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James Dashner quotes
Don't ever let the other stuff get in the way of your inherent skills as a kick-butt storyteller. Move the reader, make them happy and sad and excited and scared. Make them stare into space after they've put the book down, thinking about the tale that's become a part of them.
I really love middle-grade. Middle-grade books have a little more of a magical, light-hearted feel. You can be a little bit more quirky, you can have a little more humor. It doesn't get so dark and deep.