After some prodding for more reading material *Ahem Mary**Cough Cough** I've decided to try to update more frequently. Perhaps once a week? But I'd also love to know what kind of topics interest you all the most?
Anyways, lately I've been reading a lot of great MG manuscripts and I felt that perhaps a few "what makes MG middle grade" tidbits would be worth reading. Obviously, these are just my opinions I've formed after reading some MG manuscripts for an agent.
1. Word count doesn't seem to matter very much as long as it doesn't top 60k. Just about every MG manuscript I've read has been less than 60k. Hell, I just read one in verse that was 12k, yet its target audience was Upper Middle grade. Focus on writing a great story. Worry about word count later...though I'd say for this genre--short is best.
2. Shorter manuscripts actually make, at least my self and the agent I read for, a bit happier...only because when having 5 or 6 manuscripts on your plate a short one seems refreshing. Also, from blogs I've read, it makes an agent more likely to request it.
3.MG is NOT writing about one's childhood with an adult's wisdom and perspective already in place, in fact any novel who's protagonist is a child, yet the story is told from the perspective of an adult looking back is in fact an ADULT novel.
4. Upper MG readers are at the point in their lives when they are pushing away from Mommy and Daddy. Trying to find the individual lurking beneath the surface. They do NOT like being talked down to. Protagonists mirror this want to be an individual and break free. This is the age where Mom and Dad are nothing but embarrassing...so interlaced words within the story that try to teach a child a lesson will MAKE them put the book down. Let's face it, it sounds preachy.
5. Hard and fast rule for both MG and YA NEVER talk down to the reader. They are much smarter than adults give them credit for.