One way to be sure your first chapter will have the effect you want is to focus on what questions will arise in the readers’ minds as they read, and then revise to control those questions to serve your purpose.
Sometimes in planning a story, you might find that the character’s desire is a little too abstract, or that their desire isn’t really something they can affect. There is a solution: a controlling belief.
Framing your story with a STORY QUESTION that gets answered by the end of the novel works because it adds forward momentum, keeps your reader wanting to turn the page, and–since you delay the final answer to the question until the end–builds tension
In a world where adults are constantly telling children what to do, which vegetables to eat, when to go to bed, and sometimes, what to think and feel, the idea of a secret space can be magical and captivating.
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More important than their differences and easily distinguished voices, these sisters work together as a team. And arguably, it’s this aspect of the novel that makes it so appealing. We see their cohesiveness in the initial reminiscence of the opening, but we also see it through their interactions and their family codes and practices.
In our second curated retrospective post, we look at beginnings. Laurel uses The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert as mentor text to build a template for writers to experiment with their own openings. I love that this post not only explores what makes a standout beginning, but also illustrates how one might analyze text to […]
craft review by Kristi Wright We’re starting this curated retrospective with a post on one of our favorite books. We’ve chosen this post on SWEEP because it brings us back to why many of us write for children–to evoke wonder. Kristi details a number of techniques to infuse your story with wonder. If you’re not […]
craft review by Jen Jobart In my last post, I talked about how Paolo Bacigalupi addresses the same powerful themes regardless of the audience he’s writing for. In this post, I examine how he does it. Character development Bacigalupi has a gift for really getting into a character’s heart and showing what it feels like […]
craft review by Jen Jobart I write books for kids because I want to remind them that they are powerful. That they can work together for the greater good. That they can change the world. Kids can be inspired by those types of themes, but only if they’re woven into a novel that they can’t put down. […]