#cbr11bingo #birthday Myers birthday was August 12, 1937.
Just Write: Here’s How! is a non-fiction practical guide with easy tips, accessible language and perfect examples for the teen who wants to learn how to write. In fact, this book maps out these tips so well, adults could benefit from them. Just Write could easily be adapted for classroom use or used by the individual writer. However, I read the ARC from 2012 and wondering if any updates have been done between then and his death or since his death.
Walter Dean Myers was one of my favorite authors as a teen, because of one book, Fallen Angels. After reading Just Write I now have a small window into what his process was for this and his other books. Myers uses the examples of his personal life (as a teen and working with teens both in schools and juvenile detention centers) as well as what he wanted to read as a kid growing up in Harlem. He talks about the technical and emotional aspects of writing and reading. He even details his collaboration with then, 13-year-old Ross Workman, to show a real-world example of the writing process.
Even though this is non-fiction, it is not as if you are reading a text book. I was flying through it as if it was one of Myers novels. The short chapters (some only a page or two) are easy to understand and help give breaks so you can digest the material you just read. Plus, he does not set each chapter in a vacuum. Previous information comes into play in following chapters to show how the writing process is several, individual steps, but also how they overlap as well. Myers writes as if he is speaking to you solely.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book is when he mentions decoding and ownership of a book you are reading. In short, decoding is getting the story in a technical sense and ownership is you the reader becoming part of the book. You become the characters, they are real, and this is “happening” to you as you read along. Myers has always given me “ownership” of his books and even though this is not a novel, I took ownership of this book as well. Second favorite was when he speaks of his collaborations with his son, Christopher, and the joke about “getting feedback from his wife, who just happens to be Christopher’s mother.”