Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Favorites! Spilling Ink by Ellen Potter & Anne Mazer

Dear Ellen Potter (and, ahem, Anne):


Truly. I've gone through a number of Books On Writing, and Spilling Ink smothers the competition. I knew that it was aimed for younger readers, but I'm very much a beginner writer and I've never taken a creative writing class, so the clear and concise way the information is presented is exactly what I need. And honestly Ellen, I just gobbled it up because it felt like reading one of your fictional books; funny and interesting and delightful. That part on Suspense - with the man crawling up the window sill towards your little friends - I was sitting on the edge of my seat just like you knew we all would be.

I loved the way it was itemized. The chapters are short, easy to understand, and illustrated with helpful stories/examples and drawings. I found the I Dare You sections to be helpful prompts before I begin a writing session. I learned new things, like the different kinds of third person narratives. Um, Third-Person Limited what? Yes, I graduated from college. All very informative.

What I really needed though, and found such great help in, was the bits on Character and Voice. It's completely changed the way I approach my stories now. Needing to know the desires of your characters? Duh - why didn't I ever think that was important? I found this book so helpful that I brought it with me to Friend Sherry's house for Weekly Writing Night. I rushed to explain my Duh moment, and she looked at me while I pointed to the chapter and I knew she just had a Duh moment too.

Lastly, I'd like to thank you for the age accessibility of this book. When Patron X FINALLY saw fit to return it, and I ran down to the library to pick it up, my eleven year old sister was just as excited as I was. We poured over it together, her with a notebook and pen in hand. The layout was perfect for her - not just a lot of small words crowding a page, but easy to read print with fun pictures and clear-but-not-dumbed-down language. It will make for some great sister bonding time, and it will help her refine her already-impressive talent.

So thanks for this winning collaboration! Two thumbs way up for Spilling Ink. I'm giving mine back to the library for others to enjoy, and buying it on Amazon to have for keeps.


  1. Can I bottle this review and put it on my night table for daily viewing? Thank you! What a great post!

  2. Indeed you may. We all need Thank You For Your Good Work note every now and then!