Category: Fiction

A blog by Shalon Sims about education, creative writing, literacy and psychology

Fear & horror in children’s literature – Review of truly terrifying kids & YA books

Part 1: Lost in the Woods I am fascinated by the special kind of horror that can only be found in stories about and for children. Since the very first children’s books by Perrault and the Grimm brothers, and before that, in folktales and oral traditions, stories about children have so often been gruesome and…
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What a top New York agent wants: the element of surprise

Sitting down with Don Maass of the famous Donald Maass Literary Agency last week, I wasn’t all that nervous. Probably the lack of sleep and my impending major surgery scheduled for four days later had dulled my need for validation. Or maybe it was because I actually believe in the book I was pitching; I…
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When You Reach Me – a writing craft review

This review of When You Reach Me, a Newberry Award-winning novel by Rebecca Stead, is hopefully the first of a series on writing craft in middle grade science fiction. I’ll explore issues of writing craft, such as theme, tone, voice, plot, characterization, etc. in a few of my new favourite books. My aim is for…
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Plot your novel with MICE Quotient Nesting Codes and Try/Fails

Learn how to use Orson Scott Card’s MICE Quotient along with Mary Robinette Kowal’s adaptation of this technique to include nesting codes and try/fails to successfully plot your novel.

Plot design & story structure: Joseph Campbell vs Christopher Vogler

In this article, I discuss my process for developing plot and share the incredible tools I discovered to examine, critique and improve the plot of my novel. Download this new and improved for 2021 Campbell vs. Vogler Plot Design Template that will help you design your plot by examining if and how your story follows the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell and Christopher…
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