Review: Wild Ink

Posted on April 20, 2009

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Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults
By Victoria Hanley
Cottonwood Press, Inc.
September 2008
240 pages

Most readers will find that reading Wild Ink is like attending a workshop dedicated specifically to writers who write for young adults. For me, reading Wild Ink was almost like being at an author schmooze. Among the pages, I re-connected with several good writer friends and I even bumped into my agent. I ate my lunch with all of them.

Amid the plethora of writing books in the world, this one stands out because of Victoria Hanley’s talent as both teacher and author. Do the exercises in Chapter 1: Finding Your Writing Self, and you will know whether you really want to write for teens. Only then will you be able to face Chapter 3’s Obstacles and Demons. While Hanley presents a realistic picture of today’s publishing industry she is generous with advice, compassion, and humor.

This book is not just for beginning writers because of all the interviews with writers, agents, and editors. While Hanley features such well-known authors as Chris Crutcher and Lauren Myracle, she also includes some “not yet published” in the YA genre authors, like Coleen DeGroff and Olgy Maria Aleu, plus interviews with self-published authors, like Becky Clark Cornwell. These writers’ stories give this book a feeling of “we’re all in this together”.

As a professional for 30-plus years in the field of children’s literature, I am impressed with Hanley’s thoroughness, accuracy, and honesty. All writers whether beginners or experienced professionals, published or unpublished, will find themselves in good company.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Peggy Tibbetts

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