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Writing Fantastic Fiction


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About the Author

Jennifer Joline Anderson has been writing since she was a teenager, when she had her first short story published in Seventeen magazine. She holds a degree in Hispanic Studies from Vassar College and has lived in Mexico and China. Today, she works as a freelance writer, editor, and Spanish translator in Minneapolis. Jennifer has written many books for young people, including biographies of Wilma Rudolph, Albert Einstein, and John Lennon; histories of the Women's Rights Movement and Civil Rights Movement; and true tales of Jack the Ripper and Bigfoot. She also loves inventing silly bedtime stories for her two children, ages five and three.


These brief, well-written, and well-organized volumes are jam-packed with solid guidelines. Written in a conversational, reader-friendly tone, the series will engage serious students. Colorful sidebars are interspersed. 'Learn from the Masters' provides examples and tips from renowned writers, 'Write It Out' offers exercises, and 'Writers on Writing' presents quotes from well-known authors on navigating the process. The series as a whole holds out the happy prospect that there's a type of prose suited to almost every aspiring writer but that it just takes practice, an idea, and willingness to revise. VERDICT: Teachers will find this series helpful as the foundation of their own lessons, in addition to assigned student reading.--School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

-- "Journal"

The title of this entry into the Write This Way series says it all: it offers solid advice to prospective authors. Beginning with the assumption that kids know some of fiction's basic requirements--'interesting characters, a vivid setting, and a gripping plot'--Anderson delves deeper into these topics and more, suggesting ways to hatch story ideas, develop characters, conflict and settings, and outline and write a rough draft. The all-important step of revising is well covered, too. Boxed sidebars go even further, posing solutions for problems like difficulties fleshing out a character (try writing a character sketch). Other boxes entitled 'Learn from the Masters' feature quotes from authors like Victoria Roth, Langston Hughes, and Lois Lowry. Those serious about a career in writing will learn about prospects (and often the need to have a day job.) Clearly presented and with a colorful design, this will work very well for middle graders, but the advice is so good, older kids will find it extremely helpful as well. An especially inviting way to step into writing.--starred, Booklist

-- "Journal"

Write This Way provides encouragement and tips for aspiring writers. A variety of authors use the same formula in their clearly and concisely written contributions. From Edgar Allan Poe to Veronica Roth, along with Seymour Simon, Gail Gibbons, Edward R. Murrow, and Malala Yousafzai, several examples from both current and classic literature are included along with quotes from the authors. According to the series, the path to writing begins with brainstorming ideas, collecting information, developing characters, laying out a plot or argument, writing, asking for feedback, and revising, revising, revising until the end is reached and the writer is satisfied. Each volume contains suggestions for how to earn a living as a writer, as well as source notes, a glossary, a selected bibliography, and sources for further information. Vibrant covers will attract students. This is a pragmatic and easy-to-use series recommended for language arts teachers and school libraries.--VOYA

-- "Journal"

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