PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

Middle Grade

Deepening Character Relationships Through A Shared History: The Last Shadow Warrior by Sam Subity

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The authors and contributors we interviewed had so many wonderful sidewriting challenges, we thought we’d put them all in one place. Each exercise will have a link back to the original post so you can learn more about the author and how sidewriting works for them. Enjoy!

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Thank you for coming along on this sidewriting journey with us. We hope you’ve found some compelling exercises AND some compelling reasons for sidewriting. Just as every writer is different, the way each writer uses sidewriting is different–as you’ve seen from our contributors.

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Writer Friends! You shared with us the ways you sidewrite, and we listened. It was so fun and enlightening to get the scoop on your favorite exercises and tricks to get deep into your characters and figure out your plot.

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Amber Lough: Sidewriting helps me most when the story starts to feel dry or forced, or if I feel like the characters are shutting me out. I also sidewrite when I am losing motivation, and in that case, I write about why I want to tell this story.

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Margaret Chiu Greanias: Until I was asked to do this interview, I’d never heard of sidewriting. I thought maybe it was something only novelists did. But as I read Erin Nuttall’s kick-off post, I realized sidewriting is something picture book writers could do too. And then, I realized it was something that I actually do do.

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