Alida and Kathryn welcome award-winning author Alina Sayre to discuss middle grade fantasy as part of our genre series. We cover lots of great topics from writing amazing prose to finding the voice of your protagonist to the fantasy canon we grew up on. A truly insightful conversation with lots of depth.






How does a writers philosophy of writing affect their voice? And how does the canon of literature you grew up on help you develop as a writer? What are the differences between middle grade and adult fantasy? And what is a middle grade reader looking for? Can you write to specific themes within a middle grade book? And how do you get those children to sound like children while still driving your story? Above all, it’s all about staying true to your own voice and who you are as a writer!

You can find Alina pretty much everywhere! Check her out at her website, or on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, or Google+.

What we talked about:

How does your philosophy toward writing play into your voice as a storyteller? (3:50)

How did the canon of literature you grew up on informed your development as a writer? (6:44)

How does older literature compare to newer literature in children’s fantasy? (8:17)

How important is getting right to the point? (10:07)

How does fantasy handle the themes and problems children may face? (14:03)

Do you write with specific issues in mind? (16:35)

How do you make sure your voice and characters act their age, but still have agency? (19:46)

How did you develop your protagonists voice and make it distinct? (24:12)

Be true to your own voice! (28:49)



Things we mentioned:

Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
Kate DiCamillo
C.S. Lewis 
Lewis Carroll 
Madeleine L’Engle 
Philip Pullman
J.K. Rowling
Suzanne Collins

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 8: Active Protagonists
Flash Tip: Frypan to the Fire

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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