Tweens Read August Day 11: Lauren Magaziner & Pilfer Academy

Tweens Read August is a 14 day event taking place for the first two weeks of August. I’ll be hosting authors, regardless of debut year, whose books I’m the most excited for. Each day, I’ll announce who the next author is at the end of the post. There’s also a giveaway going on, so be sure to check that out!

It’s the eleventh day of Tweens Read August, and today Lauren Magaziner is sharing top ten tips for all the writers out there! She’s the author of Pilfer Academy, which came out on February 16th, 2016.

Here’s a little bit about it:

pilfer academy by lauren magaziner

Series: Bounders #1

Release Date: February 16th, 2016

Add to Goodreads

Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for cultivating young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. The teachers are kooky at best, and naughty does not even begin to describe his sneaky, smart, and morally bankrupt new classmates. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George comes to a shocking realization: He is just too good-hearted to be a thief!

Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy, and “misbehaving” students face Dean Deanbuggle’s favorite punishment—the Whirlyblerg! In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.

Description taken from Goodreads.

Top Ten Tips for Breaking Writer’s Block

Have you ever opened a word doc and felt like your brain was in a vat of glue? Have you ever wanted to shout AUGH! when looking at your current work in progress? Have you ever felt like you had no idea what to write or how to write it or why you ever thought about writing something in the first place?

If you answered YES, then it appears you have had writer’s block!

Here’s a not-so- secret secret: me too.

So without further ado…

10. Take a break. (Run away with us for the summer! Let’s go upstate!) Hamilton lyrics aside, sometimes taking a breather from your writing can allow you to come back to it with fresh eyes and a more relaxed brain. So, go take a walk! Go people watch in a crowded place! Go refill your creative well with books and TV and movies and music!

9. Retrace your steps. Sometimes I find that getting stuck is a warning sign that I made a misstep a few chapters earlier. When I turn back to an earlier chapter, I look for anything that could be tripping me up later on. And, like a puppet master, I play with the strings of my manuscript, searching for places where I can increase stakes and tension.

8. Force yourself to write anyway. Sit in front of the blank page and “free write.” Meaning: write whatever comes into your head, whether or not it is relevant to your story. Sometimes just getting words on the page will start your flow and open you up to new ideas.

7. When that doesn’t work, bang your head against a keyboard until you make words.

6. Hang upside-down from the ceiling like a bat to dislodge any ideas that got stuck in your cranial cavity. If you turn red, you’re nearly there. If you turn purple, a EUREKA! moment is sure to follow*

*results not 100% guaranteed

5. Give in to the writer’s block. It will make you feel inadequate as a writer, so of course, the only natural thing to do to become a real writer is to devote your all to playing the role of An Author. You sever relationships with friends and family, move out into the mountains, live off of the wild Earth and berries, and become a hermit in a cave. You will write hundreds of amazing novels in your isolation, albeit all of them might be the same sentence written over and over again: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

4. Stab a book with a basilisk fang until it bleeds ink. Sacrificing books to the Goddesses of Muse will cause them to smile upon you, thus blessing you with words.

3. Pilfer someone else’s idea. (I actually don’t know if I recommend this… but as the author of a book about a school for thieves, I’m contractually obligated to say it.)

2. Open Pokemon Go and catch a new idea with a Pokéball.

1. Hunt down inspiration. Akin to catching ideas with Pokéballs, but not quite…

Many authors say that inspiration is irrelevant because writing is a job; writers must do that job, whether or not they feel inspired. That’s both true and untrue. True in the sense that some days, writing is easier than other days, and when you have a job to do, yes, you must do it. Even on the tough days. Untrue in that: if you are having a truly miserable writing experience, it will show. If you feel like you’re slogging while writing, it will read like a slog. Because inspiration—that wily creature—is heart of your story. And if you’re stuck or listless, then it may mean you need to remember what that heart is. Why are you writing this story? What does it mean to you? At its core, what is this story about? Why are you the writer to write it? Remembering WHY you write—and why you write this story in particular—will bring joy and momentum again.

When you rediscover the heart of your story, you’ll unearth passion again. Patience you must have, my young padawan. The words will come.

About the Author

lauren magaziner

Lauren Magaziner is the author of humorous middle grade books: Pilfer Academy (2016), The Only Thing Worse Than Witches (2014), and the upcoming Wizardmatch (2017). She is a proud graduate of Hamilton College and spent two years working in the magazine world (a serendipitous job considering her last name). Lauren is originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, though she currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes full-time.


Thanks to Lauren for taking part in Tweens Read August! I know how hard writing block can be, and these tips can be really helpful for breaking back into your story. This book sounds great, and I’m interested to see the different aspects to it. Make sure to add Pilfer Academy to Goodreads, and follow Lauren’s other amazing reads! The author being featured tomorrow is Robin Yardi.


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