Monday, September 26, 2016

Review and Excerpt: "Writing for Children and Young Adults" (Updated 3rd Edition), by Marion Crook

Self-Counsel Press presents
by Marion Crook

About the Book:
In addition to the expert advice author Marion Crook shared in earlier editions of Writing for Children and Young Adults, in this vibrant new edition, Crook explains some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online.

As well, she revisits the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively dialogue and developing plot with updated worksheets and examples. This edition shows the writer how to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone the work for an agent or publisher, and how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy!

Writing for Children and Young Adults helps you create the manuscript that sells!


Telling stories is an ancient skill practiced in public at community festivals,around the campfire, in religious rites, and in private at the cradles of the young. It involves an innate ability to pick dramatic words in a way that paints a mental picture and gives the tale a sense of pace and tension. The story becomes important, even if only for a short time, to the one who hears it or reads it. It is a way of communicating excitement and the optimistic belief that the world is a remarkable and knowable place. Many writers have an enthusiastic following of readers who want to share in their adventures.

Telling stories is also an age-old method of communicating morality lessons to ensure that a point of view spreads in a palatable manner.Writing can be a way of instructing, advising, and guiding others. Most children don’t want to read stories that are written with such motivation, but many writers believe that teaching justifies their stories. A “moral” story isn’t necessarily a good story. The danger in writing morality tales is that the writer may ignore the needs of children and write from behind a screen of righteousness that thinly hides a lecture. As you may remember from your school years, most of us hate lectures.

Stories also offer an illusion of control as if the world can be controlled by the way we interpret it. Most writers offer stories that have beginnings, middles, and ends describing life as neatly compacted and logical. Perhaps this illusion of controlled life gives readers a sense of order.

You want to write a book that will delight many years later. You want your book to be the best you can produce, written in a style that is uniquely yours, perhaps using ideas that have never been written about or in a format that has never been tried. Writing is about creating.

My Thoughts:

These days, authors need to know so much more than how to write. That's why I was pleased to see that Writing for Children and Young Adults covers not only the craft of writing for children, but also the very important topics of publishing and promotion. An author needs to know not only how to write a marketable story, but also how to get a publisher interested or whether to self-publish. And even if the book is published by a traditional publisher, authors are expected to heavily promote their books just as they would if they had self-published.

The first part of the book, on writing, has the elements you'd expect, such as creating characters, setting and plot. It also covers dialogue, establishing pace, conquering writer's block, tackling rewrites and much more.

The second part of the book really delves into the heart of writing for specific age groups: picture books for the preschool age, ages 6-8, middle-grade, young adults/teens, and new adults. Writing nonfiction is also addressed.

The last part of the book focuses on submitting your book to publishers, contract issues, and marketing/promotion. The importance of having active social media accounts and an updated author website are emphasized.

Writing for Children and Young Adults is essential reading for anyone who is embarking on the journey of writing a book for children or teens. Thanks to the author's practical tips, commonsense advice and a broad range of topics, budding writers will have a realistic picture of the skills that are required of a successful children's book writer.

Find the book on:

Writing for Children and Young Adults was released as an ebook on September 20, 2016 and will be available in paperback in October 2016 at Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Chapters Indigo.

About the Author:
Marion Crook has written many books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Here, she offers advice on writing, publishing, and marketing. Crook’s background in child development education as a nurse and her Ph.D. in education give her solid knowledge, but she maintains that a keen observation of people, places, and events can be the author’s most useful tool. An experienced teacher and writer, she gives her readers clear and practical tips, with humor and obvious understanding of what it’s like to write and publish.

Connect with Marion:

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.


  1. Susan, I go around the house muttering " Susan thinks my book is 'essential"". Thanks.

    1. I hope that means you're pleased! Thanks so much for allowing me to review it.

  2. Delighted. I'm thrilled to be considered essential. It's a positive--all that writing matters to someone. That's a compliment and better than chocolate.


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