PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

author:

Anne-Marie Strohman

Erin takes us through the powerful opening scene of Martine Leavitt’s YA novel Buffalo Flats and examines how the elements of the first scene set up the entire novel–character, desire lines, themes, setting, voice, tone, humor, and more. Links: Martine Leavitt’s Buffalo Flats The Sound of Music Hadestown Six A tor Nerd term: limited omniscient […]

At KidLit Craft we look at the mechanics of how writers do what they do, so we can improve our own writing. In this series, we’re taking a deep dive into Martine Leavitt’s YA novel Buffalo Flats. Erin has called this the perfect novel, so we’re tearing it apart to see how Martine put it […]

I needed to put on my brave girl wings and write what felt right and natural to me, even though I was worried my agent and editor (and readers) might think it was weird. . . . I have always felt a deep, almost spiritual/magical connection with the natural world. I think a lot of people who spend time in nature feel it. That’s what was coming through in my writing.

A “button” is something that happens at the end of a scene that provides closure, a final touch that seals the deal. It can also be called a “tag” and is a final beat that can be used to close out the scene. Buttons create a satisfying ending that takes the scene just that one more notch. It can add a twist, focus our attention on a particular character or goal or theme, or emphasize an emotion.

I want to give you a sense of some things to think about as you approach writing a short story. Let’s look at Rocky Callen’s story “They Call Me Hurricane” from Ab(solutely) Normal to see how she approaches the short story form.

We were both adamant that this collection feature protagonists living with mental health conditions and be written by authors with lived mental health experiences. There are many incredible stories out there that aren’t written from lived experience, but we wanted this anthology’s mere existence to be a testament to how those living with mental health conditions can still chase dreams and lead fulfilling lives.

Patterns can help shape a story, from the big-picture themes to the moment-by-moment actions. Giving kids the opportunity to “read” the patterns gives them practice in making meaning. And it gives them satisfaction in reading as well.

“I focused on just his family members because I realized that I wanted to weave together themes of food and family, in particular the father-and-son relationship. Food has always been a very important part of my family, both when I was growing up and now that I have my own family. My mom liked to cook and it was her way of showing her love for us. Similarly, I like to cook my husband’s or son’s favorite dishes and/or add in favorite ingredients here and there, just because I want to show them I “see” them and I love them.”

In One Tiny Bubble, Krossing uses specific craft techniques to connect readers to the story, from direct address to apt comparisons, enabling kid readers to understand LUCA in relation to themselves and their world.

Karen Krossing shares her publishing journey–it’s been a long and fruitful one!–as well as her exploration of writing in various categories, from YA to picture books, and details of her writing process.