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Martine Leavitt’s YA novel Buffalo Flats is full of desire. In addition to wanting to own a piece of land, the main character, Rebecca, also wants to become the person God wants her to be, and that means loving other people, most of whom she finds annoying or unlovable. Erin walks through how the desire […]

We’re here today to tell you that we are going to be taking a little break over the holidays and partly that’s because there are holidays, and partly it’s to give you a chance to read Buffalo Flats if you want to, before we get to the episodes where there are spoilers.

First chapters have a really tricky job. They introduce readers to a character in their world, they set up what’s going to come after that, and the best ones have forward movement in them. It’s not just a plain description telling you the state of the world. Something’s actually happening in the first chapter. And I would put the first chapter of Buffalo Flats in this best ones category.

Beginnings are so important and they set us up for what’s to come. Even the first sentence creates expectations in a reader for what kind of world they’re entering, who this character is that they’ll be spending time with, and even what themes are gonna be coming up in the story; all in one sentence. And Martine’s opening to Buffalo Flats is masterful.

Danielle Dufayet’s picture books plant seeds in children’s minds and hearts about important topics like self-love, inner strength, patience, and letting go of perfectionism when creating art.

Martine Leavitt’s YA novel Buffalo Flats is full of desire. The main character, Rebecca Leavitt, wants more than anything to own a piece of land near where her family is homesteading in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Erin traces how Martine introduces the external desire right from the start, where Rebecca runs into obstacles, and […]

This is a perfect book. I just really wanted to tear it apart, use it to help me figure out how to make my own writing better. I think anyone who wants to write better any type of writing actually and while it will definitely be focused on kids, and this is a YA novel, I think if you want to be a better writer period, there are things to learn from Martine.

We’re three episodes in, and we’re taking a holiday break! Anne-Marie and Erin share how life is in podcast land and encourage you to read Buffalo Flats during the break. Starting in Episode 4 there will be spoilers. But the book is so rich that even if you listen first, you’ll have wonderful moments of […]

Nora Shalaway Carpenter’s YA novel Fault Lines is a study in contrasts. It’s the story of Viv, a high school senior who lives in rural West Virginia, and Dex, a boy in her grade who moves to town. Viv lives a middle class life; Dex is only recently out of extreme poverty. Viv is anti-fracking; Dex’s mom works on the pipeline. But Viv and Dex are drawn to each other. This dual point of view novel barrels straight toward a huge conflict between these two characters. Carpenter handles the moment of greatest conflict with deft hands. Let’s take a look at how she helps readers connect with the characters’ emotions without getting maudlin.

Erin takes us through the four scenes that make up the first chapter of Martine Leavitt’s YA novel Buffalo Flats. We talk desire line (both internal and external), character, setting, language, humor and more.   Links: Martine Leavitt’s Buffalo Flats “Making Your Character’s Desires Concrete” by Anne-Marie “Crafting Character: Discovering Desire” from KidLit Craft Backstory, articles […]