Writing makes it all better, believe me.

Writing a novel for young readers can feel like a juggling act. But even if you manage to keep the balls of plot, character, pace and setting in the air, your hard work will be undermined unless you learn to sweat the details.

The little things–the slang your characters use, the clothes they wear, the items they abandon on the bathroom floor–must be chosen with knowledge and care. If they aren’t, you risk getting a guffaw when a groan is what you’re after.

Sassy or Scary?

Of course telling details are important to all fiction. Think of the way Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot primps his “magnificent moustache” or how Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat craves rock ‘n roll. These peculiarities make the characters who possess them as real as the eccentric woman who lives next door. Details chosen with care whisper secrets about a character, inform on her weaknesses, herald her strengths.

Unfortunately, picking revealing details