It's homework! I promise!

It's been two weeks since Agent Jim sent his revision notes for my MG novel, but I still find myself mulling over some of his suggestions.

How do I beef up the character arcs?

How do I enrichen some of the worldbuilding, especially since my world takes place in outer space?

And how do I make my protagonist, Danny, more reflective?

Thinking...thinking...grabs chocolate...thinking...eyes bottle of cooking wine in the fridge...back to thinking...

Whenever I get stuck in my revisions, I flip through some of my favorite middle grade novels to learn how other writers get things done. Oftentimes, I find myself reaching for the same books over and over again.

Right now, I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because, well, I simply love this novel. It's actually the first HP novel that I read and I fell in love with it from its first page.

The reason I always reach for this book is pretty simple: J.K. Rowling does a superb job of entwining meaty character arcs with vivid worldbuilding and with a fast-paced plot. The magic formula! Now I just have to figure out a way to infuse my own novel with this...

I completely disagree with most of Mr. Card's political views, but I must admit that Ender's Game is one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read. And the book's ending... Oh my goodness. It's such a haunting and hopeful and surprising ending. I just love it!

When I re-read Ender's Game, I try to focus on how Card reveals Ender's character arc because he does such a wonderful job of making Ender feel real. Oh, and I also love reading the battle scenes. My novel has a lot of intergalactic space fights and it's fun to see how other writers tackle this.

So what about you guys? What sort of books do you read to inspire your own novels? What sort of books do you re-read just because you love them so much?