”Of great benefit to newbie writers of any age.”-- Booklist, starred
"From building believable characters to finding an agent to designing a book cover, Van Draanen's guide to becoming a writer has it all." -- Kirkus Reviews
"A must have for all writers.” -- Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Broken Lands
"A toolbox, a spotlight, and an unstoppable source of renewable energy. If you're a writer, you NEED this book.” -- Andrew Smith, multi-award-winning NY Times bestselling author. Grasshopper Jungle, Winger.
“If content is the king of writing, then Wendelin Van Draanen is the queen of finding it. Read Hope in the Mail and get writing.” — Jack Gantos, Newbery medalist and National Book Award finalist.
“Fun…practical…useful…a beacon of hope.” -- Publisher’s Weekly
Part writing guide and part memoir, this inspiring book from the author of Flipped and The Running Dream is like Bird by Bird for YA readers and writers.
Wendelin Van Draanen didn't grow up wanting to be a writer, but thirty books later, she's convinced that writing saved her life. Or, at least, saved her from a life of bitterness and despair. Writing helped her sort out what she thought and felt and wanted. And digging deep into fictional characters helped her understand the real people in her life better as well.
Wendelin shares what she's learned--about writing, life, and what it takes to live the writing life. This book is packed with practical advice on the craft: about how to create characters and plot a story that's exciting to read. But maybe even more helpful is the insight she provides into the persistence, and perseverance, it takes to live a productive, creative life. And she answers the age-old question Where do you get your ideas? by revealing how events in her own life became the seeds of her best-loved novels.
Hope in the Mail is a wildly inspirational read for anyone with a story to share. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Length: 285 pages Best for teens and adults Audio: will be available through Listening Library
A candid conversation between Wendelin and her long-time editor about the writing life, publishing, and the creation of Hope in the Mail. (5 min)
An excerpt from a blog post explaining the origins of "hope in the mail"
...During that time, the phrase expanded to mean doing something, anything, that created possibility. It meant overcoming your fears, it meant putting yourself out there. Rejection is hard on everyone, but it’s especially hard when there’s an emotional component to it. Love, of course, tops that list, but creative endeavors land not far beneath it. Creative people expose their heart, and rejection can pierce it, leaving your creative self to shrivel up and die if you don’t find ways to patch yourself up and try again.
For my husband and me, putting hope in the mail--sending out a query letter, making a phone call, filling out an application…anything that would buoy us with the belief that good things might happen—is what got us through hard times and got me to my eventual publishing “yes.”