Guest Post: N.H. Senzai on Writing About War for Middle Grade & Escape From Aleppo

By N.H. Senzai

The reason I love writing for the middle grade audience is because at this age kids can still suspend belief and journey with you through a story as long as you create believable plots, authentic characters and dialogue that rings true.

However, you need to hook them in quickly, so my first goal is to create a story that “reels them in.”

Once they’ve signed on to follow your protagonist,

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Guest Post: Kim Purcell on The Alternate Epistolary Novel


By Kim Purcell
from Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

There are so many types of epistolary novels, and I love the ones that play with the form. In my second novel, I tried to shift the traditional epistolary novel format.

In This Is Not A Love Letter (Hyperion, 2018), Jessie writes her missing boyfriend an account of what they’re doing to find him,

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Guest Post: Helena Echlin on How to Write (& Rewrite) a Tale of Suspense

By Helena Echlin

Cynsations Note: 


Happy Halloween! 


Yesterday we heard from Gillian French about techniques for building suspense. 


Today Helena Echlin shares her take on giving your readers goosebumps. 


And if you looking for even more ways to scare your readers,

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Guest Post: Gillian French on Hooking Readers: How to Build Suspense

By Gillian French

Cynsations Note: 


What scares you? Snakes? Spiders? Bigfoot? It’s different for everyone. Likewise, authors use different approaches for building suspense. 


Our Halloween treat for you is a glimpse at techniques from two YA authors for upping the stakes. 


We suspect this is a topic you want to know more about,

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Guest Post: Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick on Co-Writing Picture Books

By Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

“Writing is a solitary occupation and one of its hazards is loneliness.” – Joyce Carol Oates

“The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement.” – Will Self

“Writing is an antisocial act.” – Martha Grimes

Writing.

Solitary, lonely, antisocial – except for when it’s not.

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New Voices: Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer on The Season

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer are the first-time authors of The Season (Viking, 2016). From the promotional copy:

She can score a goal, do sixty box jumps in a row, bench press a hundred and fifty pounds…but can she learn to curtsy?



Megan McKnight is a soccer star with Olympic dreams,

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New Voice: Sonya Mukherjee on Gemini

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Sonya Mukherjee
is the first-time author of Gemini (Simon & Schuster, 2016). From the promotional copy:

In a powerful and daring debut novel, Sonya Mukherjee shares the story of sisters Clara and Hailey, conjoined twins who are learning what it means to be truly extraordinary.

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins, Clara and Hailey, have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore.

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Guest Post: Mary E. Cronin on Writing Children & Teens with LGBTQ Parents

Mary E. Cronin and Bonnie Jackman

By Mary E. Cronin

Life is just different for kids of LGBTQ parents.

They navigate awkward questions, tricky social situations, and hetero-normative language on a daily basis.

My wife Bonnie Jackman and I shared sparks for inspiration as well as seeds of conflict for writers in “Re-imagining Families: Writing about Characters with LGBTQ Parents” at the New England SCBWI Conference on May 1.

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Guest Post: Lara Herrington Watson on Analyze This: A Grammatical Breakdown of Favorite First Chapters

click to enlarge

By Lara Herrington Watson
@lashwatson

As I finished writing my second YA novel, I worried that my writing was getting stagnant.

What if I was learning bad habits that I would repeat through all of my future novels?

In order to glean some knowledge about my writing, I completed grammatical analyses on the first chapters of works by some of my favorite authors (Jane Austen,

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New Voice: Shari Schwarz on Treasure at Lure Lake

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Shari Schwarz is the first-time author of Treasure at Lure Lake
(Cedar Fort, 2016). From the promotional copy:

An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. 

So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the map, even if it means risking his life and lying to his grandpa while they’re on their wilderness backpacking trip. 

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