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JOIN US IN EXPLORING OTHERS' CRAFT AND BUILDING OUR OWN

interview by Kristi Wright We are so excited to welcome Jill Diamond back to the blog! (See our first interview with Jill, and our post on world-building in the Lou Lou and Pea books.) Jill’s second book, Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza, came out in April. We wanted to look at the craft […]

craft review by Kristi Wright As a middle grade writer of contemporary fantasies and futuristic adventures, I’m always interested in honing my world-building skills. At the 2018 SCBWI LA conference, Malinda Lo discussed five foundations of world-building, which she also documented in a blog post. While these guidelines are geared toward writers of fantasy and […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman As middle grade writers, we don’t have a lot of time to hook the reader. We can rarely start with three pages of setting, or with a lot of backstory. We need to start in the middle of things, but too much in the middle of things and readers get […]

craft review by Kristi Wright In See You in the Cosmos, author Jack Cheng introduces us to the protagonist, Alex Petroski, who is in the middle of creating a Golden iPod that he is determined to rocket into space to teach aliens about humanity. From beginning to end, the novel is a transcript of the […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman The subtitle of The Penderwicks–A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy–describes both why readers love the book (all those characters!) and a huge challenge for the author (all those characters!). Arguably, the plot arc of this first installment in Jeanne Birdsall’s series is Jeffrey’s […]

craft review by LA Biscay In his craft book Plot and Structure, author James Scott Bell challenges writers to find the strongest hook for scene openers: “The hook is what grabs the reader’s attention from the start and gets him pulled into the narrative. And here is where many a writer stumbles. “Feeling there needs […]

craft review by Jen Jobart Writing a character readers love is the holy grail. In her book The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, Cheryl Klein writes, “Even more than an exciting story, compelling characters make the reader turn the pages, because they offer the intimacy of a relationship, the unpredictability of real […]

craft review by Kate O’Shaughnessy In my childhood bedroom, there was an air-conditioning vent in the far corner of the room. One day I noticed it was loose, so I pried it off. To my great delight, I discovered there was a little nook in there, a perfect hiding spot for small, treasured things. After […]

Craft Review by Becky Levine I absolutely loved How to Avoid Extinction. I fell in love with the hero Leo on page one, and stayed in love as I watched him try to keep up with his grandmother as she journeys across the country in search of dinosaur fossils.  His attempts to keep her safe, […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Katherine Applegate’s novel-in-verse, Home of the Brave, is an intricate story. Kek, a ten-year-old refugee from Sudan, lands in Minnesota in the middle of winter and has to make sense of his new world. It is at once a story of leaving a life behind, engaging with a new world, […]