Spend a Day with your MC

One of my favorite writing exercises for developing a multi-layered character is essentially method acting for writers.

Spend the day as your MC. Ask yourself, “What’s my rationale for this behavior? Given my own headcanon for this character, how will I respond crossing this busy, wet city street? What will I order for lunch? Why? What do I see right now that might trigger a memory or pain in me?” Continue reading

Interview with Emily Steward, author of Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure!

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After a few delays (involving the tragic smashing of my laptop and a nasty cold), I am thrilled to introduce you to Emily A. Steward and her debut MG novel, PENELOPE GILBERT AND THE CHILDREN OF AZURE!

So good to chat with you, Emily! Why don’t you tell us one of your favorite childhood books? 

It’s difficult to pick one so I’m going to cheat a little bit. I have always LOVED Matilda by Roald Dahl. I also enjoyed The Littles, Goosebumps, and The Boxcar Children. Continue reading

Bad Art When You Can’t Write

I’ve started a new policy: don’t get stuck.

If I wake up in the morning dying to get my new ideas on paper but when I sit down I discover they’re not fully gelled, I don’t get to mope.

No moping allowed.

I have to make something. Anything. A bad poem. A terrible painting. Draw a manga version of a possible character. Plant new flowers. Refinish an old chest of drawers. Interpretive dance that terrifies my kids and cats. Stagnation isn’t an option because it makes me incredibly anxious and stupid, and even the most generous of plotlines won’t have anything to do with me (and I don’t blame them).

So. Behold my awful watercolor that I’m inexplicably proud of.

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Freeing Up Your Heartspace As a Writer

Over and over, I notice hardworking creative people (myself included) coming up empty in the areas of time and energy for reasons related to misplaced empathy. The act of writing requires the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, so it makes sense that writers might carry it over into our daily lives, too. A good thing.

With the following people, though, I’ve found it’s a problematic habit to give *too* much:

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Writing Diverse Characters–Panel Interview Blog!

Like many writers I’ve talked with, I’m pretty justice-driven and compassionate, especially when it comes to being mindful of young readers. So, obviously, it really burns my toast that kids, teens, and adults don’t have the opportunity to read books with complex, diverse characters that amount to more than comic relief or sidekicks.

In an effort to listen, learn, and give others a platform to educate, I’m pleased to introduce three avid readers and writers who have graciously agreed to share some of their observations and experiences!

Welcome, Isobel, Charity, and Shondolyn!

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Magic of internet community and fandoms

My six year old recently got her hair cut. Quite short. It suits her, and it’s completely adorable. For a whole twenty-four hours, she felt like the Queen of Hair Land, and rightly so. Girlfriend was killin’ it!

Then, some little boys at the park teased her, said she “couldn’t be a REAL girl”, and told her she was “too ugly to be a girl”. (Notice the double standard there? Boys can have short hair, and be handsome, but if a girl has short hair she’s *ugly*?) Obviously, this was hurtful.

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Ask a Middle Grade Reader –A Very Special Interview Blog!

I’m the luckiest writer in the world to have so many MG super readers in my life! Today, several of them have contributed answers to six book-related questions, and I’m excited to share them with you all. Ready? Grab a double stuffed Oreo and settle in!

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Meet my guests! 

John The Dragon Tamer (10 years and 11 months); Leliy The Farm Girl (9 years and one month); Caleb Roskelly (11); Elsie; Superboy (11); Maya Wylie (11); BookWyrm (almost 11); CatWhisperer (SO close to 9). Welcome!!

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Of exhaustion and summer breaks

Being a disciplined writer while raising kids requires a sort of fanatical, dogged commitment (if you ever want to accomplish much). You have to be kind of ruthless with your spare minutes. It helps if you have a crazy gleam in your eye at all times. It lets people know you’re mat as a hatter, and that they shouldn’t invite you to social functions. You have important ish to do.

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