Writing can be a cathartic and stress-reducing activity, making it well suited to our current reality. Just as reading a good book can be a comfort right now, getting lost in a writing prompt can also be a portal into another world. Luckily, Hoopla offers a wealth of resources for writers of all ages, from children to adults. I’ll start by recommending a creative writing book by one of my favorite authors, Gail Carson Levine. I’ve loved her books since middle school, when I read Ella Enchanted, an original fairy tale about a girl who is cursed with the gift of obedience.
Writer to Writer by Gail Carson Levine
In 2009, Levine started a blog on the topic of writing; this book is an expanded collection of the most relevant and popular posts from the blog. Each chapter discusses a particular facet of a concept, such as how to describe a character, and finishes with a few writing prompts that help you practice that specific skill. Levine’s tone is encouraging throughout, offering concrete strategies to break through the feelings of intimidation and self-criticism that threaten to thwart the writer. While the book is written for children, the discussion of writing is thorough and approachable enough to benefit writers of any age. The book is available on Hoopla in both eBook and digital audiobook formats.
My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman
“Filled with exercises to help young readers practice skills like identifying context clues and a story’s main idea, plus practical tips and tricks from bestselling author Dan Gutman…This chapter book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 5 to 7 who are ready to read independently.”—publisher summary, HarperCollins
How to Write a Comic Book by Nel Yomtov
Would you rather make comics than write prose? Here’s a short and sweet guide to getting started. This guide is part of a “How to Write” for young readers series on Hoopla that covers everything from business letters (for some reason) to poems to fractured fairy tales. Fill in your main character’s background and chart your story outline before beginning to draw. Learn how to differentiate dialogue from sound effects and characters’ thoughts. Whether you’re tackling the art as well or just writing the script, this guide is a great starting point.
Just Write: Here’s How! by Walter Dean Myers
“Though this volume is far from flashy, the straightforward, no-nonsense, you-can-do-it tone may well inspire young readers and beginning writers. Myers tells about his own life and how he became a writer before moving on to the craft itself…Good advice on the craft of writing from someone who should know.”—Kirkus Reviews
What’s Your Story by Marion Dane Bauer
“Bauer insists on technique and deliberation over inspiration and natural endowment, reminding readers that no musical virtuoso ever captivated without a command of the notes. Her last comment is telling: ‘Knowing your craft can help you tell a story. But only by taking risks can you make art.” After many pages of provocative information and straightforward counsel, that sentence may be the one to launch youngsters to the challenge.”—Kirkus Reviews
No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
“Chris Baty is the founder of National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo), a six-year-old literary contest that began on a whim in the Bay Area and now involves thousands of participants nationally every year. How does it work? Simple: all one needs to do is craft a 50,000-word novel in a month's time…They say there's a novel in each of us; if so, this volume may be the key to unlocking that ominous door.”—BookPage Reviews
Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum
“Maum covers just about everything a first-time author needs to know: how to make time to write, learn to revise, deal with rejection, find an agent, choose a publisher, and juggle the many tasks involved in promotion. With warmth and candor, she addresses the emotional stresses and ‘existential ups and downs' that buffett many writers and responds to myriad questions that novice writers ask, from whether to go to book parties to whether to enroll in an MFA program.”—Kirkus Reviews