By: Sue Hook
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2015
Perhaps you've always dreamed of being a writer, but just where does one start? The dream can be real and rest assured that "If you have thoughts and ideas and stories in your head, you 'are' a writer." It may be perfectly clear to you that you're interested in writing nonfiction, but what might not be clear is how to go about it. There's no GPS to lead the way, but "this book will guide you through the process of writing narrative nonfiction, from beginning to end."
First up on the agenda is the selection of a topic. You just might have a lot of ideas, but narrowing down the possibilities can be difficult. If you are uncertain, or haven't found a topic that's a standout one, you can "brainstorm ideas." A couple of methods are suggested, but the choice is yours. Once you have decided on a topic, "you're ready for your first piece of writing." Create that title and get ready to gather together the information you'll need.
Gathering those facts you'll need will require that you "find some good resources for information to add to your piece." Of course you will not only have your own memories, but also will need to interview, research, check out databases, and more. This book is a step-by-step guide in which you'll also learn how to work in a chronological manner, select a point of view, write and rewrite, learn to pace your work, and a guide in which you'll learn many more interesting ways to write some truly "notable narrative nonfiction!"
It's not always easy for anyone to begin writing, but I feel this book not only provides a framework, but also offers up a huge dollop of motivation. There are sidebars with advice from several nonfiction writers, including Jeanette Walls, Amy Tan, John McPhee and others. There are numerous informative charts that add additional support. For example, one gives examples of literary techniques students can use. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, suggestions for making a living by writing, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is an excellent guide that will help and encourage young writers to put that pen to paper.
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