5 Steps for Using Setting to Write Compelling Middle-Grade Narrative Fiction

Middle-grade protagonists and readers have minds hungry to define their worlds. It’s the work of this age group, after all, before they grow into young adults with the angst of determining how they fit, or do not, into the worlds they’ve defined. For this reason, setting is vital to the middle-grade narrative.

(Why We Should Read Middle Grade Fiction as Adults)

I live in Vail, Colorado, where our inclined Rocky Mountain setting is obvious. Many people live or travel here to ski, snowboard, hike, bike, raft, hunt, kayak, Jeep, camp—to interact or recreate with nature. The surrounding peaks’ zig-zag horizons and seasons set the pulse of our lives, so my latest middle-grade novel, The River Between Hearts, beats to this rhythm. The novel’s opening paragraph reads:

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