As you can see from my cover photo, I have lots of books on writing. I’m obsessed with them. But today I’m going to discuss my favorite: Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine.
You know her. She wrote Ella Enchanted, along with tons of other, equally amazing novels. But I’m a firm believer that this is the best book she’s ever written. And I’m going to tell you why.
This book was the first one I happened upon as a young writer. At maybe 11 years old, just starting the craft, Writing Magic was the introduction to… everything. Dialogue, description, showing vs. telling, character voice, etc, etc.
This is a book for children, because she wrote children’s books. That does not mean the quality is any less than incredible. It just means you, as an adult, can finish this book in a very short amount of time.
For new authors, her advice is invaluable. I reread this book last night (took about 30 minutes, but I skimmed a bit) and was shocked to see many of the examples she provided I still remember today. There’s a bit about character actions, where she takes one set of dialogue between two girls and suddenly this:
That’s incredible. In just a few short descriptions, Gail Carson Levine shows you the characters you’re dealing with, how they feel towards each other, and how they feel towards the topic at hand. Thirteen years ago, this was a powerful example for me, and I hope the contents of this book can do the same for you!
And if you’re not looking for advice on writing, it’s still worth your while. Why? Because it discusses publishing, querying agents, and being rejected. There’s a whole section on the importance of writing groups, which paved my way for the awesome critique group I use today (Beta Krissy, my sister Paige, Annette, Ashlie, Jackie… and they’re just the people I call first).
I’m telling you, guys. If you’re pressed for time, but still want to know how to start that novel, this is the book for you. Short, rich in knowledge, and written for kids without sacrificing quality.
This book is $5.31. What are you waiting for?