Book Suggestions

Here are a few more books I like that I keep nearby: Creating Characters Kids Will Love, by Elaine Marie Alphin, Plot and Structure, by James Scott Bell, and Writing Magic, by Gail Carson Levine. I met James Bell at a writers’ conference and have some of his exciting books. It’s interesting that Elaine Alphin’s book is about characters, since James Bell and an editor for Harvest House had a debate on the merits of the two main substances of writing fiction, whether for children or adults. “Where would Gone With the Wind be without the Civil War?” James Bell demanded. “Where would the same book be without Scarlett O’Hara?” Nick Harrison answered.

I didn’t meet Gail Levine, the author of Ella Enchanted, a Newbery Honor book, but since I have a daughter-in-law who works at Mrs. Nelson’s Book Store where famous children’s authors often come, I have a signed edition of her “Magic” book, that takes over where the other two stop.

All three books have writing exercises and though I’ll have to confess I don’t do them much, I have really good intentions! As I write this I’m encouraged to open each one again and at least jot down meaningful suggestions. I recommend all three for other writers.

-Shirley Shibley


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