Kristi Wright

To find good mentor text for “tension till the bitter end,” I went directly to one of my most beloved authors—Agatha Christie. Yes, I know. She’s not a middle grade author. However, when I was in my middle grade years, I devoured her books. Surely, that counts. Plus, for a mentor text, why not go straight to the Queen of Mystery?

Verse happily sacrifices parts of the story to the reader’s imagination in an effort to draw a more immediate emotional response.

Erin Entrada Kelly masterfully sets up a series of relationships that require her introverted main character, Virgil, to take a stand or forever feel like a failure.

Subity blends humor, action, Norse mythology, and character beautifully to make a story that’s sure to be a hit with middle grade readers.

With contemporary fantasy, it doesn’t take such a stretch of the imagination for the reader to follow along when you blend the familiar with the unfamiliar.

I choose the stories (fiction or nonfiction) that give me a fluttery feeling. It’s been true of all my projects so far. When an idea takes hold, you can’t shake it off, and you just have to learn more, then that’s the idea to follow.

The primary purpose of a refrain, or a recurring line throughout a poetic work (or prose for that matter), is to draw attention to something important. Used effectively, it can heighten the emotional resonance of your story and make it feel more universal, and LaRocca uses hers to great effect.

“I’ve learned that the most important thing is to keep writing about what I love, what’s important to me, what I’m curious about. I’ve learned to put a piece of myself in every story. And I’ve learned that being vulnerable in my writing means that it will resonate with others.”

With an awesome opening sentence, Marks not only introduces the inciting incident, but creates a storm of wondering questions for the reader,

I love exploring what it’s like to be twelve years old, an age where you’re not quite a kid or a teenager. It’s such a transitional time, and can be full of so much drama. (My middle school days certainly were!)