Looking in from the outside: Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series

Thick as Thieves came out this year (Yay! I read it twice in a row!) and I’ve been enjoying re-reading Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. She’s making me think about the story from an outsider’s perspective. Megan Whalen Turner’s beloved Eugenides character is showcased in a way that reminds me of Dorothy Dunnett’s […]

6 ways THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET shows its warm and funny heroine

Click here to download Six Ways to Reveal Character handout as a pdf with links to Karl Iglesias’ website and to WRITING FOR EMOTIONAL IMPACT. I’ve been studying Karl Iglesias’ insightful and practical WRITING FOR EMOTIONAL IMPACT while reading Nancy J. Cavanaugh‘s funny, charming, and warm THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET for Middle Grade readers. […]

Think, Act, Speak: What order makes character reactions feel real?

Do you know the terrible feeling when THAT topic resurfaces? “Oh no. I AM going to have to learn this.” Prehistoric time periods must have come around 3 or 4 times in my studies, but I still haven’t learned them. Years and years ago, I read about Dwight W. Swain’s Motivation Reaction Units (MRU’s). *Cough.* […]

A Novel Way for Young Readers to Relate to Faith?

Last week, my husband and I visited Marburg, the town where we first met. In 2017, Marburg will join many cities in Germany in a celebration of Martin Luther and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Belief, politics, power all mixed together to shape Europe’s history. Events are planned all over Germany. The Playmobil company […]

What’s in a reversal? Exploring Leigh Bardugo’s RUIN AND RISING.

Just finished reading Leigh Bardugo’s RUIN AND RISING, the 3rd book of her Grisha trilogy. If you haven’t read it, go read. (Note: This is a YA, not a middle grade title.) SPOILER ALERT. Last night, I stopped reading at the end of Chapter 8. Earlier in the chapter, things are looking up for Alina. […]

Exploring the world of Angie Sage’s MAGYK and FLYTE

In Sage Blackwood’s JINX books, Jinx wanders around inside the magical spells of others to see how they are constructed. As a reader and writer, I’m doing a similar experiment with Angie Sage’s middle grade novels. If you haven’t read MAGYK and FLYTE, there may be spoilers. Go ahead and read them first. This’ll be here […]