Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories

Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories

Jack Gantos / Oct 20, 2019

Writing Radar Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories The Newbery Award winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seein

  • Title: Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories
  • Author: Jack Gantos
  • ISBN: 9780374304560
  • Page: 101
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Newbery Award winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book.With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their writing radar The Newbery Award winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book.With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their writing radar to unearth story ideas from their everyday lives Incorporating his own misadventures as a developing writer, Gantos inspires readers to build confidence and establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories Pop out text boxes highlight key tips, alongside Gantos s own illustrations, sample stories, and snippets from his childhood journals More than just a how to guide, Writing Radar is a celebration of the power of storytelling and an ode to the characters who many unwittingly inspired Gantos s own writing career.

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      Published :2018-09-22T12:30:26+00:00

    About "Jack Gantos"

      • Jack Gantos

        Jack Gantos is an American author of children s books renowned for his portrayal of fictional Joey Pigza, a boy with ADHD, and many other well known characters such as Rotten Ralph, Jack Henry, Jack Gantos memoirs and others Gantos has won a number of awards, including the Newbery, the Newbery Honor, the Scott O Dell Award, the Printz Honor, and the Sibert Honor from the American Library Association, and he has been a finalist for the National Book Award.Gantos was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania to son of construction superintendent John Gantos and banker Elizabeth Weaver Gantos The seeds for Jack Gantos writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister s diary and decided he could write better than she could Born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and raised in Barbados and South Florida, Mr Gantos began collecting anecdotes in grade school and later gathered them into stories.After his senior year in high school where he lived in a welfare motel he moved to a Caribbean island St Croix and began to train as a builder He soon realized that construction was not his fort and started saving for college While in St Croix he met a drug smuggler and was offered a chance to make 10 000 dollars by sailing to New York with 2,000 pounds of hash With an English eccentric captain on board they set off to the big city Once there they hung out at the Chelsea hotel and Gantos carried on dreaming about college Then, in Jacks own words, The hit the fan and the F.B.I burst in on him He managed to escape and hid out in the very same welfare motel he was living during high school However, he saw sense and turned himself in He was sentenced to six years in prison, which he describes in his novel HOLE IN MY LIFE However, after a year and a half in prison he applied to college, was accepted He was released from prison, entered college, and soon began his writing career He received his BFA and his MA both from Emerson College While in college, Jack began working on picture books with an illustrator friend In 1976, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph Mr Gantos continued writing children s books and began teaching courses in children s book writing He developed the master s degree program in children s book writing at Emerson College in Boston In 1995 he resigned his tenured position in order to further his writing career which turned out to be a great decision He married art dealer Anne A Lower on November 11, 1989 The couple has one child, Mabel, and they live in Boston, Massachusetts.jackgantos


    1. Teachers: if you do not have this preordered DO IT NOW. This book has changed my whole attitude about inspiring students to be the writers they can be. Coming from Jack Gantos I knew it would be amazing, but he takes things to a whole new level. He's inspiring and hilarious. This is written for students, but it's an amazing teacher tool as well. He provides so much insight on how to pay attention to everything around you and how everything can be a potential story. He shares writing tips in ever [...]

    2. I waited on a line at AASL to score an autographed copy and began to read it with my eyes. I suddenly wondered if he narrated this and found that he had. Best read with the book in hand so as not to miss the fantastic illustrations. Really a must-purchase.

    3. When you hear something on a monthly or sometimes weekly basis for most of your life, it starts to not only take root, but to grow and flourish in your mind. As far back as I can remember my mom told me I was going to write a book. She was downright giddy when I was given the opportunity to be a teen reporter for our capital city newspaper. She saved every single article I wrote. Not once did she ever waver from this conviction of my becoming an author.My writing four to five hours for five to s [...]

    4. "Writing Radar" by Jack Gantos is a humorous instructional guide showing younger writers exercises and suggestions designed to improve their creative writing skills. It encourages journaling and looking at everyday life and themselves to garner inspiration to create their stories. Something as simple as looking at scars or body parts for ideas, different areas of focus in a re-write, and writing examples are given in the book as well as cute illustrations. Kids who enjoy writing should enjoy the [...]

    5. Jack Gantos shares the secrets to crafting great books (and he knows how--he has penned some great ones) for all budding authors. Infused with his highly funny personal stories and concrete ways for kids, or adults for that matter, to collect ideas and organize them into winning stories, this will be a great addition to the classroom. Jake believes in us, so we can believe in ourselves as writers. I've read every book he's written and been fortunate to hear him speak several times, so many of th [...]

    6. The book is chock full of ideas for gathering inspiration for writing and turning those ideas into a well-polished story. It’s also full of clever little stories that help the reader analyze the ideas that Gantos suggests for taking your writing to the next level. These stories had me chuckling and laughing out loud. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest library and read this book! Thank me later!! If you like this book, you’ll also want to read Gantos’s other books including Dead End in Norv [...]

    7. In the fall of 2015, I briefly met Jack Gantos at the ALAN Workshop during an author signing. During that brief encounter I asked him to sign a book to "Spud Readers." He stopped and took out a small sticky note with a sly grin and began writing as he looked up at me and said something around the lines of, "Wow so are you saying your school's mascot is a potato? That is pretty funny. Spuds, huh?! I hope they like my book as much as I like their mascot's name." In those brief moments I saw a man [...]

    8. This propulsive writing guide is full of practical advice, helpful examples and hilarious personal anecdotes that will inspire both kid AND adult writers. Especially helpful are the sections on how to organize story structure and elements, and how to write focused drafts. My own writing journal got a kick in the pants today from Mr. Gantos's sound instruction. A must read for teachers, librarians and any wannabe author.

    9. As is often mentioned, Jack Gantos is a master storyteller. In this book, he clearly presents the basics of good storytelling outlined in any other instructional book about the writing process. Yet Gantos adds an important extra spice, his own desire to be an author and how he pursued it as a child. Reading how Gantos dreamed of seeing his own books on the library shelf as a child should inspire many other budding writers. My favorite part was where he shared how he came to write the Joey Pigza [...]

    10. Jack Gantos teaches middle grade students to use their "Writing Radar" in Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. Jack outlines the following: always carrying a notebook with you, listening (spying) and taking notes, outside world and inside characters, trusting yourself, story maps, action and emotion, story structure and elements, and focused drafts. There's no real new information here; however, he sprinkles lots of examples of how each of these are used with h [...]

    11. "Don't be that writer who waits all day for the perfect first sentence," he advises, "or you will grow old while learning to hate yourself and writing." This from the guy who wrote, “School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.” Now THAT's a first sentence.

    12. If you happen to notice some kid skulking around your neighborhood or apartment complex, eavesdropping on conversations and scribbling in a black notebook, chances are that kid has read Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Scoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos. Multi-award winning author, creative writing professor of 20 years, and the only author who has ever made me choke with laughter on a sandwich while trying to drive and listen to his audio book, Jack Gantos has the street cred [...]

    13. I have a teacher librarian friend who always has a small notebook in his back pocket. I try ALL THE TIME to get him to tell me what he writes in it, but he never will. I want to keep a small notebook in my pocket so I can write everything down.I love books about writing, and this one, geared towards 4th graders on up to adults is no exception. Jack Gantos writes about his writing radar, which basically means he's always listening and is a master eavesdropper - one who doesn't forget to write dow [...]

    14. Required purchase for teachers of any type of writing, as well as for aspiring writers of all ages! Thanks to Farrar, Strauss Giroux for the advance review copy of this title - all opinions are my own. Gantos is a proven master storyteller and has finally brought his tips to our future storytellers in an incredibly accessible and fun format. This book alternates between writing tips and Gantos' stories of his childhood and ones he has written to explain his writing style. Teachers can use this b [...]

    15. Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Writing Radar is a must-have book for teaching writing, especially to middle grade students. In this book, author Jack Gantos shows children how to use their “writing radar” to find stories in their everyday lives. Stories can be found in the classroom, at the dinner table, and around your neighborhood. Gantos uses his own experience, stories, drawings, and journal entries to help young writers d [...]

    16. Geared towards middle grade readers, Writing Radar is an easy to follow "how to" guide for story writing. Written by a popular author who writes middle grade books himself, the tips and instructions seem pretty straightforward and easy to follow. In school students learn the steps of writing, so in that regard there's nothing new here. Everybody knows a story needs a beginning, middle, and an end. It needs characters, a setting, action, and resolution. However, what is new is this author's appro [...]

    17. Dead End in Norvelt made me laugh until I cried and fall a little in love with Jack Gantos. When I learned a more about him, it cemented the deal. There’s nothing better than a living, breathing Character, and Jack Gantos fits that bill. In Writing Radar, Jack Gantos weaves wise writing advice together with stories like only he can tell to create a one-of-a-kind how-to for kids on crafting stories for readers. Writing Radar will engage and inspire middle grade writers to make their stories all [...]

    18. WRITING RADAR by Newbery Award winner Jack Gantos is a highly entertaining introduction to creative writing tips and techniques. Gantos intersperses his Writing Tips with drawings and humorous stories based on ideas from one of his own 200 journals. Some key advice for young writers? Importance of reading; Be a good listener; Action and emotions are both important; Inspiration (try story starter maps) and good writing habits (which he outlines) are a team. Having been a creative writing professo [...]

    19. Dec 12-13, 2017The first of what is sure to be a long list of "if I didn't work at a library, I never would have read this" books. I added it to our collection last week and promptly set it aside so that I could take a closer look at it when I had time. After flipping through it, I checked it out and took it home for myself. It's a genius little book with plenty of humor mixed in. It's basically a look at one author's attempt at the writing life. Which Every writer can never get enough of. With [...]

    20. I LOVE Jack Gantos' style of writing, his humor, his entertaining way of telling a story. This book reveals his secrets on how to be a great writer and to find stories in the everyday things around you. For any great story there has got to be 1 characters 2 setting 3 problem 4 rising action 5 crisis 6 resolution/solving the problem and to make a story great, a double ending: a physical ending and an emotional ending. His stories incorporate all of these traits. He gives tips on taking notes on t [...]

    21. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book! "Every painful moment in life is a story waiting to be told." What a great writing resource/ inspiration for intermediate- aged writers! I can easily see this book fitting into writing mini lessons in classrooms. What a great read aloud it would make as students sit around to listen to Jack's experiences/advice and then head back to try his tips with their own writing! His own personal stories add enjoyment and motivation to a rat [...]

    22. As a writing professor and published author of over 50 books, bestselling author Jack Gantos knows what he's talking about when it come to writing. In this newest book, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories, Gantos really gives valuable information on the best way to use a journal to find and keep track of all the quirky, weird, and wonderful events of daily life. While geared towards young children to teens, Writing Radar can be adaptable for adult writers too! [...]

    23. Anecdotally told, on the basics of narrative writingI was introduced to this book by Lucy Calkins, who was introducing Mr. Gantos at a conference I was attending. She called it her favorite book of the year, so the expectations were high when I purchased it. Surprisingly, this book did not disappoint. Mr. Gantos offers deeply personal insights on writing mixed with heavy doses of his own writing experience. While this shouldn't be confused with a technical guide to the craft, it approaches the b [...]

    24. Writing Radar is a great book because it basically tries to get young people to enjoy the writing process by keeping journals of everyday happenings. The author also includes how he became interested in writing using example of his life as he wrote/drew them in his early journals. This is a good book for students to understand how writing ideas can come from all different places such as biking through their neighborhood and then map out ideas/actions/emotions. I personally believe this book shou [...]

    25. (Disclosure: I was sent an ARC of this by the publisher as part of an author interview on our podcast, The Professional Book Nerds.)This is an incredibly entertaining guide that shows young readers all the ways you can mold yourself into a successful writer. Stories are all around us and if we have the tools to do so, we can turn them into great books. Jack inserts memories from his own childhood and shows how they helped transform him into the author he is today. I would recommend this not to j [...]

    26. I have had the privilege of working with Jack Gantos in both of the international schools where I have worked. He is a dynamic, cheeky and captivating speaker for upper grade students. Reading this book allowed me to hear his voice again; wincing and laughing all at the same time. This will serve as a fantastic read aloud to support my students work in both our Small Moments writing unit but also will aid is in our analytical work during our Author’s study unit. I think this is a must read for [...]

    27. A quick read with lots of great ideas. A bit more for the kiddies than for adults (hence my 4 stars), but solid advice for those who might be a bit shy about keeping a journal. Easy to implement story structure is included. I like the drawings inside the book as well. This gives the book itself a sort of "journal" feel.I especially loved the NaNoWriMo webcast interview with Gantos from Friday, Oct. 20th, 2017. If you can find it on YouTube, you'll have a greater appreciation for this book, and y [...]

    28. Jack Gantos does an amazing job drawing in young writers; both hopeful and reluctant, with his amazing storytelling ability. Writing Radar is a how-to guide for setting up a writer's journal and then beginning the writing process. He reminds readers that everyone is a writer and we all have stories to tell. The way that he set up this book quickly drew in the reader with his hilarious childhood hi jinx and then kept them reading throughout the technical details with personal stories. This is a b [...]

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