Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write

Author: Victoria Hanley
Publisher: Prufrock Press
Source: Review Copy (Thank you!!)
Synopsis: Do you wish you had a published writer's secrets at your fingertips, ready to help you achieve your goals of publication, success, and the chance to be the next great teen writer? In Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write, Victoria Hanley, award-winning author of young adult fiction, spills the secrets for bringing action, adventure, humor, and drama to stories. All of the elements of fiction, from creating believable dialogue to exciting plots, are laid out clearly and illustrated with examples taken straight from story excerpts by excellent writers. The book is packed with writing exercises designed to encourage teens to tell the stories that are theirs alone. 

In addition, other published authors of young adult literature share their insights about the writing life. Teens can gain firsthand advice from accomplished writers T. A. Barron, Joan Bauer, Hilari Bell, Chris Crutcher, David Lubar, Lauren Myracle, Todd Mitchell, Nancy Garden, and many more.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

When I was asked to review Seize the Story, I was a bit hesitant. I thought the book sounded great but writing isn't something I do all the time, even though I like it.

I'm going to talk about my experiences a lot in this review as the book made me reflect on my writing. Two years ago I attempted to write a book. I had an idea that wouldn't leave my mind and it's still there! I made all sorts of promises and goals and outlines, but I never finished this story. I made the awful mistake of letting people read a first draft of the first part of the first book I've ever read. Over the next two years I've been thinking of my story, and it's something I always want to finish writing. I just never knew when. Victoria Hanley's Seize the Story reminded my why I love to write.

It's a book for teens so everything is written in a way I can actually understand and with lots of examples (like from Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games) that I was familiar with. I feel like I learned a lot about writing and it makes me want to write. For example, I've always heard that writing rule "Show, don't tell," but I never really knew what it was until I read the section about it. With all the examples given, it made sense. I know November is NaNoWriMo and though I can't participate, Seize the Story is a valuable tool to use.

Though there were many technical aspects of writing that were learned, the most important lessons were about writing as a craft. No one I know writes so learning that published authors feel like their first draft is crap, get bored with it and feel insecure just made me feel better. I felt strongly encouraged and like a writer. It made me see writing less as something I do randomly but like a process that people go through and that is different for everyone. It's a hard road, but rewarding. I respect authors even more now! I also think Seize the Story helps me review books better now that I know more about writing good stories.

There were many pictures and exercises and if I wasn't so constricted in time I know I would of stopped and just tried out everything to learn for myself. I know that at some point in the future I'll re-read Seize the Story and just write. For now, it has encouraged me to just get writing, which is enough for me.

This book is great for writers, especially teens. It's encouraging, informative, and interesting. I really liked it. 4 stars,


1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a brilliant review :) I loved how you described your experiences with writing and how this book made you reflect on many things :) Awesomeness! :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, P.E!


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