Review: Seize the Story

Posted on May 5, 2009

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Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write
By Victoria Hanley
Cottonwood Press, Inc.
September 2008
228 pages

Some people are great teachers. Others are great writers. Victoria Hanley combines her unique talent for both to create a great resource for young writers. Seize the Story is a step-by-step guide to writing fiction, from coming up with an idea to polishing the finished piece.

The Building Your Story suggestions in each chapter show writers how to apply what they’ve learned to their own stories. Additional writing prompts are generously sprinkled throughout the book to encourage young writers to venture outside their comfort zones. An amazing collection of interviews with the likes of David Lubar, Joan Bauer, Lauren Myracle, plus twelve more, reveals what it takes to go from being someone who wants to write to accomplished author.

This is certainly the perfect book for teens – or even tweens – who want to write. Yet any writer who puts pen to paper and applies Hanley’s guidance can reach the end of the book with a complete first draft of a short story, or the skeleton of a novel. What sets this book apart from all the other books about writing is Hanley’s emphasis on building and then honing the skills necessary to create interesting characters and compelling plots.

Anyone who loves to dabble with words can learn how to become a better writer. Also writers who are besieged with writer’s block will find a variety of ways to help them unlock their inner storyteller. When Hanley’s techniques are applied to raw talent, story happens. At long last, teens and beginning writers have a writing book that speaks to them.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Peggy Tibbetts

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