Past perfect, Present tense: new and collected stories edited by Richard Peck

Past perfect, Present tenseThis series of stories by YA literature godfather Richard Peck highlight the very best of his short story career. Arranged into simply named sections called “The First,” “The Past,” “The Supernatural,” and finally “The Present” Peck gives teen readers a look at what goes into crafting the heart and soul of a short story. Besides providing examples of his work, each section starts with a short explanation by Peck about who or what inspired the story or how it came to be written. But best of all is the writerly advice contained in the last two sections: How to Write a Short Story, and Five Helpful Hints, which include my two favorite adages, NOBODY BUT A READER EVER BECAME A WRITER, and THE ONLY WRITING IS REWRITING. Using a very few perfectly chosen words, Peck boils down the very essence of how to write a story. Teen writers will welcome his stripped down advice, as it will keep them from becoming overwhelmed by the empty monitor screen. All of his selected stories are such gems of the genre that it will certainly inspire young authors to follow his sage advice.

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