cover image What's Your Story? CL

What's Your Story? CL

Marion Dane Bauer. Clarion Books, $15 (134pp) ISBN 978-0-395-57781-3

Bauer offers a pragmatic, organized approach to story writing in this 118-page manual geared for older children and young adults. Concrete, step-by-step tips are effectively illustrated with examples taken from the author's own works-- Face to Face , A Dream of Queens and Castles , Rain of Fire . Eight of the 14 chapters deal with preparatory rituals--finding a special time and place to write, inventing a conflict, understanding what makes a main character tick, figuring out a plot, choosing a point of view--and later chapters address more technical issues of pacing, rhythm and balance. Although the importance of discipline is stressed (learning to write a story is often compared to learning to play a sport or a musical instrument), the exercises and thought processes introduced as groundwork come across as stimulating rather than tedious and may serve to hone analytical skills as well as inspire even the most reluctant writers to try their hand. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)