Next Tuesday, my sophomore novel, Paper Chains, will be released into the world. In the weeks ahead, I’ve got school visits, a book festival, a writing conference, a library event, and the high-profile privilege of being interviewed by a fourth grader (one of the perks of writing for kids.) This particular fourth grader asked some really … Continue reading Story Soup -or- Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
Characters in stories inhabit a spectrum of morality that inform their motives. On the one end are pure heroes, like Superman, Captain America, and Marge Gunderson in Fargo, who live by a strict moral code and who always do the right thing for the reasons. On the other end are pure villains, like Sauron, the … Continue reading The Antihero’s Journey
I have been *slowly* working through the lessons of Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass. It wasn’t a difficult decision for me to take it because The American President is one of my favorite movies and The West Wing has yet to be beat out of its spot for best TV show (though Madam Secretary is currently a … Continue reading When Is Your Character Real?
I love a good bad guy. Always have, always will. For me, and for many other readers, the strength of a story lives or dies on the strength of the villain. After all, why bother rooting for a hero who doesn’t have to overcome anything? Where’s the fun in watching Frodo casually pop over to … Continue reading Introducing Evil: Crafting a Villain
Right after I signed with my agent, I had a minor panic attack. Until that point, I’d always told myself that I loved writing and I always made time for it, but I’d convinced myself that I could walk away from it and think of it as a hobby. Signing with my agent made me … Continue reading Ways to Study Craft
The best bit of writing advice I’ve heard in ages came from a podcast that isn’t about writing at all. It’s about Hollywood and the film industry and I listen to it every day and I’m endlessly fascinated. But two weeks ago as I listened, I was absolutely lit up with a sense of recognition, … Continue reading You’ll Never See It on the Page
First, a disclaimer: The Netflix series Stranger Things may or may not be suitable viewing for your middle-grade-age child. That’s totally your call. The aim of today’s post is to highlight the winning elements that Stranger Things and middle grade fiction share in common. If you haven’t yet seen or heard of Stranger Things, it’s … Continue reading The Middle Grade Magic of Stranger Things