Erin Entrada Kelly is not only an award-winning writer, she loves the word "peculiar," favors the color red slightly more than yellow, and has a dog name Marlowe the Gentleman Mutt. Her novel Hello, Universe received the 2018 Newbery Medal.
In contemporary novels Erin believes character is key, and those characters need to solve their own problems.
Erin urges writers not to be didactic. No one wants to be lecture to, no matter how old.
Writers should see the world through their character's eyes and not their own. Kids today are seeing the world through a different lens than you did.
A common pitfall: Not having enough conflict. You have to make things as difficult as possible for your characters.
Erin likes to know what her characters greatest fears are, usually 3 to 5. When you know what you character is afraid of, you often figure out what they want.
Pacing can also be problematic for writers. Erin says something needs to be happening, every sentences, every scene, from the beginning.