For the past few years, I’ve written a post in late December about my year of reading, reflecting on books that have had an impact on me and patterns I’ve noticed in what I’ve read. I’d love to find time to do that again for this year, but for now I’m more motivated to reflect… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Writing with an eye toward the market and your intended audience
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 »
The Gray Area Between Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Back in 2010, Mary Kole, who was then a literary agent, wrote a post called “Is it MG or YA?” on her excellent site kidlit.com. I should note that the publishing market has changed between 2010 and 2014, so I can’t say whether this post would be the same if Kole had written it today…. Read more »
If you’ve ever read reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, you know that readers find characters unlikable ALL THE TIME. The fact that some readers find a character unlikable doesn’t mean that a writer has done anything wrong. Certain characters simply elicit strong positive and negative reactions. One of the most powerful things about reading is… Read more »
How “Hooky” Is Your Hook?
During my first semester of graduate school at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I was working on a novel about a very anxious girl beginning her freshman year at a very intense prep school. I really loved this anxious girl, and I really loved her science-obsessed best friend and her kind, stressed-out dad and the… Read more »
Swearing and Drinking in YA Novels
When one of my wonderful writer friends recently read the revised version of my YA novel-in-progress, she had a lot of insightful things to say. Most of her comments helped me problem-solve small places in the novel where something wasn’t quite working so that I can finish making the book as strong as it can… Read more »
Crafting Likable Characters Who Make Mistakes (with Lessons from Lyn Miller-Lachmann)
My seventh grade students recently finished reading Riot by Walter Dean Myers, which is set in New York City during the draft riots of 1863. Because the students had studied immigration and visited the Tenement Museum and New York Historical Society during a trip to New York, they were familiar with the setting of Riot,… Read more »