Scribbler Subscription Box Volume 15 Review: Contemporary Writing
Scribbler is a monthly subscription box for writers—especially novelists and aspiring novelists—created by bestselling authors Victoria Scott and Lindsay Cummings. It’s filled with items to help novelists stay motivated while writing, improve their crafts, and connect with the right publishing professionals.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review processes post to learn more about how we review boxes!)
The Subscription Box: Scribbler
The Cost: $29.99/mo + shipping fees (varies by location)
The Products: A monthly writing theme, a new fiction release novel, a collectible “writing passport” from the featured author, curated writerly gifts, and an invitation to communicate with a publishing professional.
Ships to: U.S. for $8.49, Canada for $12.99, and worldwide for $18.99 (shipping not available to Mexico and Peru)
Scribbler May 2019 Volume 15 Review
Every box welcomes us aspiring writers with a writing exercise contest. This month, it’s a humor challenge by finishing off the following phrase—hope you readers can spend a short 2 minutes to think of a funny ending! (*´∀`*)
“Gregory Miller waited until the dessert plates at the upscale NYC restaurant had been cleared before raising his champagne flute to the well-dressed men sitting opposite to him and saying…”
Scribbler lists the products you’ll receive on the back cover of the Publishing Process booklet.
Let’s jump into our products!
Claey’s Old Fashioned Hard Candies Lemon Drops – Retail Value $1.50
These lemon drops were included to enhance our writing process. Scribbler suggests one lemon drop after 1000 words for maximum effect. Lately, I’ve been into poetry, so after a set I like to pop one in my mouth!
These candies are lovely and so tasty~ the lemon flavor isn’t too sour but has a soft sweetness that brightens the day with its cheerful yellow at any time.
Bestselling author of Ella Enchanted Gail Carson Levin shares her secrets of writing as a companion to her popular Writing Magic, building readers’ skills of creating captivating details, a stunning hook, fantasy characters with unique powers, an epic love story with a heartbreaking or heartwarming end, or realistic characters one can almost talk to.
My favorite aspect of this book (besides it’s by one of my most favorite childhood writers) is that Levin’s lessons are easy to understand and can be applied to all ages of writers and genres of writing. The wonderful writing prompts are perfect starters to jot down and think over, especially to get the creative gears turning!
Exclusive Scribbler “Loading Ideas” Notebook – Retail Value $5.00
As per readers’ requests, another exclusive notebook has been designed by the Scribbler team for the quickest idea jot downs or for bullet journaling. The pop of red color is perfect for the summertime, and I love the witty “Loading Ideas” battery on the front cover!
Exclusive Scribbler Enamel Pin – Retail Value $2.00
This fierce little enamel pin is a must-have item for all writing enthusiasts! The exclusive pin can adorn your jacket, pencil case, or special thinking hat. Did you catch the pun? 😉
This book is so touching. It’s a fairly easy read and though the writing was quite predictable and left room for improvement, the inclusion of so many valuable subjects—the precious bond between a teacher and a student, the scars of our pasts that haunt us, the hearts of parents with a sick child, and the tender compassion and pure friendship among the characters—were what kept me turning the pages. However, with a book so relevant and relatable, I was expecting much more of an ending that showed true life events, but it was too perfect with an unrealistic “happily ever after” for everyone.
I do thank the author for directing attention to teachers and how they use their talents to inspire and connect with students and for the warm relationships throughout the book.
Here’s the back blurb:
“Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her—until she needs that strength the most….
A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart.
Scribbler dropped in a special autograph sticker from Yarro and a book sticker! These of course will adorn the inside cover on my book~
Scribbler Writing Passport Volume 15 – Retail Value $5.00
This month’s passport theme was contemporary writing. This genre feels more real and personal to the reader, using a conversational tone to capture emotional themes behind the stories. The first section of the passport starts by introducing the author’s perspective on the topic, as well as the career highlights of the author, and a special quote.
All passports include a quote from the author and their opinion and writing and creation.
Richman uses a comparison with Vincent van Gogh’s artwork to a good read because of the vibrant, passionate strokes he uses that capture emotion behind the colors. She describes her goal as to allow readers to vividly picture the book pages like a movie scene, awakening all five senses for both the writer and the readers.
The passport always includes a special exercise for subscribers. This month’s assignment is to tell a story using the most captivating details, a scene filled with contrast and deep with emotion to make a story so unique, you can call it your own.
Publishing Process Inside Look: The Secret of Clouds
I really appreciate Scribbler’s inclusion of these publishing processes. Aspiring writers (myself included) may be unfamiliar with the process of planning out a book. This month’s process shows annotated scenes from Richman’s The Secret of Clouds. The margin notes provide an important perspective on how the lines were created, with what inspirations shaped the scenes, and what real-life events influenced Richman’s process.
Richman annotates the inspiration behind her story as an elementary school teacher friend of hers, who asks her third-grade class every year to write a letter to their 18-year-old selves. She sends these letters back a week before they graduate high school. Richman was drawn to the idea of having physical evidence of how a child’s destiny and dreams change over time. After reading this margin note, I related to the teacher, as my mother had asked me to do the same when I was younger. What’s interesting is my dream is still the same basic idea, but “aged” and more mature, based on the experiences and hurdles I’ve been through.
A different scene was inspired by a touching gesture Richman experienced through her own child. The seemingly small gesture of her son gifting all his trophies to a little boy before his surgery date, who slept with the trophies as they were his first awards, was a beautiful moment she cherished and used in her book as a symbol of good luck for the young character.
Reading these margin notes, especially the anecdotes behind specific scenes, was a touching experience. The book itself is so warm, that the experiences and stories behind the creative process were even more heartwarming to read. How beautiful.
Perhaps I missed the instructions for this envelope, but I will be using it for a rising third grade student I tutor to do the same as what my mother did with me and the teacher in Richman’s annotations. I would be so happy to share the same experience and hope she enjoys it as much as I do!
Invitation to Author Conversation
Scribbler always includes an invitation to chat with a publishing professional. This month’s invitation is to chat with the Associate Director of Marketing for Berkley at Penguin Random House, Jin Yu. Also an adjunct instructor for the NYU MS in Publishing Program, Director Yu is a remarkable resource to further understand how to best market and promote your works.
Verdict: Another beautiful curation from Scribbler as usual, this time with a simple-but-stirring and uplifting story about the bonds of teachers and students and an inside look at the author’s scene creation process. The anecdotes Richman included on the margin notes enhanced the lovely story that was brightened by the cheerful lemon drops! This subscription is one I recommend for those who love a good book subscription but wish for a wider experience, such as initiative and inspiration on their own writing passions and a behind-the-scenes look of the author’s work process. I consider a large part of the box’s value as the enjoyable reading experience it creates, but this is just my personal opinion.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Unfortunately, no… but for future boxes, you must sign up by the 14th the month to receive the next month’s box!
Value Breakdown: This box cost $38.48 ($29.99 + $8.49 shipping), which means that each of the six items in the box (not including the book-themed extras) has an average cost of $6.41. I calculated a retail value of $48.99 excluding the invitation and publishing process, a remarkable value!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of May’s Scribbler box? What was your favorite item?