Spilling Ink (a review)

A few days ago my mom got a free copy of Spilling Ink, by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter,  for winning a blog contest.

I immediately (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration) picked it up and started reading. I had “read” many writing books before. Each time, however, I had barely gotten to the end of the first section. But unlike those writing books, Spilling Ink trapped me, and I read it all the way through.

It covered everything: to plot or not to plot, making your characters think they’re alive, getting ideas, writers’ block 911, revising, and much MUCH more (not in that order though ;)).

Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter supply good advice mixed in with some humor, and I must congratulate Matt Phelan on his brilliant illustrations!

And last, but not least, here is some of what other people had to say (I found this on the back cover):

“For years I have been thinking about writing a HOW TO book for kids who want to write. Now I don’t have to. Anne and Ellen have crafted such a wonderful, funny, wise book that when eager young writers send me a letter seeking my advice I can now simply say ‘read this!” My hat is off to this dynamic duo.” —Bruce Coville

Or then there is:

“The singular, intense yet funny voice of Spilling Ink shares advice—how to convince your characters they are alive, avoid noisy dialogue tags, wear sunglasses to feel like a spy—with much lively wisdom and nary a hint of adult condescension. An outstanding book.” — Nancy Springer

So that’s what they had to say! (Note: I was copying that best as I could, but I might have gone a bit off what it said they said on the back of the book; sorry if this is so.) So what about me? What’s my opinion? Here it is:

WOW!!!!!! This might very well be AT LEAST the best writing handbook for young writers. But I believe ANYONE, no matter how old, could use the advice found in this book. I must truly say: Thank you for sharing this wisdom, Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. I shall keep it in mind whenever I write a book. Or try to, at least, sometimes my mind gets a little bit of an “overflowing toilet” ;).

So now, maybe next time you’re at a library or book store, you’ll look for Spilling Ink to read it for yourself!

Now maybe I’ll go and find some of those other books that Anne and Ellen wrote and kept mentioning throughout Spilling Ink — They sounded interesting…


  1. You sound excited about this book! I think I will recommend it to our local library. Don’t you love it when a book gets you excited?


  2. That is cool. Sounds like I need to pick it up myself. I have just started writing again, it used to be in school, but then for pleasure, and now, it is for work. I have been writing my own blog, but not very regularly, maybe this book will help me find joy in writing, and how to do it right! Thanks!

    Shawna E Anderson
    “Making the Most Fun of Your Homeschooling Journey”


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