Guest Post: Michele Weber Hurwitz: Taking a Risk with Narration: Trust Your Instincts

By Michele Weber Hurwitz

When I first read Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012), I remember being completely amazed.

A brown bear or a pigeon narrating a picture book are one thing, but a gorilla narrating a meaningful middle grade novel? This was something else entirely. Applegate’s brilliance took my breath away. The spare yet powerful writing as well as the non-human voice was absolutely perfect.

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Guest Post: Mark Mitchell on Linear Perspective in Illustration

By Mark Mitchell

How to place things to ‘look right’ in your story illustrations…

Illustrators, let’s talk about a fundamental issue of draftsmanship that you’ve probably run up against in your pictures.

It falls under “linear perspective.”

The issue is eye level (or you might have heard it called “horizon line.”) Viewers are typically unaware of it. Not all illustrators get it.

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Guest Interview: Librarians Kerensa Williams & Rita Painter Discuss Spooky Stories

By Cory Putman Oakes

Today is the last day of my Cynsations Spooky Middle Grade Takeover! I thought I’d go out with a bang and give you a double-librarian interview.

Since a lot of spooky middle grade books tread that fine line between upper elementary and lower middle school age, let’s hear from professionals for both age groups.

Welcome, Kealing Middle School librarian Kerensa Williams and Menchaca Elementary School librarian Rita Painter.

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Guest Interview: Adrianna Cuevas on Spooky Stories Inspired by Folklore

By Cory Putman Oakes

Welcome to Day 3 of my Cynsations Spooky Middle Grade Takeover!

Today’s post is an author interview with fellow spooky middle grade writer, Adrianna Cuevas. Adrianna’s debut novel, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez (FSG), comes out May 12. It’s now available for preorder. I’m so happy she agreed to geek out with me over our mutual love of spooky stories.

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Guest Interview: Illustrator Jane Pica on Drawing Spooky Stories

By Cory Putman Oakes

It’s Day 2 of my Cynsations spooky middle grade takeover!

Today’s post is an interview with Jane Pica, the illustrator for The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street (Amulet, Aug. 18, 2020). She is responsible for the gorgeous cover and the interior illustrations.

This is the first book I’ve ever done that was partially illustrated–having an illustrator on the team was an amazing experience.

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Guest Post: Cory Putman Oakes on Writing Spooky Middle Grade Books

By Cory Putman Oakes

My next book, The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street, is coming out from Abrams/Amulet on Aug. 18 and is now available for preorder. To celebrate, I’m taking over Cynsations this week to talk about spooky middle grade!

Today’s post is on craft. I reflect on where I got the initial idea for the The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street and the long road to actually writing it.

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Guest Post: Tom Angleberger on Children’s Literature as a Team Sport

By Tom Angleberger

I’m coming up on the 10th anniversary of Origami Yoda (Amulet, 2010) in a month or two. And it won’t be long until I hit the 20th anniversary of quitting my day job and deciding to really try being an author.

Have I learned anything? Gained any wisdom? Can I impart one piece of advice that I’ve learned?

Yes,

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Guest Post: Kate Messner on The Secrets to Writing Lots of Books, Promoting Them, and Still Having a Life

By Kate Messner

I’ll start this post with a confession. I don’t really have any secrets.

The truth is, when my first novel came out in 2009, I made all of the same overeager mistakes other debut writers make when that first book is released–over-promoting and dragging my wonderfully supportive family to book event after book event for an entire season.

(My daughter was nine then.

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Guest Post: Abigail Hing Wen on Character Development the Brutally Hard Way

By Abigail Hing Wen

After twelve years of writing and hundreds of rejections as I learned to write, I can’t quite believe my first novel is coming out in just eight weeks.

My biggest struggle had always been my characters. I read dozens of character craft books and asked for advice from character gurus like Coe Booth and Sandra Nickel.

Even as a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts,

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Guest Post: Linda Joy Singleton on Critiquing Critique Groups

By Linda Joy Singleton

My First Critique Group

When I was a new young writer, a friend invited me to her critique group. I was told to bring a chapter of my work-in-progress to share. It was a casual group open to many writers. I had no idea what to expect and was so shy that reading in front of a dozen-plus writers terrified me.

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