The Den: A blog for authors of children’s and YA genre fiction

The Den: A blog for authors of children’s and YA genre fiction

Analysing the Tale of the Twisted Claw
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‘Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it!’ Analysing S01E04 ‘The Tale of the Twisted Claw‘ Let’s get started! Here’s an embedded video from the official Are You Afraid of the Dark? YouTube channel but you can also click on the link above and watch it over on YouTube instead: Episode overview Horror tropes Be careful what you wish for, three wishes, scare dare, old dark house Storyteller David Frame story (what’s happening around the campfire)  Ugh, Eric. It’s his night to tell a story and everyone’s on tenterhooks as he reaches the climax. A little boy wakes from a bad dream only to find a monster next to his bed and then… BAM! Lazy Eric reveals he hasn’t figured out the ending yet. Don’t do this at home, kids! There’s a time and place for a cliffhanger but when all your friends sneak out of their bedrooms at midnight…

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An introduction to writing space opera for children and teens
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Umm, what is this ‘space opera’ of which you speak? You probably hear the genre title ‘space opera’ and think huh? What on earth is that? Well, they’re not set on earth for a start! But you probably guessed that from the name. Space operas – a subgenre of science fiction – aren’t literal operas where characters stand around in fancy dresses singing their dialogue (more’s the pity) but they do borrow the art form’s sense of melodrama and unlikely storylines just like TV soap operas except they’re set in outer space. The term was first used in a rather derogatory fashion by author Wilson Tucker to describe what he called the ‘hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn spaceship yarn’. Ouch. Thankfully the term gained legitimacy and respect over the decades and, in their 2007 book The Space Opera Renaissance, sci-fi editors David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer redefined it as colourful, dramatic,…

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Want to read more middle grade horror? Start here! 2021 edition
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Maybe you write horror for adults and want to dip your toe into the middle grade pool. Maybe you write realistic fiction for kids and want to try your hand at something spookier. Maybe you’ve never written anything but children’s horror is calling to you. Or maybe you’ve already written a scary middle grade but you’ve realised you just don’t know the market enough. Never fear! Here’s my introduction to finding recently published MG horror that everyone’s raving about. Of course you can find middle grade horror books to read in a thousand places: the library, Amazon, recommendations from friends, browsing your local bookshop, reading reviews in publishing magazines. These are all excellent options and I encourage you to go do them, now! But if you’re feeling lost in a sea of titles and don’t know where to begin or what’s worth reading, this post is intended to point you…

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MG & YA rebels: Ask yourself why you’re going against the grain
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I talk to lots of middle grade and YA authors who feel really deflated when I suggest their main character might be a little too old or young for the target market, and I totally get that! You’ve worked on a manuscript for months, maybe years, and fallen head over heels in love with your protagonist, so when somebody recommends you change fundamental details like their age, it can hurt. If you’re convinced your middle grade protagonist has to be 17 years old, ask yourself why. Is their voice too mature for a 12-year-old character? Does the plot feature situations that wouldn’t realistically happen to a young child, like a sexual relationship or a week-long road trip with friends? If so, you might need to consider that your book’s audience is actually teenagers instead of middle grade readers. If that feels hard to take, dig deep into the reason you’re struggling…

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Win a full critique of your spooky manuscript this Halloween!
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Do you have a finished draft of a scary middle grade or YA story? Are you ready for an objective, professional (not too scary) critique full of actionable feedback, genre-specific advice and warm and fuzzy encouragement? Have your school friends been dying in strange circumstances one by one and you’re worried you’re next? Okay, I can’t help you with that one, but do you want to make your novel the absolute best it can be and get one step closer to your publishing goals? Excellent! Step this way. Wait – nobody knows you’re here, do they? Good. The competition To celebrate the spooky season I’m offering one talented middle grade or YA author The Monster – a full, jam-packed manuscript critique worth up to £899. If the following apply to you, please submit! You have a completed draft of a novel up to 100,000 words Your story is for children (approx 8-12…

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10 articles for MG and YA genre authors to read this month: September
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It’s September already – how did that happen? This has a busy month for me as my four-year-old son finally started school! It’s all quite stressful and emotional but best of all I now get five days in a row to work – the dream! And of course that means I’ve found the time to read plenty of articles online that I’m excited to share with you. Here’s my monthly round-up of interesting, useful or just plain fun articles from around the internet that I think writers of middle grade and YA genre fiction might get a kick out of. Keeping Your Notebook ‘The single most important thing to remember is that notebooks are personal, private, intimate, and real.  You are never going to share it with anyone. That gives you the freedom to write clearly about your world.’ Six Principles for Becoming a Better Worldbuilder ‘Some audiences will care about…

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How music can improve your writing and deepen your children’s story
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Do you listen to music while you write? I absolutely cannot write, read, work, think, basically live my life in silence; I’m one of those people that turns the TV on as soon as I walk into a room because I crave the background noise, and thanks to an unexplained bout of tinnitus in my right ear that’s lasted six years and counting, I’ve become accustomed to rain sounds and white noise when I sleep, too. So it’s no surprise that I have Spotify playing permanently whenever I’m at my desk. If you manage to find the right soundtrack it just might spark ideas, inspire new plot twists or help you bring scenes to life. ☆ Background noise to aid focus When I work, I can typically only listen to very specific tracks: they need to be relatively chilled (but not so slow and relaxing that they send me to…

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Book in the Spotlight: All the Tides of Fate
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This is an edited version of my review published by the fabulous British Fantasy Society earlier this year, for whom I regularly review middle grade and YA fantasy novels. Audience: YA Genre: Fantasy adventure Authors should read this to study: fully developed supporting characters, romantic subplot * * * In this sequel to All the Stars and Teeth, Amora is reeling from the discovery that everything she thought she knew about soul magic and her family’s role in the history of Visidia was a lie. She has spent her life with blood on her hands for nothing, and her people can’t find out. But now, in the wake of her father’s murder, she must take the throne as Visidia’s queen and lead her kingdom into a new dawn. But everyone is questioning her ability to rule and who can blame them? She may have vanquished Kaven, but it was at the cost of her own…

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Story prompt: lesser known monsters
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I read this picture book to my son recently and thought woah, I haven’t heard of half these creatures! An A to Z of Monsters and Magical Beings by Aidan Onn and Rob Hodgson is a gorgeous illustrated guide to 26 monsters from around the world and if, like me, you live in the west, you may not have come across some of these characters before. You’ll find the usual suspects like aliens, ghosts and vampires, but some may be new to you, like: Eloko, dwarves living inside hollow trees who entrance passing hunters Far Darrig, the Irish ‘red men’ who like practical jokes and tripping up travellers (I’m Irish, I should’ve known this one!) Jinn, Arabian genie-like creatures made of fire who grant wishes in return for good deeds Roc, a bird so strong it can carry an elephant in its claws Xing Tian, a Chinese giant who lost…

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Middle grade and YA on display! Libraries in July
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A great way of discovering what books are big at the moment is to look at your local library’s displays. They might put out the newest releases, books on a particular theme or current trend or even just books they recommend, and you don’t even have to go hunting through the shelves to get them. Remember that a sign saying ‘new books’ doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve recently been published – they may have been out for a while but be newly acquired by the library. This tells you something useful, too, because there’s a reason they decided to acquire and promote the book now. Has it recently become popular? Is it being turned into a film? Is there a sequel coming? Now, my son and I really, really, REALLY love libraries and we’re lucky enough to have three lovely ones within walking distance (Morden, Raynes Park and West Barnes) so…

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Origin Story: David Rogers
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First up in the new Origin Stories series is the lovely David Rogers, author of middle grade sci-fi adventure CHOMP! Charlie Carter and the Monster Pike. I did a developmental edit for David way back in January 2020 and had so much fun with it – how could anyone not have fun surrounded by so many fish puns? David went on to self-publish the book and really worked his butt off with marketing and getting it into stores (and check out his website – it’s a triumph!). He’s currently working on the sequel but found time to answer a few questions about the books that shaped him into the kidlit author he is today. What book are you currently reading? I bought The Kid Who Came From Space by Ross Welford on a whim, just for something to read the last time I was in an airport waiting for a plane.…

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Writing prompt lucky dip #2
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In the last post I introduced my middle grade and YA writing lucky dip, where I offer up four ingredients for you to mix up in your cauldron and turn into something fabulous. Use them as you will! ONE PHOTO ONE SONG Willow’s Song by Magnet ONE SHORT FILM ONE OPENING LINE When I first found the bag hanging from the foot of my bed, I didn’t notice it was moving.

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Book in the Spotlight: The Game Weavers
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The following was originally published by the fabulous British Fantasy Society earlier this year, for whom I regularly review middle grade and YA fantasy novels. Audience: YA Genre: Dystopian fantasy Authors should read this for: evocative world-building, clear goals, high stakes * * * Rebecca Zahabi’s gorgeous debut YA novel, The Game Weavers, is set in a magical dystopia where conservative world leaders have fostered an intolerant, anti-LGBTQ culture. The national sport is Twine, a game that sees weavers like youth champion Seo Kuroaku spin unique creatures from their fingertips like thread, setting them against each other in battle, and Twine fans aren’t too progressive when it comes to gay rights. So when Seo is outed after a one night stand with Jack, it could spell the end of his career for good. As he navigates his feelings for Jack and tries to keep his little brother, Minjun, safe in a world…

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Book in the Spotlight: The Winter Duke
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This is an edited version of my review published by the fabulous British Fantasy Society earlier this year, for whom I regularly review middle grade and YA fantasy novels. Audience: YA Genre: Fantasy Read this to study: Magic systems, gorgeous world-building, flawed protagonists, slow pace * * * It’s the night before her brother, heir to the icy throne of Kylma Above, is due to choose his bride and Ekata Avenko is counting the hours until she can leave her cruel parents and murderous siblings behind for a new life at university. Politics and power struggles bore her; sixteen-year-old Ekata just wants to study science, and maybe to get a peek underneath the frozen lake that separates her world from the underwater Kylma Below. But when her entire family is struck down by a mysterious illness the night before the brideshow, Ekata is the only Avenko left to take on the title of duke.…

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Book in the Spotlight: The Midnight Lie
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This is an edited version of my review published by the fabulous British Fantasy Society earlier this year, for whom I regularly review middle grade and YA fantasy novels. Audience: YA Genre: Fantasy Authors should read this to study: romantic subplot, luscious world-building * * * As a Half Kith, Nirram needs to stay in her lane. She’s forbidden from wearing coloured clothes, owning a mirror or decorating her home in anything but muted tones, and she definitely can’t go beyond the wall. Those luxuries belong to the High Kith, and anybody found breaking the rules must pay a tithe – maybe hair, maybe an eye or, if they’re lucky, just a few vials of blood. Nirram knows this is how things have always been, and there’s no use questioning the status quo. Nobody can remember a time before the militia ruled the Ward before a wall kept the Half Kith away from the…

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Book in the Spotlight: All the Stars and Teeth
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This is an edited version of my review published by the fabulous British Fantasy Society earlier this year, for whom I regularly review middle grade and YA fantasy novels. Audience: YA Genre: Fantasy adventure Authors should read this to study: Strong romantic subplot, fully developed supporting characters, violence and gore in YA * * * In the kingdom of Visidia, the air fizzes with seven types of magic and citizens may choose which they wield, though they must never practise more than one or they risk losing their souls forever. But for young Princess Amora Montara, next in line to become High Animancer, there is no choice: she must master her family’s dangerous, potent soul magic in order to prove herself worthy of the throne and protect her people from forces far darker than anybody can imagine. When her time comes to demonstrate that soul magic to her subjects, she loses control…

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Origin Story: Siobhán O’Brien Holmes
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Hello, folks! I’m really excited today because I’m starting a new series on the blog where I ask published middle grade and YA authors to share five books that made them the writer they are today. Think of it like a cross between Desert Island Discs and The Guardian’s The Books That Made Me but designed specifically to help and inspire emerging kidlit authors like you. A lot of my clients tell me they never read their own genre or target age group or that they actually don’t read at all, which is a huge shame because we all know you have to be a reader to be a writer! I hope this series will get you thinking about the stories that brought you this far and demonstrate how the books you read throughout your life are like a trail of breadcrumbs leading up to the author you’re going to…

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Study people like you’re about to play them on TV
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I’m not really one of those ‘people watchers’ you find sitting in café windows or on park benches, glancing around as the world goes by, trying to figure out everyone’s story as they pass. When I was studying for my Novel Writing MA, a read lots of advice that said writers must love watching people; we have to be observant and curious and pick up on the little things others might miss. Well, let me tell you, that ain’t me. I’ve never once studied a stranger on the bus and invented their life story, or spotted an elderly couple angrily elbowing each other in the supermarket and dropped them into my novel. I’m too caught up in my own thoughts and anxieties to notice strangers so much. Being a people watcher is a great attribute in a writer, because you’ll pick up on behaviours and mannerisms that will make your characters more…

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A Monday in the life of a kidlit editor, writer & reader #1
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This series is my contribution to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults.  I spend my days with my head in a book so I thought it was about time I joined in this lovely blog hop and shared what I’ve been reading with you! The majority will be middle grade and YA because, let’s face it, they’re my life, but I also get through a heck of a lot of picture books with my four-year-old son so I might a few of those, too. I hope this monthly series will also be a chance for me to fill you in on what I’m up to at work and with my own middle grade WIP. I know editors can seem like a mysterious breed so if you’re thinking…

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Book in the Spotlight: Diana and the Island of No Return
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This is an edited version of my review published by the fabulous British Fantasy Society earlier this year, for whom I regularly review middle grade and YA fantasy novels. Audience: Middle Grade Genre: Fantasy adventure Authors should read this to study: well-drawn friendships, clear character goals, fast pace, strong supporting cast * * * Aisha Saeed’s Diana and the Island of No Return is the first in a new Wonder Woman trilogy aimed at middle-grade readers, and it kicks off the series with a bang. Saeed explores Wonder Woman’s origins as 12-year-old Princess Diana of Themyscira watches the Amazon women of her island train for battle, dreaming of the day when her mother might let her become a warrior, too. But today there’s a distraction: it’s Chara, the annual festival that brings the most powerful, talented and intelligent women from all over the world to Themyscira as they celebrate their cultures together. Diana can’t…

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10 articles for MG and YA genre authors to read this month: May
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Happy May, awesome authors! I’m going to quickly skip over the fact that I missed out April and move along to bringing you my monthly round-up of interesting, useful or just plain fun articles from around the internet that I think writers of middle grade and YA genre fiction might find helpful or just get a kick out of. Tor EDU: Genre Publishing 101 This webinar is a great, accessible introduction to genre publishing and what goes on inside the industry. Writing Young Adult Romance: Crushes and Chemistry It’s my hero Mary Kole! Mary talks here about writing believable relationships that hinge on more than just physical attraction which is so important in YA. Sidewriting Takeover: Why Sidewrite? (And What Is It Anyway?) I’d never hear this practice referred to as sidewriting before but essentially this is about the extra writing and exercises you do to figure out your story,…

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Industry news! Get extended access to StokerCon 2021 🤡
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I’d been so excited for the Horror Writers’ Association’s virtual StokerCon this year and was absolutely planning to attend ALL the sessions but sadly my life is a giant ball of chaos and I ran out of time to sign up and take part. Sad face. But then they announced yesterday that all those ridiculously busy people like me could still sign up and gain access to the recordings for three days. Happy face! If you haven’t already, I really recommend purchasing an Extended Access ticket sharpish. I’m planning to have the sessions run in the background all day today while I work and I’m particularly looking forward to: Classic Horror and Why We Still Love It Horror in Fairy Tales Panel Music in Horror Panel Tone and Setting History of the Gothic Folklore in Horror And of course, for you kidlit authors, there’s: 2021 YA Authors Summer Scares Author…

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Wolf School: Species of Wolf
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Hello, class! Ah-wooooooooooooooooooooooo. I’m so excited you’ve joined us for the first day of Wolf School. I’m Constance and– Can I eat them now?  What? No, Merricat! Of course you can’t eat them. They’re here to learn from us. Really, how many times do we have to go over this? I’m so sorry, everyone. Don’t mind my sister, she’s perfectly harmless. She’s never so much as scratched a human in her life. She’s just going through a bit of a phase at the moment and– You mean because I’m a werewolf? It’s not a phase and you’d better hurry up and get used to it.  I’m not talking about this now, Merricat. Because you don’t want to admit I’m a werewolf.  You are not a bloody were– Oh goodness, I’m so sorry, class. This is utterly unprofessional of us. Let’s forget this nonsense, shall we? I assure you my sister…

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Analysing The Tale of Laughing in the Dark
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It’s the most fun in the park when you’re laughing in the dark! I have a soft spot for this episode because I love any horror featuring creepy fairgrounds, although I was slightly perturbed on rewatching to discover that the backstory of Zebo the clown is very similar to a plot thread in my own middle grade novel. In this AYAOTD? episode, the original Zebo the clown stole money from the fairground in the 1920s and, trying to flee, accidentally burned down his own haunted house with a lit cigar. His ghost (and cigar smoke) now haunts the new spook house. In my story, a Victorian serial killer burns down the haunted house in a fairground while trying to escape the police and is now rumoured to haunt its grounds. Did this episode somehow infiltrate my subconscious 25 years later? Or have I just watched so much AYAOTD? that I’m now…

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Lessons from R. L. Stine’s Masterclass #2: Write for fun!
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I talked recently about my love for R.L. Stine and his fabulous masterclass for children’s authors and today I’m going to do that a bit more. For this post I’ve chosen a lovely quote from the course that really resonated with me, and I hope it will speak to you a bit, too: Why can’t you just write for fun? Why do you have to write from the heart? I’ve written hundreds of novels and I’ve never written one of them from the heart.   For years, I was very self conscious about my creative writing. I’d pumped out god knows how many stories, poems and plays throughout my childhood (all pure gold) but as an adult, I clammed up when I sat down to type. I thought I needed to say something profound, to ‘bleed’ onto the page like the famous writing quote orders us to do. I didn’t…

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10 articles for MG and YA genre authors to read this month: March
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Happy March, lovely authors! Here’s my monthly round-up of interesting, useful or just plain fun articles from around the internet that I think writers of middle grade and YA genre fiction might get a kick out of. Pluckley: The 15 horrifying ghosts and chilling nightly screams in Kent’s most haunted village I’ve been researching setting for my own middle grade novel this week and I love this list of the many, many terrifying things reportedly going on in Pluckley. Red lady in the graveyard – that feels like a middle grade horror waiting to be written. When is The Society season 2 released on Netflix? Cast, plot and season 1 ending explained YA fans will love The Society, a dark mystery series following a town of teenagers whose parents go missing without a trace overnight. I’m so pleased to hear the second season is on its way after being paused…

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Making your spooky kidlit scenes even scarier with sound effects
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Sensory description is so important in any genre of fiction, but in scary stories it can add a chilling, leave-the-lights-on-tonight-please-mum atmosphere to an otherwise flat scene. In fact, you should write with all your senses; it’s easy to focus on what your characters see, but think what the reader is missing out on. Show us that distant creaking gate your MC hears walking through the park at night, or the floral perfume they can’t get off their clothes, even though they didn’t put any on. In a previous post I talked about describing a graveyard setting in your horror novel using all the senses and today I’m going to widen the setting but focus on just one sense: hearing. So, how do you go about writing spooky sounds in your horror story? How do sound effects translate to the page? My top tip is to learn from the pros. When…

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Know your audience: middle grade
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Unless you’re ten, it can be hard to get into the mindset of your young readers when writing middle grade fiction. Schooldays are a distant memory for most of us, but even if we could remember them clearly, things have changed a little since our day. When I was in primary school, we spent our lunchtimes playing with Pogs and swapping stickers (and there was that one weird summer where we all walked around with dummies in our mouths – don’t ask), but trends move on and children’s tastes change. So, how do you figure out what’s on their minds these days? You do your research! This post isn’t about getting into the mindset of a middle grade reader by thinking like a child and harnessing your own memories or understanding how children’s brains and emotions work. Those are really important things to consider as a writer and I’ll be…

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Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole
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A while ago I started a series in which I give you a very, very quick introduction to some of my favourite writing guides. These books will typically be aimed at authors of middle grade or YA, or they might be genre specific, focusing on writing horror, sci-fi, fantasy or mystery. This week I’m discussing an incredible guide by an incredible woman, literary agent Mary Kole. What Mary doesn’t know about children’s publishing isn’t worth knowing, so this book is one I’d recommend devouring cover to cover as soon as you can! Best for: Middle grade and YA authors of any genre.   Chapter 1: Kidlit Market Overview Here’s why I advocate for the shorter manuscript (and it isn’t because I’m drowning in slush and want to read less): Some middle grade readers are still finding their literary confidence. They may have recently come to middle grade after chapter books,…

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Fleshing out your secondary characters with Greg House
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I’m going way off-piste today with this post: it’s not about fantasy, horror, sci-fi or mystery (well, House is a medical mystery show, but I’m not sure that counts) and there isn’t a middle grade or YA reader in sight. But it tackles something I know a lot of my author clients struggle with so please bear with me! So, I’m a huge fan of the American TV series House – I think it’s one of the greatest US drama shows of all time – and I watched an episode this week that got me thinking about secondary characters in fiction and how important it is to know their backstory, even if we don’t show it all on the page. If you don’t watch it, House is a medical drama following Dr Gregory House, a brilliant but antisocial diagnostician who flouts the hospital rules and manipulates everyone around him. At the centre of…

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Hello! I'm Siobhán, a developmental editor of middle grade and YA genre fiction. This blog is aimed at authors who write for a young audience, particularly those working on horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery or anything with a dash of magic or macabre.


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Testimonials

Here are some lovely things my gorgeous clients have said about me. When I'm having a bad day, I like to read these and eat Cadbury's Creme Eggs.

‘One of the best editors working with emerging voices’

Like the best of editors, Siobhan will respect your own individual writing style – and work within those parameters to coax you towards ever greater clarity and impact. She has an instinctive grasp of story, and some of the best craft knowledge I’ve ever come across. As a writer herself, she understands the highs and lows of the journey and always has a listening ear. She is never one to rush, and when a script inevitably throws up a knotty issue, will ponder deeply before putting forward possible solutions. Her openness, kind heart and gentleness make her one of the best editors working with emerging voices.

Chrissy Sturt | Advanced report
‘So thorough and rich with insight’

 

What a treat! This is exactly what I needed. Your critique seems so thorough and rich with insight. I will be sure to send you questions if I’m unsure about anything you meant but I think you’re so thorough that I will be able to digest almost everything on my own just fine. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you as well!
Chanya Sainvilus | YA sci-fi critique

‘It’s already helping massively’

I want to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU for all that you’ve done for me and my book baby. It’s already helping massively. I already love all the three big suggestions you made and I’m really happy you thought it’s a book worth working on as that’s exactly what I’m planning to do 🙂

Martina O'Brien | Dev edit

‘The story has been truly seen for the first time’

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the hard work you have done on my edit. I am absolutely thrilled with it; the attention to detail and depth with which you went into the manuscript left me speechless. The hashtag system is so handy and the book map made so many things clear for me. I feel like the story has been truly seen for the first time. I will recommend your work without hesitation.

Aisling White | YA fantasy dev edit

‘I don’t want our editing relationship to end yet’

I have just skimmed through your brilliant editorial critique and will follow your suggestions and recommended reading lists. I think you have been very good at steering me the right way. I don’t want our editing relationship to end yet. I still need you!

Akin Jabar | MG sci-fi critique

‘Absolutely delightful!’

Thank you so much! Working with you has been absolutely delightful! I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Jena Ataras | MG fantasy critique
‘I’m really impressed with your critical eye’

 

Wow, an excellent middle grade manuscript critique! I’m really impressed with your critical eye and what you’ve picked up on here – your comments are very astute and your feedback has been very valuable, as always. I agree with almost everything! Thanks a lot for this – I can’t wait to send you another.
John Lomas-Bullivant | MG fantasy critique

‘Your generous effort has already made the book better’

Thank you SO much for all your notes and for the honesty. I read them all and they’re extremely helpful. I’m very grateful for you taking the time. Your generous effort has already made the book better. 

Chad Lutzke | YA horror beta read

‘A breath of fresh air’

Siobhan has not only been a breath of fresh air, breathing new life into my first ever draft manuscript, but she’s also provided me with the impetus to get it finished. Her comments and feedback led me to make some hard decisions but these have resulted in a much better book. Here’s to the future!

David Rogers | MG sci-fi dev edit
Several pennies have actually dropped’

 

I’ve had a look through everything and wanted to thank you so much for the forensic view of my novel. It’s the first time I’ve had a developmental edit like this completed and it has been, in turn, horrifying, enlightening, surprising and confidence boosting! But I guess you’ve probably seen that before. In many respects, several pennies have actually dropped and I have a firmer idea of what I need to do and will work on more research and reading.
Maria White | MG fantasy dev edit

‘I have never felt so quickly understood and supported by an editor’

Siobhan is absolutely brilliant! I’m trying not to sound too gushy but her work truly is astonishing — the best editing I have ever received. Siobhan is a master editor at every level, from word to idea. She is a consummate craftsperson and expert researcher. She is also immensely creative, able to help solve a manuscript’s problems and repair its shortcomings. She is efficient and generous, bright and fun — an absolute joy to work with. I have never felt so quickly understood and supported by an editor.

Sara Cassidy | Children's adventure critique

‘I will seek a developmental edit much earlier next time’

Well I have read the report and documents and ARRGHH!! But in a good way. I have to say that your comments, suggestions and advice are excellent and I don’t disagree with much if anything that you suggest. They are really helpful and will truly make this book better. Also the pointers will definitely improve my subsequent stories. I will seek a developmental edit much earlier next time as I think this would have made the whole process a quicker and much more streamlined editing process.

Jonathan Evans | YA fantasy critique