Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston is an excellent mentor text for how to interweave backstory, using multiple techniques, without slowing down the story one bit.
Amber Lough: Sidewriting helps me most when the story starts to feel dry or forced, or if I feel like the characters are shutting me out. I also sidewrite when I am losing motivation, and in that case, I write about why I want to tell this story.
Kristi Wright: “Ultimately, you don’t need to be fancy and organized when it comes to sidewriting. It’s the thing that gets to be as messy as you want it to be. There’s no shame in it–no right way or wrong way. I’m always going to be the equivalent of Charlie Brown’s friend Pig-Pen when it comes to sidewriting, and I’m cool with that.”
Remember—the world supports the story and everything inside of it. A well-developed world feels real and accessible.
“Craft study has helped me tremendously to make better books, and to hone my ear so that I know when something is working or not. I’ve become so much better at writing stronger characters with more compelling arcs, I can tell when my language is pitch-perfect and when it’s falling flat, I can revise more quickly than ever before, I can look at comp titles when I get stuck, I can pull from a wider range of craft techniques when I’m struggling to convey something . . . the list goes on and on. Learning craft has helped me become a better writer in countless ways.”
In a world where adults are constantly telling children what to do, which vegetables to eat, when to go to bed, and sometimes, what to think and feel, the idea of a secret space can be magical and captivating.
I love the deep sense of wonder writers of children’s books possess, and how we all—deep down—still believe in magic. The world is so often dark and stormy, but kidlit writers relentlessly gather around the flickering candles in the darkness.
interview by Kristi Wright In A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE, Lisa Moore Ramée has built a wonderful cast of characters that contribute significantly to the overall world building through their complex relationships. (See our post on the main character, Shayla.) In the interview below we asked her how she went about crafting her characters and […]
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 […]