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The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  293 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Create Unforgettable Stories for Kids! You dream of writing stories that children respond to–the kind they come back to again and again. Nancy Lamb can help you achieve that dream. She mixes insightful advice for mastering storytelling with dozens of examples that illustrate a variety of plot-building techniques.

Nancy's instruction covers everything from format and content
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Paperback, 232 pages
Published September 20th 2001 by Writer's Digest Books
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Barb Middleton
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
More of an introduction than in-depth look at the writing craft, I found this book a good refresher, especially with my teensy-weensy memory. I did skim some parts such as beginning, middle, end, conflict, and voice, but I did find some of the writing information helpful when it comes to analyzing stories as I read them. I didn't particularly like the first chapter that focuses on what she calls the "magic hour" which is basically your brain working on your story while you sleep. The following c ...more
Taylor
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read a lot of books on writing, and Nancy Lamb is one of the most gracious how-to writers. Although this book was geared towards writing for kids & young adults, the tips and advice are applicable to crafting and structuring a story for all ages. No matter where you’re at with creative writing, it’s a great introduction and a great refresher. She quotes passages from a variety of books to show examples of the topics at hand. She writes about crafting an enticing beginning; choosing the righ ...more
Alexander Velasquez
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent work. I have read Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style,' Stephen King's 'On Writing,' James N. Frey's 'How to Write a Damn Good Novel,' Aristotle's 'Poetics,' and 'Writing Fiction for Dummies.' and Let me say, I STILL had things to learn from Nancy Lamb. Maybe that was because this was geared for writing to children, as opposed to a general or to different audiences like the above works. But Lamb covers it all, so it was good to refresh on a lot. Everything is covered, from the ABC ...more
Stacy Nyikos
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lamb’s Writer’s Guide is a bare bones outline of the how-to’s of writing a children’s book. It is a resource I come back to when I want the basic essentials. When working on the critical essay on “First Sentences: A Story’s Booster Rockets”, I referred to Lamb for a foundational concept of what a first sentence, or, more broadly, the opening paragraphs, are supposed to do for a piece. There are a variety of approaches and tactics a writer can employ. Lamb narrows them down to six: 1) “give the r ...more
Deborah
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
This is an excellent book on writing, and I'd highly recommend it to any writer who's just starting out (even if you're writing for adults). I didn't learn much new information from the book since I've learned much this from a "writing for children" course I took, from other books, and from critiquing first thirteen lines on online writer's forums. However, I'm adding this book to my personal library for periodic review since it's very nice to have all that information in one place. ...more
Sharon
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is not as good as her other book The Art and Craft of Storytelling which I have read twice. A lot of the info from the crafting children's stories book is reprinted in The Art and Craft of Storytelling book (I would recommend that book hands down.) I will be checking out other books about writing for children so that I can compare more...but this book just didn't do it for me. I wonder if it was because so much of the information was repeated in her other book. ...more
Jenn
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book! It helped me see a lot about steps to take when writing. It has steps about plotting, subplots, theme, premise and much more. It gives great tips, and also has "your turn" assignments after each chapter. There is a great chapter that helped me understand voice and point of view. It has much to read and great examples of books for suggested reading material! Check it out! ...more
Jen Fen
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The author gave some great tips on how to hook a reader and create a memorable character, among other topics. I also appreciated her questions we should ask ourselves as we study our craft.
Chris Derby
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
One of the best books on writing kid lit!!! I keep this by my side when writing, revising, editing.
Shala Howell
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Last year for NaNoWriMo, The (then) Seven-Year-Old convinced me to take a break from writing historical fiction she wasn’t allowed to read, and try my hand at writing stories about rabbits she could read.

The (then) Seven-Year-Old: “And dragons, Mommyo. Your story needs dragons, rabbits, a rutabaga, and a pogo stick that has a sword hidden inside. Write me something that has all that.”

With a writing prompt like that, how could I resist?

But though the finished draft of Ebenezer Rabbit, Dragon Hunt
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Kristina Jean Lareau
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lit-theory
Nancy Lamb’s The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children provided me with some great insights and tips. She suggests writing in a journal--unrelated to your current project--to keep track of ideas and memories that might be useful for recreating authenticity later. I really like this idea and have taken to carrying a journal with me just to write down things as they come to me or to note something that has happened. Writing a full “dear diary” entry never works for me, but always having ...more
H. Rose
Jun 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
I cannot understand the wonderful reviews for this book. It was so generic, basic, and dry. It added little or nothing to the body of on or off line subject-matter content. The only thing I felt excited by were the excerpts of writing from published books. Although, a few were quite odd choices for the author to include. One reviewer on Azon said that Lamb gave "outdated advice, and advice that is debatable." I agree. Having studied children's book writing with Nora Cohen, it is clear there is g ...more
Frenchie
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Would be writers of Y/A
Recommended to Frenchie by: I found it on Amazon will looking for a book on writing for chidlren
A solid advice book but I felt it was not totally for me, because I read it from cover to cover when what I should have done is to dip in an out when I need it.
I also wish more advice was given on how to write for smaller children. Not how to write a novel. I was looking for advice on how to write books on the same vein as the Astrosaurs or Rainbow Fairies, not a Nancy Drew type of book.
But this is one book I would recommend to it anyone who wants to start writing longer work for older children.
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Margaret Robbins
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a two-day course I am taking this March about how to write children's literature (including middle grades and YA novels). I found it to be very helpful. It's definitely a "how to" book rather than a theory book on the topic, which is what I needed. I wrote a draft of a middle grades fantasy novel several years ago, and I wish I had read this book first. I think I would have done a much better job with the draft of my first attempt at a middle grades novel if I had read this ...more
Jeffrey Henning
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Had to read this for school. There are loads of wonderful tips in this book about writing in general, not just for children. On the children topic, Nancy Lamb does a great job of breaking everything down for us so it’s easy to learn and understand.

There are also some good checklists and tips for general writing in here, which can be pretty helpful!

All in all, I think I’ll keep it on my shelf!
Sarazen
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it
A reasonably good book on writing, especially if you are interested in young adult fiction. If you have read other books on fiction writing though, you'll find a lot of similar ground covered. I would have liked more age group specific information. ...more
Denise
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book for my children's book writing class. I found it helpful, but mostly I had already absorbed the same info from my research into writing. Great for those who are just delving into the idea of writing books for kids ranging from picture books to YA. ...more
Neha Garg
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best Writing for Children guides that I have come across. Put in a very straightforward and practical way, with lots of examples to get each point across, this is the most heavily marked book on my bookshelf.
Mollie Claire
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great resource. Truly appreciated the last two chapters of the book. So rarely are the topics of burn out (and how to recover) and the proper care of your creative spirit touched on in "How To Write ______" books. ...more
Yoan
Dec 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children's book writer wannabe
from page 60:

I am wise enough to know what I don't know.
I am smart enough to learn what I don't know.
And I am talented enough to write what I do know.
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Mary
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
I use as a reference book.
Deb
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource/guide for aspiring authors.
Shannon Walker
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites on writing for children.
LeAnne
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Well organized, easy to use. Exercises.
Liaken
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very well put together, highly readable, and full of good advice and instruction. Sometimes it gets a bit prescriptive, but it's really an excellent introduction and reference. ...more
Jazz
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it


Great book. Easy read and full of plenty of fun and exercises. One useful book :)
Stacia Leigh
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Written well, lots of good wisdom, and easy to pull out detailed information from the whole. Glad I bought this book!
Mary
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Much of the information applies to all stories, not just children's stories. Also, it was an easy read. ...more
Yamile Méndez
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful advice that I had heard/read before, but the new approach was super helpful
Bree
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has some excellent ideas, tips and overall suggestions if you are a writer. It can easily apply to many other genres.
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Nancy Lamb is the author of 43 fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children. She is also the author of The Art and Craft of Storytelling and The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children.

Lamb serves on the faculty of the Big Sur Writing Workshop and the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop. She taught at the Hariette Austin Writing Program at the University of Georgia. And she also t
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