#MGwaves: Finding My Community

I won PitchWars 2020. No, I didn’t get picked by a mentor, but I found my community. Instead of gaining one author to mentor me through three months of revisions, I found thirty other middle grade writers on my wavelength to cheer me on, share resources, and swap critiques. This is our blog hop to introduce our group and some of our favorite writing resources, though not all group members have websites yet. I’m so grateful to Anushi Mehta for starting the first group chat, and to Jennifer Mattern for adding me to the group after we had connected in the PitchWars forum.

I’m Daria.

I’ve spent half my life in Germany and half split between five different US states, but can now usually be found somewhere outdoors in New Mexico: either on a horse, hiking with my husband and dogs, or eating ice cream. My stories are aimed at upper middle grade readers. I’m currently querying a high-concept novel about a fierce thirteen-year-old girl competing in a mountain endurance race, while revising my contemporary fantasy and letting an idea for a contemporary character based on my nerdy childhood percolate.

Favorite Advice or Resource

One of the benefits of our group is a shared resource list of our favorite craft books, articles, classes, podcasts, and more. Two of the resources that have helped me personally are:

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I have to say that I found the style of this book annoyingly arrogant, but the content was great. Skim the endless metaphors and reiterations of why his way is the only way to succeed, but do learn to use his four part structure. This is really something you want to study before drafting.

Sally Apokedak’s Udemy course on voice: This course is $20 and contains three hours of video plus other resources. It covers grammar, word choice, dialogue tags and action beats, plus much more. It’s great for writers early on in their journey and also a great class to review before line editing.

Other Waves

Please check out my wonderful friends’ posts to hear about them and their favorite resources (more links coming soon!):

Thushanthi Ponweera

Jennifer Mattern

Beth Gawlik

Susan Leigh Needham

Maureen Mirabito

T.C. Kemper

Sabrina Vienneau

Rebecca Chaney

Kathryn Faye

Malia Maunakea

Anushi Mehta

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