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Middle Grade, Part 1: The Books That Hooked Us On Reading

mg novels part 1

Middle grade (MG) is a term used to describe the age range of a book’s intended audience. Despite the name, it doesn’t apply only to kids in middle school. Middle grade readers are between the ages of 8 and 12, which typically corresponds to kids in 3rd through 6th grade. And they read. A lot. […]

Readers That (Don’t) Care: Why is My Character Unsympathetic?

Let me guess: someone read your story and called one of your characters “unsympathetic.” You’re here to figure out what, exactly, that means. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean they’re unlikeable. An unlikeable character isn’t necessarily a problem. A reader can still sympathize with a character they don’t like.  Oftentimes, writers take “unsympathetic” to mean that […]

Clever, Not Invincible: Keeping Your Characters From Being Overpowered

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where the hero never got hurt? No matter how many enemies came after them, they always took them out. No matter how many bullets just missed their head, they always managed to dodge. That was an overpowered character.  That is boring.  It takes all the […]

Unheard Voices: How to Portray Mute Characters Authentically

Writing a mute, nonverbal, or nonspeaking character can allow you to explore new ways of expression, communication, and interaction. Novels depend heavily on dialogue, so when someone appears who doesn’t speak verbally, you are challenged to improve your understanding of your world, characters, their personalities, and how to write detailed, compelling narratives. It doesn’t come […]

Names and Numbers: Should You Name Your Chapters?

Whether or not to use chapter titles or numbers is a subjective choice that varies with each novel. This decision typically rests with the writer (if you are self-publishing), and the writer, agent, and publisher collectively (if you are traditionally publishing), who must determine the most effective approach for the story.  Several factors need to […]

Title Matters: How to Name Your Book

nc title matters how to make a book title

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably used a working title – a temporary name for your project. A working title can be anything. For some, it is a word or phrase that reminds them of their WIP, such as Jane Austen’s working title “First Impressions” for what eventually became “Pride and Prejudice.” For others, it […]