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craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman In the last two posts in this series, on Bridge to Terabithia and on Jacob Have I Loved, we’ve seen how Katherine Paterson creates inevitable and surprising endings, in both a conventional ending (Bridge) and an unconventional one (Jacob). In both cases, the character’s emotional arc concludes, and the character’s […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman In The Art of Fiction John Gardner repeats Aristotle’s claim that the climax of a story must be “inevitable and surprising” (172). He is cautioning writers against leaving the big moment to chance—a stray semi on the highway, or an incident of food poisoning. The same can be said of […]

craft review by Sarah S. Davis In Part 1, we saw how Kisner shapes Brynn’s political awakening through internal conflict. Read on to find out how Kisner creates stakes that push Brynn toward change. Even Losers Have Something to Lose So what could possibly change her mind and push Brynn towards risking not just a […]

craft review by Sarah S. Davis When readers meet Brynn Harper at the beginning of Adrienne Kisner’s Dear Rachel Maddow (2018), her life is in freefall. Dumped by Sarah, her high-achieving girlfriend, Brynn has also recently been kicked off the school paper because of poor academic progress. Meanwhile, at home, after losing her beloved older […]

craft review by Kristi Wright A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE by Lisa Moore Ramée follows “allergic to trouble” Shayla as she navigates seventh grade, including her evolving friendships, her first crush, track and field, and her burgeoning awareness of what it means to be Black in America. After she experiences her first Black Lives Matter […]

craft review by Lindsay Lackey It’s no surprise that a two-time Newbery medalist is a master of her craft. Kate DiCamillo’s books are international bestsellers and have garnered numerous awards. She’s known for writing complex and compelling characters, rich Southern settings, and crisp, clear prose—all of which are on display in her 2018 middle grade […]

craft review by LA Biscay In the first post of Structuring Story with Character Arc in Hello, Universe, we examined some early plot elements–the hook, the inciting incident, and the key event–and how those elements are tied to Virgil’s Lie (or Belief that Must Be Changed) and Fear. The Character Arc in the early part […]

craft review by LA Biscay Whether or not Erin Entrada Kelly used a prescribed form of story structure while writing her 2018 Newberry Award winning book, Hello, Universe, I could sense solid bones during my first reading. I giggled, I teared up, I enjoyed the characters’ journeys, and since the novel is told from four […]

craft review by Kat St. Claire Four books we read in our MG Book Group this year got me thinking about how a writer can use science and science facts to launch into fiction, even the fantastic. I’ve divided these four books into two categories. The first category I’ll call, From science facts to science fiction […]

craft review by Becky Levine Before I read Paul Acampora’s Confusion is Nothing New, my favorite of his books was How to Avoid Extinction. It’s now a toss-up which of the two sits at the top of my list. Confusion is Nothing New is brilliant in so many ways. For today, though, I’m going to […]