In order to get early readers on board, Tim had to draw readers in from the very first page and show them what to expect from the book. His 38-word, two-spread introduction to the book is a master establishing shot that covers not just setting, but all the elements readers need to be pulled into a story.

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.

A SCENE QUESTION is a story question on a smaller scale. Introduced at or near the beginning of a scene (or even at the end of the previous scene), the scene question is a yes/no question that will drive the tension in the scene and keep readers turning pages so they can find out the answer.

In her early chapter book series Layla and the Bots, Vicky Fang manages to incorporate STEM topics, design thinking, AND interesting characters, all in just over 1500 words each. Let’s take a look at techniques she uses to create interesting and memorable characters.

“As a product designer, I am used to solving creative problems. I think that’s partially why I’m drawn to different formats, because I get inspiration from the problem. My design experience also helps me take critique feedback well as I’m very used to harsh critiques and revising based on understanding the problems that a critique uncovers.”

guest post by Jackie Friedman Mighdoll  When you do a library search for books in the category “Kids’ Literature: Humor,” you find a wide range from Appleblossom the Possum through Zombie Butts from Uranus. And the sense of humor in them ranges, too. I’ve been looking for humor tactics for my own writing, so I […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Figuring out the opening for a novel can be daunting. We know we need to draw our readers in, to make them want to turn the page. And we have so many choices! Even with the myriad ways to open a novel, there are some basic strategies that underlie even […]