21 episodes

A blog & podcast about writing middle grade and young adult literature.

All By My Shelf Jessica Tuckerman

    • Arts

A blog & podcast about writing middle grade and young adult literature.

    Fairy Tales

    Fairy Tales

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    Let's take a brief tour of fairy tale techniques, all of which can help any writer if given the chance:
    Intuitive logic: fairy tales don't conform to the rules of our world, but it does have rules. They will not be explained by insistence. Furniture will sing and dance. Paths will appear when you need them. Children can outsmart ancient witches. Disarticulated limbs will turn silver and you can sell them to save yourself later. Resist the urge to explain the logic and let your readers just accept what's happening. Remove transitions like "therefore" and "because."

    Flatness: In fairy tales, characters aren't deep, psychologically anyway. Snow White doesn't have depression or PTSD after getting hunted by her stepmother, Belle doesn't have a psychotic break after the candelabra and clock talks to her, and little red riding hood doesn't have a panic disorder after finding her grandmother had been eaten by a wolf. But they all had reactions. Now, there's nothing wrong with adding psychological depth to fairy tales (in fact, this is beneficial if you're going for a longer piece). But flat characters leave space to exceed limitations surrounding individuality, uniqueness, and self.

    Happy endings: J.R.R Tolkien once defended happy endings as a vital technique in literature, because joy can be as poignant as grief. Creating poetic joy in your prose is okay. A lot of fairy tales end with dark, terrible lessons, but you can let the sunset on a girl in a white dress smiling at the tide. Happy endings aren't bad.

    Fairy tales are some of the first stories we read and often the first kind we attempt to write.

    So now, go find an old fairy tale or myth and look for instances of intuitive logic, flatness, and happy endings in it.
    Then look at your own new stories and look for examples of explained logic, character depth, and tragedy. Remove efforts to explain logic, tighten character depth, but do not remove the tragedy. Instead, quickly add a unique and strangely blissful image afterward, your own Grimm gesture to emote through your setting.

    • 3 min
    Mind Mapping

    Mind Mapping

    Map out a set of characters for your piece so you can play with who your characters will meet, love, hate, rescue, or fight.

    • 3 min
    An Interview with Carly Heath

    An Interview with Carly Heath

    I'm joined today by Carly Heath, debut author of THE RECKLESS KIND. 


    A genre-defying debut, this queer historical YA centers a wild and reckless trio who fly in the face of small-town tradition—full of compassion, love, and determination to live the lives of their choosing.


    BUY THE RECKLESS KIND ON BOOKSHOP


    Become a member today and listen to the full interview (all 9 questions and 2 games), commercial-free. 


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    • 32 min
    Twisting Your Genre

    Twisting Your Genre

    Genre is hard to pin down these days. Are you telling a contemporary story or a romance? An adventure or a fantasy? Scifi, clifi, or horror?

    • 5 min
    An Interview with Halli Gomez

    An Interview with Halli Gomez

    CW: tics, suicidal ideation, self-harm.


    I'm joined today by Halli Gomez, award-winning author of THE LIST OF TEN. You can connect with Halli via her website: halligomez.com. 


    LIST OF TEN


    A harrowing yet hopeful account of a teen living with Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder . . . and contemplating his own mortality.

    Ten: three little letters, one ordinary number. No big deal, right? But for Troy Hayes, a 16-year-old suffering from Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the number ten dictates his life, forcing him to do everything by its exacting rhythm. Finally, fed up with the daily humiliation, loneliness, and physical pain he endures, Troy writes a list of ten things to do by the tenth anniversary of his diagnosis—culminating in suicide on the actual day. But the process of working his way through the list changes Troy’s life: he becomes friends with Khory, a smart, beautiful classmate who has her own troubled history. Khory unwittingly helps Troy cross off items on his list, moving him ever closer to his grand finale, even as she shows him that life may have more possibilities than he imagined. This is a dark, intense story, but it’s also realistic, hopeful, and deeply authentic.


    BUY IT ON BOOKSHOP.ORG


    Connect with me: Facebook . Twitter . Instagram
    Visit ABMS.BLOG


    Join The Writers’ Society
    Become a Member and Get Access to More (or follow me for free but get less)


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    • 9 min
    An Interview with Lisa Frenkel Riddiough

    An Interview with Lisa Frenkel Riddiough

    Want to listen to the whole interview? Become a member of All By My Shelf today at BuyMeACoffee.com/jmtuckerman to listen to Lisa Riddiough play games, answer questions about her favorite books, and talk about her writing habits.


    Buy ELVIS AND THE WORLD AS IT STANDS

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    • 12 min

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