As a primarily MG writer, I come across some interesting conversations about what makes a middle grade novel really stand out. Of course, there’s no magic formula, but writers, librarians, and teachers of this dynamic age group might enjoy some of the following links:
HarperCollins children’s book editor Molly O’Neill and Dystel & Goderich literary agent Michael Bourret have started an online conversation about middle grade novels, covering topics (so far) like:
- what exactly is the middle grade novel and how does it compare to young adult in content?
- what do middle grade readers look for in their books?
- what are common problems encountered while writing the MG novel?
- how to market to MG readers, and how does this differ for young adults?
- male vs. female protagonists – is one more likely to succeed?
- how are MG books incorporated into the classroom?
Agent Kristin Nelson is also running a cool video series, with a great introduction to middle grade covering the basics of defining the different age levels in middle grade books.
Finally, if you are a middle grade writer (or looking to become one), I cannot stress enough how awesome the #mglitchat hashtag on Twitter is. Sign yourself up and join an amazing group of generous writers, every Thursday at 9pm EST, where we discuss a variety of topics to strengthen your writing. The kidlit community in general is a wonderful place, so don’t hesitate to make some friends and connections!
* No, pancakes are not technically a requirement of middle grade writing, although they do help.