PICTURE BOOKS

MIDDLE GRADE

YOUNG ADULT

Middle Grade

Middle Grade, Picture Books, Young Adult

In Summary: Backstory

Backstory is a necessary part of telling a story, but how much to include and what to leave out can be complicated. It’s rare in books for kids to have many pages of backstory in a row (though Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate does it with style). At KidLit Craft, we’ve explored backstory in many categories and genres. Here are our favorite posts about backstory.

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into YA and picture books (and even some early readers and chapter books). Today, we’re highlighting a range of picture book posts, from an overview of picture book elements to backmatter. Enjoy!

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The 4th post in our “In Summary” series, collecting our best posts on point of view. These posts detail how different authors approach point of view, and tools they use to craft each point of view effectively.

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Leali pulls off the parental balancing act with aplomb and creates a mom who tries, messes up, seeks forgiveness, and tries again. It is a master class in how to create a complex parental character.

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Every manuscript seems to have its own distinct journey, but every story I write begins with an awful lot of daydreaming, staring into space, jotting a phrase or two onto a sticky note, and coming up with a working title.

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Our summer series, In Summary, draws together a number of posts from are archives on specific craft topics. Today’s posts offer strategies for how to capture your characters’ emotions, communicate them to your readers, and make your reader feel something too.

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Place matters. A story set in Paris can be transported to Atlanta, but the story fundamentally changes because of the geography, culture, language, idioms, weather, daylight hours, experience of time, and so much more. These posts explore how to establish settings and leverage them to enhance the reading experience.

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This summer, we’re introducing a new series called In Summary, where we collect up some of our favorite posts on different craft topics. Our first post is on BEGINNINGS. Beginnings give writers the opportunity to capture a reader’s attention, to draw them into the story, to give them a sense of the tone, style, and point of view, as well as whether the character is one they want to spend time with. Beginnings can be slow or fast, voicey or reflective, action-driven or character-driven. There’s no one right way to start a story. But there are more and less effective openings for each particular story. These posts will help you determine what choices you have as you write and revise your opening and prompt you to experiment. We hope you get inspired!

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cover of Love and Other Natural Disasters

“I create my characters’ flaws, misconceptions, and spiritual wounds around a theme or a question that interests me, and then I give them a personal conflict that directly challenges those flaws, misconceptions, and wounds. After that, it’s a matter of developing broader challenges, events, relationships, and conflicts that can revolve around the same theme.” ~ Misa Sugiura

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Just because you have to use simple words doesn’t mean the story has to lack emotion or depth. It’s challenging, but early readers can still use all the elements of story—character, plot, setting, etc. In fact, looking to early readers as a model, writers in other categories can see how efficient storytelling can be without sacrificing emotional depth.

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