Channel Surfing

Welcome to our new series, where we highlight our favorite writing, publishing, and/or book-related posts of the week by middle grade authors! Hit the pause button for a sec and check this out…

Knowing the Purpose of Every Scene

by Anna Staniszewski, author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series

Anna offers some great advice here on an important part of the revision process – knowing not only what the purpose is for every scene in your story, but the purpose for every sentence. It might take some rearranging, but this kind of close examination can really tighten up your story.

My Very UnFairy Tale Life


Rules for Writing Middle Grade Fiction

by F.T. Bradley, author of the Double Vision series

Over on Savvy Authors, F.T. covers what aspiring MG authors should know, including the importance of tight prose and not trying to “teach a lesson.” I don’t completely agree with the idea that you should “keep it clean” as far as language goes, but with MG in particular, I do think you need to closely examine word choice and make sure there’s a rhyme and a reason for everything.

Double Vision


Paying it Forward

by  Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Indian Shoes and Holler Loudly

I love all ten of Cynthia’s suggestions on how authors can “nurture new voices” and show their support for debut authors. This industry often feels so cold and cutthroat, but offering blurbs, sending encouraging emails or tweets, and attending launch parties are just a few great ways Cynthia suggests that can help us all create a friendly, supportive community.

Holler Loudly


“Finding My Way:” Teaching With Themed Literature Units

by Katherine Schlick Noe, author of Something to Hold

This week’s post over on From the Mixed-Up Files couldn’t have been more timely for me, as I’d just had a friend email asking for advice on themed literature units and recommended middle grade reading for ESL students at her school in Vietnam. Katherine includes three examples of units her graduate students will be teaching this winter, featuring books like Because of Winn Dixie, Riding Freedom, and Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Something to Hold


Middle Grade and Back Again

by Marissa Burt, author of Storybound

In honor of The Hobbit opening this weekend (for which I’m not excited at all, nope, not one little bit!), Marissa muses on the fact that Tolkein’s epic story of Bilbo Baggins was once considered children’s literature – for ages 5 to 9, no less – and how perhaps kids today should return to occasionally reading a little beyond their comprehension level.



Read any great MG-related posts in the blogosphere this week? Share a link in the comments, and we’ll tweet up a storm!