How to boost your storytelling with cinematic techniques

BEGINNINGS: Kicking It Off—That Super-Critical Opening Moment Where and how to start one’s yarn, including choosing the just right opening words for a novel, play or short story, selecting that optimum moment for the beginning of a screenplay or teleplay, and the crucially important first meeting between your fictional creation and your audience is — once …
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The Line Tender reels you in

In Kate Allen’s lyrical novel, The Line Tender, budding middle school artist Lucy Everhart experiences a summer of discovery and loss in her seaside Massachusetts town. When the story opens, Lucy and her best friend Fred are abuzz over a fisherman landing a Great White Shark, rarely seen in their waters. The pair is working …
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Escape from Sudan!

From the start, this was no ordinary author visit. I arrived at 2 a.m. on a Saturday, expecting to spend a week and a half speaking at two international schools in Sudan. Unfortunately, that same Saturday, massive anti-government demonstrations began against despotic Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.  And the protests continued, swelling by thousands every day. On …
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Book review: The Gilded Wolves

At once a heist novel, a historical tale, a fantasy, and a meditation on the abuses of power, Roshani Chokshi’s latest hits the mark in all respects. In this reimagined Belle Epoque Paris, certain individuals have the power to Forge, or affect matter or mind in a way that smacks of magic. Such power creates …
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4 ways humor can help a serious story

It’s no secret that kids love to laugh.  (Adults, too.)  And as a consequence, funny stories always rank high on editors’ “must have” lists. If you possess a knack for writing humor, you’re well on your way to winning editors’ (and readers’) hearts.

But say you’re not the world’s greatest joke writer — in fact, you think …
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Back to school book giveaway

Yes, it’s that time again. Summer’s gone and the school year has begun — but to soften the blow, I’m offering a book giveaway for educators.

You can win one of three classroom sets of the first three books in my new Class Pets series: Fuzzy’s Great Escape, Fuzzy Takes Charge, and Fuzzy Freaks Out. The …
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A pair of rollicking reads

Since I read so many books I can barely keep track of them all, I’ve decided to offer sporadic book reviews on this site.  Some of the books I get from NetGalley, some from my publisher friends, and some from my local bookstore. Some are adult, some are for young readers; some are fiction, some …
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