my belt, I am so glad that I actually finished reading this great book on writing. This is a book every author, young and old, aspiring or experienced should definitely read.
Brooklynn Rose
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I liked most about it was that the author didn't come off as arrogant or all high and mighty like some other writing how to books I've read and it also gave some valuable writing tips. The organization was a little random and the information didn't always fall under the caption it suggested, but it was still all good stuff. ...more
Zahara S.
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really helped me out and is filed with great info
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
When I was asked to review Seize the Story, I was a bit hesitant. I thought the book sounded great but writing isn't something I do all the time, even though I like it.

I'm going to talk about my experiences a lot in this review as the book made me reflect on my writing. Two years ago I attempted to write a book. I had an idea that wouldn't leave my mind and it's still there! I made all sorts of promises and goals and outlines, but I never finished this story. I made the awful mistake of letting
Sarah Cherry
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference-shelf
Seize the Story
Hanley, V.(2008). Seize the Story. Fort Collins, CO: Cottonwood Press.
Reviewed By: Sarah Cherry
Type of Reference- Handbook
Description: This book is packed with information to help young adults as well as teens to develop great writing skills. It is filled with examples and exercises to teach young writers how to bring action humor and drama to stories. This book reads like a novel and you don’t want to put it down. It is easy to read and well written.
Scope and Content: The book gr
Rebecca Czarnecki
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Victoria Hanley's, "Seize the Story" has an incredible warm and inviting tone that invites any reader in, young adult or otherwise, and also includes a large dash of humor. She walks the reader through the various elements of writing a novel, acknowledging the challenges and the rewards of writing in a manner that only an experienced writer could do. It made me feel such a connection at points when I thought, "I know EXACTLY what she is talking about." I think it is one of the incredible strengt ...more
Anna Elizabeth
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: spark740
This writing book was quite good. It was easy to read, engaging, and humorous. The book was filled with writing exercises that I found quite helpful. With school, the amount of time I spent writing had decreased a lot. But after doing these writing exercises, I have gotten into the habit of free writing, finding other writing exercises to do, and working on my book(s) again.

Every chapter starts with some quotes from writers (some of them quite inspiring, if I do say so myself). There are also ex
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There are so many books which guide writers to create great stories, but I've never read a successful one that is written for teens. I was intrigued by this book--cover to cover. While I have other books about writing, most of my students find them to be boring or inaccessible. Hanley talks directly to teens and speaks in their language. Further, I think adults and younger children would also find value in the text.

The best part about this book is that it is a comprehensive guide. There are chap
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lbr
I love to pick up instructional books and see if they have any validity. This one, though written for teens, would help anyone who wanted to learn to write creative fiction. Also, the fact that it's written for teens works as an advantage, because the book is full of exciting material, quotes and advice that never gets monotonous. It guides you through he basic necessities of every story- conflict, setting, characters- as well as the lesser understood but equally as important topics like point o ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the sections titled "Common Problems with _________." These sections pointed out a lot of issues writers face when developing character, writing dialogue, etc. Throughout the book the author provides tons of examples to help illustrate her points and provides practice exercises to encourage the reader to practice working with these topics. I didn't find the exercises to be very creative or helpful and I don't feel I read anything entirely new in picking up this book. I prefered Spillin ...more
Haley Keller
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book! It has amazing advice for anyone who enjoys writing. It's definitely geared towards teens, but the writing advice it has is advice that's great for anyone who writes. I'm definitely going to be keeping advice from this book in mind during the future. I also enjoyed the interviews with the other authors. The book contains so much advice that will really help any teen who wants to make their writing the best it can be. I strongly recommend Seize the Story to any teen w ...more
Susannah Ailene Martin
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I got this book for Christmas this year and did not have high hopes. Most of this kind of book are full of the same fairly useless information. However, I found that this one went above all of the rest. I especially loved the way the author used examples of what she was trying to teach. It was very helpful in a real way. I also enjoyed the author interviews. It was nice to see that some other successful authors think the same way I do. I would definitely recommend this book to teens who are tryi ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
I have to admit that I wasn't overly impressed with the book. The writing style is casual, which I like and my students appreciated as well. It does contain some good ideas, though I don't know that the organization is always ideal--so I played around with the sections we read. My students, however, really liked the book. Most of them wanted to take it home. So that upped my rating from 2 to 3 stars. ...more
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book may be for teens, but if you want a crash course in story writing because you are too old to remember your teens? This is perfect. Honestly, the text is easy to understand, fresh and uncomplicated. All the questions I had about basic story construction as well as a few chapters that bolstered my self confidence were here. I would recommend this as a gift for any young (or old) aspiring writer. Well done.
Joseph dela Cruz
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book caught my attention the first time I took a glimpse of it in the shelves. And did it wow me? It SURE did. This was my first writing book to read and it revealed so much great tips for teenagers and adults alike! Victoria Hanley sure is a blessed and professional writer since the book was proof itself. The book has truly made me see what the writing industry has to give. Great techniques which is probably unforgettable. I'm so addicted to writing books now. Life changing! ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I would say this book is actually for teens who KNOW how to write,which isn't a bad thing. It takes ideas and concepts most young writers kind of understand and expands on it. Honestly, this is the best foundation for any preteen/teen writer that I’ve read. It's best for people who are looking to expand their writing technique. ...more
Tina Rose
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great writing resource. All topics are well explained without being to wordy and the tone is very freeing and open as opposed to many other writing guides which make claims that there is only one way to write. The way in which this handbook is written is inviting to writers of all sorts and does not intimidate or put pressure on the writer (liking so many do).
T.M. Carper
A quick, easy read for teen writers who don't want to go through adult writing books. The Q&A with various authors is enlightening and Hanley does a great job of distilling writing down to the basic levels and even uses modern examples, such as "Twilight" to explain various concepts. ...more
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I've been writing for roughly four years. So, basically, this book ended up telling me everything I already knew about characters and plots and writing in a simple, uncomplicated way. Good for teens just starting out. :) ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the only helpful writing books I have read.
I actually took notes while reading this book and have gone back to them. While other books throw advice on you until you're drowned and depressed, Hanley splits everything up into specific chapters with clear goals, examples, and exercises.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Teens who want to write, and write well
Recommended to han⚢ by: My Mum ;D
Shelves: teenage-me-reads
This was an informative and incredibly helpful book on how to write successfully! I instantly connected with the voice of the book; light hearted with a dash of humor suited well for a teenage audience. An interesting read and would definitely recommend it to aspiring authors like myself!
Rachel Meyer
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This book covers a lot, but all in an easy to understand way for teens who may not know much about writing. She explains everything well and gives lots of helpful exercises. A must read for anyone, especially a teen, who wants to start writing.
Thomas Freeman
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really like this book so far. I was right in thinking that I really needed to start with something simple...i.e. Teenage level! I look forward to learning more as I read this!
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is such an incredibly helpful handbook.
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
This was a nice little book. It contained pretty much all of the advice I've read in other writing books, just in more accessible language (and with illustrations!) ...more
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