Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seize the Story by Victoria Hanley

Grade: A

Aimed at ages 11 and up.

This is going to be a very unorthodox review. Seize the Story is an informational, educational book, not fiction, though it is aimed at young adults who like that sort of thing.

Before reading this book, I knew that Victoria Hanley was an excellent writer. Her first book, The Seer and the Sword, has been one of my favorites for years. Seize the Story is a great store of knowledge that showed me exactly how she got there. Any teen--or young adult, for that matter--who has ever had any aspirations to write a novel, curiosity about how authors do it, or a mere passing fancy that you may at some point wish to create art of your own should read this book. It was altogether enlightening, educational, and very, very valuable to the writer within me.

Hanley goes into very great detail about ten important topics writers deal with, and informs the reader in an easy-to-understand, fun way how to go about correcting your mistakes or beginning fresh with each topic. Her book is fraught with writing exercises that will stretch your imagination and make your writing that much stronger.

I take my writing very seriously, but before I read this book I hadn't realized how many different ways there are to improve my own writing, in the simplest ways. In this book, Hanley spills all the secrets using real excerpts from novels and stories that you may have read, and gives examples on how it is done wrong as well as right. Things you thought your English teacher had taught you, you will read about here and realize that there is so much more to it.

But throughout the book, one thing is emphasized beyond anything else: Your writing is yours, and your style is yours. Every author is different.

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