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Craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Reviews of Amy Dixon’s Annie B., Made for TV highlight the spot-on, hilarious middle grade voice of Annie Brown’s narration. “Annie’s first-person narration is hilariously astute.” —Kirkus Review “On the last day of fifth grade, when her best friend Savannah wins every award, Annie muses, ‘the only thing I’m best […]

by Kristi Wright We’ve mentioned Cheryl B. Klein before. She’s the insightful mind behind THE MAGIC WORDS: WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS. Last March our Middle Grade Lunch Break Book Club had the pleasure of spending time with Cheryl–via video chat. It’s been a few months now, but here are my top […]

craft review by Kristi Wright A few months back, while chatting with fellow authors, I proposed that when writing a mystery, it was important to keep the tension going till the bitter end about “whodunit!” I quickly realized that this isn’t a hard and fast rule—we all have beloved mysteries that reveal the identity of […]

craft review by Jen Jobart One of the reasons that Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is such an intriguing read is that its cast of engaging characters expresses common archetypes–the character roles that universally populate stories. Bertram’s novel follows twelve-year-old Emily, new to San Francisco, as she follows clues in a mysterious book that […]

craft review by Laurel Holman I’ve got four completely different drafts of my current work-in-progress, a middle grade novel. I keep trying to “fix it,” and each time I embark on a new draft I come up with new solutions that take the characters and plot in wholly new directions. Even after exploring the story […]

craft review by Laurel Holman Whether on purpose (planners) or by instinct (pansters), most published novelists have produced stories that conform to a universal story structure. Breaking down a novel into its component parts can be a tremendously valuable exercise for writers still learning the craft and those who are already masters. Save the Cat, […]

craft review by Jen Jobart If you gave most kids the choice between unlimited books of a compelling book series and a truck full of candy, it would be a tough choice. Middle grade kids are ravenous readers, and there’s nothing better than a shelf of books that is seemingly never-ending. Usually our discussion group […]

craft review by Kristi Wright Kate Hannigan’s historical novel, The Detective’s Assistant, is set right before Abe Lincoln is inaugurated as president. It intertwines the tale of a fictional orphaned eleven-year-old, Nell Warne, with the story of the real first female detective in America, Kate Warne, of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency. Historical fiction always poses challenges […]

Review by Jen Jobart You might think that Save the Cat! is just a book about screenwriting, given that its subtitle is “The Last Book On Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.”   Many movies do use the beat sheet, created by Blake Snyder. It’s especially easy to see in Disney and Pixar films, as well as […]