Posted in Award Winners, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Wicked Deep

TheWickedDeepIf you loved Maggie Siefvater’s Scorpio Races, I think you’ll love The Wicked Deep (Simon Pulse, 2018) by Shea Ernshaw. Both books are eerie.
Two centuries ago, in the small town of Sparrow, three teen girls were drowned in the harbor for being witches. Each June since, they return and take possession of teen girls’ bodies. The locals call it the Swan season after the dead girls. And each season at least three boys will be drowned for revenge. Sometimes it is local boys and sometimes tourists.
Our main character is seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot who lives on Lumiere Island with her grief-stricken mother. A boy comes to town looking for work and Penny gets involved with him. Can she save him from the three sisters?
This books has unexpected twists and turns, flashbacks to the past, and keeps one turning the pages. I highly recommend it.
This is author Shea Ernshaw’s debut and it quickly became a NY Times Best Seller. Netflix won the screen rights to the book–I hope they make the movie! Though I might not be able to watch it alone…
Read Shea’s bio here. I’m looking forward to her next book. Read this tweet about it.

Posted in The Nitty Gritty of Children's Writing, Tools

Do You Have Style?

Image by Prawny on Pixabay
watercolour-1768921_1280.jpgNot long ago I read several blog posts about the value of a style sheet, although I’d call it a master character chart. It’s a place to put details about every single character in your novel so you’ll be consistent. It’s probably easy to remember that your main character’s name is spelled Maisie, not Maisy, but what about other characters? The more minor they are the harder it gets. Was that Zak or Zack or Zach? This chart is a helpful place to consolidate that info even if you make individual worksheets for your characters.
What should you include in a style sheet? It depends on your novel and on you. But suggestions include character name (and any nicknames), physical characteristics that you don’t want to accidentally change mid-novel, perhaps where they live and what kind of place it is, parents’ names and a few details, who the characters’ friends are, etc. For a kid in Middle School or High School, their class schedule might be useful. I could see having a style sheet for places in the novel as well. There are probably a myriad of other uses–especially for fantasy or historical writers.
Some style sheets include WHEN those details appeared in the novel. That would be too complicated for me. However, I do use a story ladder which may include those details. (See post here.)
How should your character chart or style sheet be arranged?
It’s a very personal decision. For me, I want to be able to see the details at a glance. I like using a Word table. An Excel spreadsheet would work as well. Evernote has a template you could use. Or you may be more a pen and paper person. This character map is aimed at students reading a book, but it could be helpful for writers too.
More visual?
Perhaps what this author does would be helpful–she created a page with images and limited text. (Read more here.) Cut out images out of magazines and physically glue and paste, or copy images off of a free photo site, such as pixabay. I may try this with my next novel.
If you’ve used style sheets, and have tips, I’d love to hear them.

Posted in Award Winners, PB, So Many Good Books

No More Noisy Nights

Perfect Picture Book Friday
NoMoreNoisyNightsNo More Noisy Nights (Flashlight Press, 2017) by Holly L. Niner and illustrated by Guy Wolek is a fun book I think both kids and adults will enjoy.
Jackson has just moved into his new house and settled down to sleep when he discovers he has a noisy neighbor. He comes up with a creative idea to keep his neighbor quiet so he can sleep. But then he learns he has another noisy neighbor. He solves that problem. The third night it happens again. Finally, Jackson can sleep peacefully.
You can hear the book read aloud on the author’s site here plus see Holly’s other books.
Awards for this book include: Mom’s Choice Award Gold Winner; Mississippi Magnolia Children’s Choice Award PreK-2 List, 2019; and Scholastic Book Club Selection.
See a variety of the illustrator’s work here and read about Guy here.

Posted in Award Winners, PB, So Many Good Books

Hammer and Nails

Perfect Picture Book Friday
HammerandNailsHammer and Nails (Flashlight Press, 2016) by Josh Bledsoe and illustrated by Jessica Warrick is a darling picture book. It’s especially perfect for Daddy’s with girls to read to their daughters.
Darcy has plans to play with her best friend, but now the friend is sick so Darcy’s day is ruined. Or so she thinks. Daddy suggests they have a Darcy-Daddy Day doing one thing from her list and one thing from his. She doesn’t think he’ll like what’s on her list, but he asks her to give him a chance.
Like Darcy, I think you’ll be smiling.
Click here to see some of the awards for this book.
The illustrations are cute, funny, and really add to the story. You can check out illustrator Jessica Warrick’s books here and her illustrations here.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an author website.