Here's one of my biggest writing tips, and it's a simple one that's been said before (and better): If you want to be a writer READ. And I'd add to that read in the genres you're writing in, each book is a great lesson on writing, plus it's fun!
That having been said, here's my review of The King's Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello:
This is a fast, enjoyable read that I believe any middle grade boy would be enthralled with, and girls too. Set in the fantasy world of King Arthur, the story follows 12-year-old Gavin and his friends on their individual quests to save their friend, the Wild Man. The story also is accurate as to the medieval time period in many respects. I was most impressed by the complexity of the emotional world of the main characters, their character and story arc were surprising but rang true and satisfying. The author did an excellent job of portraying rich and varied people in a rich and varied culture. Only one small thing bumped me as a reader, I do not think that one of the surprises at the ending was well enough foreshadowed. But overall, I'm looking forward to reading this author again--and I'm an adult.
What did I learn from reading The King's Ransom? That a story can be complex and satisfactory for an adult and still be appealing to a younger audience, too. As long as we care about the characters, we care about the story. Something to remember, IMO characters come first and foremost.And in my writing, I start with characters and go from there.
Readers, what do you think? Are there, as I believe, only "character driven" novels out there now? Or?