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Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,219 ratings  ·  250 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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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  1,219 ratings  ·  250 reviews

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Mary Beth Revesz
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a great book for young writers. Practical advice delivered in a fun style. I think I might order a set for my classroom and use it as a guide in writing workshop.
Jun 03, 2010 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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, nonfiction
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
Allyson Jamison
Aug 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a really great book, it has a lot of great advice for beginning writers. I wish I had read it when I was first starting out but, by now, I didn't really feel it applied to me. Still a great read and I'm glad for it, just not quite what I'm looking for. ...more
Nicole Dust
Still, hands-down, the best book about writing I’ve ever read. This was the book that really started it all for me. <333
Olivia Koepp
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so I was hesitant when I ordered it. But when I began reading it, I was enveloped. It is an amazing writers guide. I highly recommend it to everyone, and not just writers. Even to people who hate writing, or have thought about it but feel like they can't follow through.

This handbook, ugh, I can't even describe it. I read it word for word and I want it so bad I am ordering it so I can own it (I don't want the library version). It does have a younger writers mindset (hence the title) but I
Mar 15, 2011 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
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
Cameron Coulter
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though Spilling Ink is a book written for younger audiences, the appealing and almost interactive handbook created by Mazer and Potter is perfect for any youth who want to write fiction. It is full of useful advice on dialogue, plot, characterization, and description. Using bizarre chapter titles and activity suggestions, the authors have managed to write a book that is neither a textbook nor a condescending children-advice-column. Much of the content would be useful for adult writers as well. S ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
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. ...more
M.L. Milligan
Nov 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-craft
Definitely recommend for the younger generation hoping to find the courage and inspiration and the nudge to start writing. :)
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is exactly what the title is, "a young writer's handbook." And it's a great one too. With twists and turns through all the unfamiliar caves of writing, it helped in many ways. I started reading this book awhile ago, and I just recently finished it. I'd like to first say that if you are a younger writer, this book is very helpful. One of my favorite parts of this book is the character development section. Specifically the "Naming your characters" chapter. A quote from that part, written ...more
Dec 27, 2015 added it
Shelves: favorites
A great book on writing!
Mar 08, 2010 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
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Tonya Shuford
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Abby Cooper
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really fun read with lots of great tips for writers of any age!
Jul 17, 2010 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
Abby Moreland
Jun 01, 2012 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! ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
Spilling Ink is a masterpiece for young authors! Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter tackle important issues for young writers with sage advice and witty humor. Peppered with clever examples and inspiring prompts, this book is a must-have! ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and I really wish it had been around when I was a child wanting to be a writer. Fantastic writing advice and information written in clear, friendly language. I have bookmarks throughout the pages of things I want to excerpt and share with my students. Really wonderful book!
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 =)
Dayna J.
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Here's the best part of being a writer: Your words can change the world."
Chelsea Hagen
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone wanting to be a writer should read this book. It has lots of great advice and helpful information. It was nice to see that my personality was a lot like a writer's personality. ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good guide that's also captivating. I probably read this like 5 times as a kid. ...more
While written primarily for children and young adults who are interested in taking up the pen, the book is full of good advice for would-be writers of any age.
Wendy Jorgensen
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Spilling Ink is a wonderful book with lots of practical advice. I would recommend it to writers if all ages.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very inspiring and helpful to a young writer
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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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