Category Archives: middle grade

Sentence by Sentence: The essence of good writing

It’s true that different authors have different virtues.  Memorable characters. Nonstop action. Intricate worlds. Long, rambling unwieldy sentences that fill an entire paragraph and make your reader forget what the idea was that you started with in the first place.  Well, actually, maybe we could skip that last one. Long sentences can be exciting. But [...]

Lemony Snicket-a-rama

I just tweeted a link to this mini-interview in the New York Times, but that called to mind another interview with Rachel Maddow from a while ago. It’s kind of cute to see how much obvious admiration she has for good ol’ Mr. Snickett. Another interview-ette with PW: And, finally, a trailer for Who Could [...]

Plot Knot: How to Avoid it.

There’s this common problem in plot-oriented fiction–published and unpublished alike. Maybe you’ve noticed it.  There are a lot of threads that the author’s trying to maintain throughout the story and then somewhere toward the end, they all have to be woven together. Well, instead of being woven, sometimes they just end up tangled. And that’s [...]

The Wikkeling By Steven Arntson

There are a lot of rules on my son’s school playground. This disturbs both of us. Very little running goes on at recess that’s not heavily supervised. We were commiserating about this fact recently and it called to mind a submission I received a couple of years ago which featured a dystopian world where the [...]