PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

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JOIN US IN EXPLORING OTHERS' CRAFT AND BUILDING OUR OWN

guest post by Jackie Friedman Mighdoll  When you do a library search for books in the category “Kids’ Literature: Humor,” you find a wide range from Appleblossom the Possum through Zombie Butts from Uranus. And the sense of humor in them ranges, too. I’ve been looking for humor tactics for my own writing, so I […]

As writers it’s easy to have an abstract concept of your audience when working at your desk, far removed from the energy and bright perspective of kids. When you’re writing for a certain age of reader, especially middle graders, it can help to observe kids themselves. You can also be inspired by how other middle […]

“The end never comes when you think it will. It’s always ten steps past the worst moment, then a weird turn to the left.” -Lena Dunham I’ve been struggling with endings lately. So I did my usual thing—went back to some of my mentor books. And I found three books I want to talk about: […]

craft review by Jesaka Long In contrast to the rich yet static symbolism of Dolly Parton’s music in Dumplin’ (see Part 1 of this post here) where Dolly’s songs guide Willow Dean throughout the story,  the main symbol in John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior evolves throughout the story, thus helping to elevate the stakes […]

craft review by Kristi Wright One of my goals as a writer is to write books that give children a sense of wonder. But how do you do that? How do you give your readers a shimmery, shivery experience that transcends the mundane, that astonishes them, that fills them with awe? Sweep: The Story of […]

craft review by Jesaka Long Using symbols in young adult fiction can create emotional connections between reader, character, and story. The symbols—which frequently represent things like character’s relationship with a specific person, or a childhood relic signifying their resistance to growing up—typically have a meaning that does not change throughout the story. However, Donald Maass […]

craft review by Becky Levine You hear this over and over again: your story hero needs to face obstacles, grow and learn, and then . . . dive into that dark cave for the sword, come out swinging, and change their world for the better. Even in a picture book. Even when your hero is […]

craft review by Jen Jobart Kids do a lot of growing up from ages 8-12. Books are meant to grow with them and inspire them along their journey. A lot of middle grade books have a protagonist whose character arc moves towards independence over the course of the book. The middle grade novel Bob is […]

guest post by Naomi Kinsman A couple days ago, I stood in front of a third grade classroom acting out a scene between a giant and a young girl, complete with action and dialogue. Afterward, in our class discussion and in one-on-one conversations, the youth writers and I unpacked specificity of voice, gesture, subtext, tone, […]

craft review by LA Biscay In the first post of Structuring Story with Character Arc in Hello, Universe, we examined some early plot elements–the hook, the inciting incident, and the key event–and how those elements are tied to Virgil’s Lie (or Belief that Must Be Changed) and Fear. The Character Arc in the early part […]