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JOIN US IN EXPLORING OTHERS' CRAFT AND BUILDING OUR OWN

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 […]

craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman I was probably seven or eight when I read Harriet the Spy for the first time, and decades later, my memories of the book mostly center around how much I tried to be like Harriet the writer and failed. Three details stuck with me from childhood: the rule that clothes always […]

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 […]