You: The Story: A Writer's Guide to Craft Through Memory

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You: The Story: A Writer's Guide to Craft Through Memory
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 16, 2023
ISBN
978-0593524381
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Ruta Sepetys is known for creating vivid characters and harrowing plots. After five award-winning works of historical fiction and countless hours of meticulous research, she can affirm that the secret to strong writing is embedded within your life experience.

You: The Story is a powerful how-to book for aspiring writers that encourages you to look inward and excavate your own memories in order to discover the authentic voices and compelling details that are waiting to be put on the page. Masterfully weaving in humorous and heartfelt stories from her own life that illustrate an aspect of the craft of writing (such as plot, character development, or dialogue), Sepetys then inspires readers with a series of writing prompts and exercises.

Perfect for fans of Burn After Writing and Bird by Bird, You: The Story awakens the emerging writer and reveals that with some reflection, curiosity, and courage, you have a story to tell.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
You: The Story
(Updated: May 15, 2023)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Learning Value
 
5.0
What worked: I'm a huge fan of historicals and YA author Ruta Sepetys. Sepetys's novels are filled with heartfelt emotion with vivid imagery. When I found out her latest book would be a writer's guide to craft, I was beyond excited to read it!

This craft book for writers goes over some of the basics of writing which include such items as plot, character development, and voice. What makes this book stand out has to be Septetys's personal experiences woven throughout. For example, she mentions how important it is to have conflict in your stories and lists the layers. There's also recaps, writing prompts, and stories to uncover.

What I loved about this book has to be how Sepetys shares her own personal stories like her mother(who sounds a lot like my own!) How Sepetys's love of hearing her own family story-like the one about her Lithuanian family history-led to her amazing historical BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. I could relate as a child I'd beg my grandparents to share my own Italian and Mexican family stories which later found a way into my own writing.

Very informative insight into writing with reflections from author Ruta Sepetys. Perfect YA writing guide of craft for beginners as well as other writers. YA writing book meets Stephen King's A MEMOIR OF CRAFT.
Good Points
1. Very informative insight into writing
2. Reflections from author Ruta Sepetys
3. YA writing guide of craft
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highly engaging and information nonfiction about writing
Overall rating
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
5.0
YOU: THE STORY is a highly engaging and entertaining nonfiction read about writing. Part memoir and part guidebook, Sepetys walks the reader through the elements of creating a story worth reading with elements of plots, characters, dialogue, conflict, and more. To explain each of these elements, Sepetys draws from stories in their own life, giving colorful examples of the ways your own experiences can inform your writing and story-building.

What I loved: Although I am not a writer myself, I found this book to be incredibly entertaining and intriguing. The memoir-like insertions in each section really drew me in, and I am now endlessly fascinated by Sepetys's life - they have so many stories to tell! The point of it is really about how you can use your personal experiences to craft a story, but I think it also points out how our experiences inform us as readers as well. As a reviewer, I found this to be really educational about all the things that go into writing and the elements of what makes a story that a reader could consider "good" - and why. For instance, the difference between showing and telling when it comes to character development, and the way that specific information about characters can really allow the reader to connect with them on another level.

The conversational tone and inclusion of guiding questions and examples make this very informative, and I found it to be an educational experience. As a non-writer, I was not sure how much I would get into this book, but I absolutely devoured it! The memoir-style writing throughout transformed this into something other than just a simple how-to guide and made it a read that anyone can enjoy. One of my favorite stories was of the way Sepetys redecorated their room as a teen (I won't give more details to avoid spoilers)- I was laughing out loud for that one and found it quite relatable, but there were so many engaging vignettes throughout!

Final verdict: YOU: THE STORY is a highly engaging and informative nonfiction book about writing that made me laugh, sigh, and cry out with the memoir-style elements, truly making this a read that will entertain writers and non-writers alike!
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