PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

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JOIN US IN EXPLORING OTHERS' CRAFT AND BUILDING OUR OWN

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.

By identifying archetypes in my story, I figure out how to strengthen the conflicts as I revise. In researching this blog post, I realized that I’d chosen the wrong character to be the Shadow in the novel I’m currently writing. Understanding the role of the Shadow archetype, and selecting a more appropriate character to play it, made my book’s external plot and main character’s growth path stronger.

Emma Kress’s debut YA novel, Dangerous Play, has plenty of action and a lot of games. It’s a book about a girls’ field hockey team who uses parkour to supplement their summer training, and puts those skills to use as vigilantes against perpetrators of sexual assault. It takes place over an entire hockey season, and Kress makes smart choices about how to condense the many field hockey games so that each one serves the story, especially by manipulating pacing and creating tension.

I first heard Emma read from a chapter-book-in-progress, and her voice blew me away. Emma’s writing as such attention to detail, such personality, such emotional resonance. She can write funny and serious–sometimes in the same sentence. Emma’s debut YA novel, DANGEROUS PLAY comes out August 3, and I’m so glad we get a peek into Emma’s brain and writing process. I highly recommend both DANGEROUS PLAY and Emma herself.

Birdsall establishes a strong narrative voice for her omniscient narrator in the opening pages, and then seamlessly slips from one point of view to another without losing the reader.

Soaking up the sun and reposting some favorite craft posts, starting with Jen Jobart’s analysis of Jason Reynold’s GHOST through the lens of Cheryl Klein’s THE MAGIC WORDS craft book.

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.

Dr. Susan McCormick: Accept the unexpected. Sometimes as a doctor, a diagnosis that had eluded me would appear in the night or while I was running or in the shower. These messages from my inner brain were always right. Similarly, accept any magic that pours from your fingers while writing, or any miracles that come while your brain is on break. These ideas from nowhere are often the best.

The moose is meaningful to both Dad and Katie, and the movie creates additional layers of meaning through the old movies (flashbacks) and the way the moose moves from person to person. We know what the moose means, so we can imagine what the characters are feeling, and ultimately, we feel it too.