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The Magic Words

Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

Cheryl Klein (Author)


This master class in writing children’s and young adult novels will teach you everything you need to know to write and publish a great book.

The best children’s and young adult novels take readers on wonderful outward adventures and stirring inward journeys. In The Magic Words, editor Cheryl B. Klein guides writers on an enjoyable and practical-minded voyage of their own, from developing a saleable premise for a novel to finding a dream agent. She delves deep into the major elements of fiction—intention, character, plot, and voice—while addressing important topics like diversity, world-building, and the differences between middle-grade and YA novels. In addition, the book’s exercises, questions, and straightforward rules of thumb help writers apply these insights to their own creative works. With its generous tone and useful tools for story analysis and revision, The Magic Words is an essential handbook for writers of children’s and young adult fiction.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-29224-4
  • 6.2 × 9.3 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Cheryl B. Klein [is] a craft-focused fairy godmother. . . . [The Magic Words] is a well-organized master class.” — Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Post

“Inspiring, comprehensive, and insightful, The Magic Words ably fills a gaping hole on the shelves of developing and experienced writers alike. An essential guide to the art and craft of writing for young readers.” — Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy and Breadcrumbs

“Insightful, enlightening, and practical, The Magic Words is a book that belongs on every writer’s shelf. Loaded with concrete examples and specific strategies, it’s likely to end up dog-eared and well worn—that favorite book on craft that writers revisit again and again with each new project.” — Kate Messner, author of The Seventh Wish and the Ranger in Time series

“What Cheryl B. Klein talks about when she talks about writing is what every aspiring children’s and young adult novelist needs to hear. She offers generous insights, frank talk, nuts and bolts advice, editorial wisdom, and ample encouragement. The Magic Words is all the inspiration and guidance you’ll need to get your novel started, and more importantly, to get it finished.” — John Dufresne, author of The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction and I Don’t Like Where This Is Going

The Magic Words manages to articulate, in clear and compelling language, what others rely on intuition to understand. The result is a comprehensive and engaging examination of what readers will recognize to be true about the best novels—and yet have never heard expressed.” — Eliot Schrefer, two-time National Book Award nominee for Endangered and Threatened

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