Posts By: laurielmorrison

Olympic Scoring, Risk-Taking, and Failure Without Shame

I always love watching the Olympics and getting sucked into the storylines and wowed by the performances, even in sports I know pretty much nothing about. Over the weekend, I caught some of the men’s single luge and slopestyle events, and I was struck by the differences in how those two events are scored and… Read more »

Middle Grade at Heart Book Club!

As some of you know, I decided not to go back to teaching this year so that I’d have more time and energy to focus on my family and my writing. While that was absolutely the right decision for me at this stage of my life, I’ve missed working with kids and being a part… Read more »

My 2017 Reading Year in Review

Well, I really didn’t think I was going to meet my Goodreads challenge of reading 100 books in 2017. I was consistently a couple of books behind, and while I was always close enough that I could have prioritized a little extra reading and caught up, I was planning to let myself “fail.”   It’s… Read more »

Figuring Out What Matters

Back when my husband and I were planning our wedding, we got some really good advice. Figure out what really matters to you, someone said. Decide on a few big priorities—a few things you care about and are comfortable investing money and/or time in. That way, you can also figure out which things you don’t… Read more »

Why Verse? An Interview with Cordelia Jensen

With Thanksgiving a few days away, today feels like the perfect time to post an interview with an author and friend I am very, very grateful for: Cordelia Jensen. Cordelia and I were classmates at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I am incredibly lucky to have her in my writing life…and in the rest… Read more »

Why Verse? An Interview with Joy McCullough

I’m working on a new novel these days, and I very much want to write it in past tense, but it very much wants to be written in present tense. Nearly every time I get into a good writing zone with this book, my verbs slide right into present tense. Maybe my subconscious knows more… Read more »

Why Epistolary? Part 2: An Interview with Debut Author Jen Petro-Roy

You know that feeling when you’re reading a really good book, and you’re so desperate to know what’s going to happen that you hurry through the pages even though you also don’t want the story to be over? That’s how I felt with Jen Petro-Roy’s middle-grade debut, P.S. I Miss You. The book is written as… Read more »

Why Epistolary? An Interview with Debut Author A. B. Rutledge

During the first year of my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I was working on a manuscript that wasn’t quite cooperating. The voice wasn’t quite interesting enough, and the story didn’t have quite enough urgency. My advisor at the time, the brilliant author Franny Billingsley, suggested that I might be able to… Read more »

The Problem of Parents in Middle Grade Fiction

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the portrayal of parents in middle grade novels. There are all sorts of challenges when it comes to creating parent characters in books for kids. For instance, how do you get the parents out of the way so that your middle-school-aged characters can get themselves into enough trouble… Read more »

Trusting My Own (Uncertain but Exciting) Writing Process

Since I started writing fiction in 2008, I’ve written six full-length novel manuscripts, two of which will be published, but I still couldn’t tell you how, exactly, I write a book. When I sit down in front of a blank document, ready to start a new project, I feel a mix of confident excitement (This… Read more »

EVERY SHINY THING Cover Reveal!

Exciting news! This week, Cordelia Jensen and I got to share the beautiful, shiny cover for our co-authored middle grade novel Every Shiny Thing, which comes out next April! Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader hosted our cover reveal, complete with the book’s origin story, a description of the novel, and a chance to win an advance… Read more »

Upper MG Books for Older Middle School Readers…and My New Book Deal!

Last Thursday, I wrote a guest post for a wonderful site called Project Mayhem about the importance of “gray area” novels: upper middle grade books that appeal to sixth to eighth graders and that people in the publishing world have sometimes been wary of, because they’re a bit too old for traditional middle grade but a bit… Read more »

When “Finish What You’re Working On” Isn’t the Best Advice

 “Finish what you’re working on.” If you want to be a writer, that’s one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear, and it makes a lot of sense. It’s fun to start a book, but it can be really hard to wade through the murky middle and make it to the other side…. Read more »

My 2016 Reading Year in Review

Well, here we are at last, on the first day of 2017! 2016 was a year that included some major low points for sure but, for me personally, some very special high points, as well. It was a chaotic year with lots of new adjustments and responsibilities, but I just managed to meet my goal of… Read more »

The Realism Spectrum

The seventh grade English curriculum at my school includes a lot of historical novels, and when I teach seventh grade English, I talk about how historical fiction falls somewhere along a spectrum that ranges from almost fully rooted in historical fact to almost fully fictional. One book that falls on the mostly-rooted-in-fact end is Melanie… Read more »

Shiny, Happy News: My First Book Deal!

Almost three years ago, I got an agent. An agent I’d heard great things about, who requested my full manuscript seconds after I queried and then read my book in less than 24 hours. I’d worked on that book for two years, throughout the second year of my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine… Read more »