5 Take-Aways from a Middle-Grade Series Writer

Weird Stories Gone Wrong Blog

5 Take-Aways from a Middle-Grade Series Writer

Posted on October 31 by Philippa Dowding in Kids, Recent Releases
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

It seems like a few months ago I began writing the Weird Stories Gone Wrong middle-grade series, but here I am five years later introducing Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet, the sixth and final book!


In a moment of quiet (quiet) reflection, here are my top 5 take-aways from the experience:


1. What’s my favourite book in the series?

My favourite changes every time someone asks me, it’s like asking me to choose my favourite child (I have two). But this is true: I have a soft spot for Myles and the Monster Outside, since it received award nominations that allowed me to meet young readers across the country.

2. Did I know I was going to write six books when I started out?

No! When I pitched the series to my publisher, I had a rough draft for the first book, Jake and the Giant Hand (2014) and an outline for book two, Myles and the Monster Outside (2015), but beyond that was just murk and possibility.

3. What’s my favourite memory from the series?

I will never forget standing on stage with series illustrator Shawna Daigle, at Harbourfront at the OLA Festival of Trees celebration in Toronto. Myles and the Monster Outside was an OLA Silver Birch Express nominee that year (2017), and it was such an honour to share the moment with Shawna, and speak to the crowd of 4,000 cheering kids together. I don’t think it can get much better than that for a writer and an illustrator.

4. My advice for anyone writing a series?

Write it your way from the start, however weird, different or strange it may seem at first (hey, I wrote the first book about a giant’s hand buried in a farmer’s field, if that isn’t weird, what is?). Your series template is your personal calling card, your style, your vision. Make it memorable and unforgettably yours from the first word to the last.

5. When do you end a series?

You end it when it’s time, but preferably while the series is still popular. And yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to something you’ve spent so much time creating and enjoying, but it’s also a bit of a relief to move on to new writing projects you’ve been itching to start. It’s a lot like changing jobs; you loved the old one, but it’s time for something new.


Finally, a thousand thanks to Dundurn Press, my amazing illustrator Shawna Daigle, and to my readers and supporters along the way, it’s been an honour, and so much fun.


Philippa Dowding, October 2019



Philippa Dowding

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Philippa Dowding photo

Philippa Dowding

Philippa Dowding is an award-winning children’s author, a poet, musician and a copywriter. Her many literary nominations include the Silver Birch Express, Red Cedar, and Red Maple awards. She lives in Toronto.