Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine

Posted December 30, 2019 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink

by Gail Carson Levine

Publisher: HarperCollins on December 23, 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction, Writing
Target Age Group: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Rating: ★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

Have you ever wanted to captivate readers with a great opening, create spectacular and fantastical creatures, make up an entire country, realize a dastardly villain, write an epic love story, or make your characters leap off the page? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Gail Carson Levine can help you achieve your goals.

Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine offers a behind-the-scenes take on writing and teaches you how to become a world-class author. Drawing from her popular blog, Gail answers readers' fiction- and poetry-writing questions and dives into how to make a story come alive. If you're interested in writing prose and poetry or just want to be a better and more rounded writer, this book will help you on your creative journey.

With her trademark humor and vast writing knowledge, Gail Carson Levine reveals the tricks of her trade, writer to writer.


How I feel about Writer to Writer varies from chapter to chapter, section to section.  Gail Carson Levine has a lot of good advice and wisdom about this topic, and she presents it in a clear, concise manner.  There are tips and tricks to learn from and be reminded of, regardless of how skilled of a writer you may be.  In many ways, it’s a back to basics, but the book is definitely ago chose for beginners and anyone interested in reviewing fundamentals of writing.

Writer to Writer is Gail Carson Levine’s second book on writing, with many discussions pulled directly from her blog.  While I haven’t read her first book on the topic (Writer Magic), it seems Levine has a wealth of topics she’s excited to cover within the realm of writing.  The blog has been running for decade, and it looks like Levine has no intention of slowing down.

There were aspects of the book I like, and aspects I didn’t.  Ultimately the writing style would feed best to middle grade writers – both those who are middle graders, and those who want to write middle grade – which meant that while the overall tools are useful for anyone, this book would really shine for writers like Levine herself.  Which makes sense!

It took me a long time to get through the book – far longer than I expected, given the length of the book – because Writer to Writer reads like a printed blog.  It feels like a good book to pick at a little bit at a time.  Levine includes a lot of writing prompts – at least three per chapter – and unfortunately timing was not great for me to follow a lot of these prompts.  Writer to Writer fits best in a learning environment – I think this would be a great book to teach in a writing class, using the prompts straight from the books writing assignments.  It is one that I will revisit try the prompts sometime when I feel a little bit more spare time.

The pacing was a bit slow, and the delivery bit labored at times – but that is true of any book of this type.  There was only one part I didn’t like and that was the section on writing poetry.  It wasn’t really the type of advice I signed up for, but it also felt weaker than the rest of the book.  Levine clearly has a passion for poetry, but those chapters were so laden with examples instead of advice that they felt a little out of place.

Generally Writer to Writer is chockfull little gems of advice, but it is better served as a reference book than a straight-through read.  It’s something I would look back on for occasional inspiration and even gift writer friends, but I will not say it was a groundbreaking book.


Ratings Breakdown

Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★
Sources: ★★★★★
Detail: ★★★★★
Delivery: ★★★★
Subject: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★
Total: ★★★ 1/2


Writer to Writer stays on the shelf.

This one only just barely makes the cut, and that it because of the prompts.  It’s not the type of book I would crave to reread and pick up every few years for enjoyment clue, but I on’t want to write it off just yet because it’s always nice to have prompts and a little push to write something special or to focus on a particular skill or aspect of the craft.

I don’t know that, once I’ve tried some of the prompts, I would continue to hold on to this one?  But for now, it has home on my shelf.


Do you read advice books on your hobby topics?  I’m not crazy about a lot of self-help books, but I think it’s all about the topics and I do like to give writing books a go.  Tell me about the topics and books you like in the comments!

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