What’s Your Story? A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Fiction by Marion Dane Bauer (Clarion, 1992). An excellent overview of the craft of writing, including story plans, selecting an idea, character, focus, plot, point of view, beginnings, dialogue, story tension, endings, revising, and polishing as well as fiction writing as a career. Marion’s clear, conversational style makes for a read as enjoyable as it is enlightening. Though marketed to young writers, also highly recommended to adult writers. Marion dedicates this title to her editor James Cross Giblin. Ages 12-up. See also A Writer’s Story: From Life to Fiction, also by Marion (Clarion, 1995) and The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books by James Cross Giblin (Writer’s Institute Publications, 2005)(fourth edition–revised and updated).
If I could recommend only one craft book, this would be it. Today I’m writing to encourage my students to find a copy as soon as possible.
Though the title may offer nothing new per se in terms of information to advanced writers, the way in which the material is presented makes it a perfect venue for review. I plan to reread it between novels to remind myself of what I’m already supposed to understand but don’t always do.
It’s worth restating that though the title specifies “young person,” the book speaks equally well to adults. That said, it is a great pick for teen writers.