Cover image for Dear Ally, how do you write a book?
Dear Ally, how do you write a book?

1st ed.
Physical Description:
326 pages : charts ; 22 cm.
Introduction -- Getting ready -- Planning your book -- Building your world -- Creating your characters -- Developing your plot -- Finding your process -- Starting your first draft -- Editing your book -- Beating your writer's block -- Writing your series -- Publishing your book -- Planning your future.
Have you always wanted to write a book, but don't know where to start? Or maybe you're really great at writing the first few chapters . . . but you never quite make it to the end? Or do you finally have a finished manuscript, but you're not sure what to do next? Fear not -- if you have writing-related questions, this book has answers! Whether you're writing for fun or to build a career, bestselling author Ally Carter is ready to help you make your work shine. With honesty, encouragement, and humor, Ally's ready here to answer the questions that writers struggle with the most. Filled with practical tips and helpful advice, Dear Ally is a treasure for aspiring writers at any stage of their careers. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how books get made, from idea to publication, and gives you insight into the writing processes of some of the biggest and most talented YA authors writing today.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 808.02 CAR 1 1
Book 808.02 CAR 1 1
Book 808.02 CAR 1 1
Book 808.02 CAR 1 1
Book TEEN 808.02 CAR 1 1

On Order



From bestselling author Ally Carter, the definitive guide to writing a novel, including helpful tips from other YA stars.

In this book consisting of real writing questions from real teens, in-depth answers in Ally's voice, and occasional, brief answers from guest authors, Ally Carter gives teens the definitive how-to guide on writing their first novel.

From getting started, to creating conflict, all the way through to a guide to the publishing industry, Ally covers it all.

Author Notes

Ally Carter, bestselling author, was born Sarah Leigh Fogleman on January 1, 1974. She graduated from the Oklahoma State University and Cornell University.

Ally's first book, Cheating at Solitaire, was released in 2005 and tells the story of a famously single self-help guru who becomes very publicly linked to one of Hollywood's hottest up-and-coming male stars. Carter's first young-adult novel was I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (the first book in her Gallagher Girls Series). It is the story of a girl who goes to a prestigious spy school and what happens when she falls for a normal boy who has no idea who she really is. It was selected as a Texas Lone Star reading list book for 2007-2008. Other books in the Gallagher Girl Series are Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, Only the Good Spy Young, Out of Sight, Out of Time, and United We Spy.

Ally's other novels include Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Carter and a host of popular young adult authors answer young people's questions about how to write, edit, publish, and promote a book. These varying perspectives offer practical advice from how to create diversity in characters without stereotyping or appropriating to how to write professionally. While Carter answers the bulk of the questions from her own experience, the guests' contributions offer a balanced approach and ensure multiple viewpoints from this field. For instance, David Levithan shares his perspective on writing characters who are unlike himself, Zoraida Cordova writes about how her world-building informs her characters' development, and Marie Lu shares the secrets to creating multidimensional villains. While the structure is logical and organized, there are some issues with clarity. Carter's sections differ from her guest's by a slight change in font, making it unclear at times who is answering the question. Aside from that, however, this book is an informative, conversational, and varied introduction to the world of writing. VERDICT Young writers will devour this fun and engaging guide to the creative process.-Leighanne Law, Scriber Lake High School, WA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A nonfiction how-to guide for teen writers by popular YA author Carter (Not If I Save You First, 2018, etc.).Presented in an accessible question-and-answer format, Carter walks young readers comprehensibly and comprehensively through the steps of writing a novel, beginning with planning, worldbuilding, characters, and plot and ending with editing and a wholly realistic look at publishing. Breezy and honest, she encourages her audience to focus on the joy of writing, not the potential monetary rewards, and stresses repeatedly that there are many different ways to approach a story: "You have one job, and that's to find the process that works for you." Along the way, she addresses questions to and gathers data from a diverse crew of 30 established YA authors, among them Z Brewer, David Levithan, Soman Chainani, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Murphy, and Jay Coles. Several pages are devoted to the timely and important question of writing characters who are different from oneself, whether in gender, ethnicity or other ways. Unfortunately, the section on story structure presents the classic Western three-act narrative as universal, a disservice to aspiring writers who may wish to explore forms from other cultural traditions. Entertaining and informative charts showing answers from her guest contributors reinforce the myriad ways there are to succeed as a writer.Written in a friendly style, this guide contains plenty of information and encouragement; fledging writers are well-served. (table of contents, contributor biographies, glossary) (Nonfiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

What Stephen King did for adult writers in On Writing (2000), popular YA novelist Carter does for aspiring teen authors in this guide to writing fiction. Chapters cover expected topics, such as getting started, world building, developing the plot, creating characters, and finding your process, while a Q&A format drives the content. Carter brings her appealing, conversational style to the guide, making her advice enthusiastic and inspirational as she introduces both the methods and the terminology of the craft. Yet she's also realistic as she relates that excellent writing takes tremendous time and effort, is not at its heart about publishing, does not involve plagiarism, and requires being an extensive reader. Although Carter draws numerous examples from her own novels, she acknowledges that the writing process is different for every writer, even for every book, and asks Holly Black, David Levithan, Marie Lu, and other venerable YA authors to weigh in on their experiences. The latter part of the guide addresses later stages of writing, including editing a book and the publishing process. With scant writing resources for teens, especially this in-depth, Carter's guide fills a needed gap. And with valuable advice for beginning writers of all ages, adult collections should also consider a copy.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist