The Big Book of Details: A Review & Giveaway

You need to elaborate.  

Add details. 

Say more about this.

Be specific.

How many times have you told your students these things?  If you are like most of the writing teachers I know, adding details is the curse of your writing workshop.  It is so hard to get students to add details.  If you are a writer yourself, you understand.  Choosing which details to include and which to leave out is tricky work for a writer.  Conveying those details to your reader in a way which adds meaning and beauty to your writing is even trickier.  Yep, details are tricky business.

BBofD cover

Enter Rozlyn Linder’s The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate, coming from Heinemann this March. Linder starts with the premise that first we must uncover a writer’s intention.  Are you trying to describe someone or something?  Are you trying to show action?  Are you trying to convince?  To inform?  Once you are clear about your intention as a writer, Linder shows you all the possibilities available to you.  For example, let’s say your students are trying to describe a story character. Opening to Chapter Two: Details that Describe, I see ten different craft moves I might teach:

  • State the Obvious
  • Just Like That
  • Action Clues
  • Right in the Middle
  • Zoom In
  • Repeaters
  • Pop Culture References
  • Personify It
  • Set It Up
  • Thought Bubbles

For each of these moves, Linder shows how she would introduce this move to students (anchor chart examples included) and provides some guided practice exercises to try out each move.  Amazing.

Linder describes how she combed through hundreds of mentor texts, looking for all the ways authors use details.  Then she took all of her snippets and clippings and notes, and began to categorize them.  She refers to this as her “Wall of Crazy.”  The result?  This brilliant book.

The Big Book of Details will change the way you teach and the way you write.  It is as if Linder has pulled the magician’s cape off the box holding the secret of how to write with detail.  As you comb through this big book, you will find yourself nodding your head and scribbling in your writer’s notebook.  This book – it is a game changer.


  • This giveaway is for a copy of The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate.  Many thanks to Heinemann Publishing for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate, please leave a comment about this post by Saturday, March 5th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Monday, March 7th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Heinemann Publishing will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – (Book’s Title). Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

The random number was 45.  The winner of the giveaway is Heidi Clarke who wrote:

This sounds like a wonderful resource! Students need to see specific examples of what it means to make their writing stong in the Trait of Ideas, which comes from adding detail in different ways for different pieces.

Congratulations, Heidi!