Questions tagged [middle-grade]

This tag should be used for questions about writing intended for readers between 8 and 12 years old. For readers between 12 and 18 years old use [young-adult]. For readers under 8 use [children]. For questions about characters, use [child-characters]. For questions about children or teens who are writers, use [young-author].

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24
votes
15answers
8k views

Should I add racism in my book's world or have my world have no racism?

I've been writing a children's novel inspired by action cartoons, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, paganism/Wicca, mythology and Harry Potter. It's a very dark children's book I'll admit, but Harry ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How to write cleanly even if my character uses expletive language?

I'm writing a story that I'd like younger readers to pick up. I and they know and understand that some situations are far better expressed with one f-word than a thousand milder ones. I'm keeping my ...
21
votes
7answers
5k views

Showing mass murder in a kid's book

Galastel did a spin off question based on one of mine. Mortal danger in mid-grade literature. And hers has spurred a new one for me. This is an issue I've been grappling with for a while and I still ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

A children's book that takes 25 minutes to read out loud - is it too long?

I've written a 3rd grade level (8-9 years old) children's book that takes about 25 minutes to read out loud. I read it to a 3rd grade class, with a few posters for illustrations, and it actually ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

Mortal danger in mid-grade literature

In a comment to my post here, Cyn mentions wishing to avoid implying that the characters might all die, because she's writing for a mid-grade audience. Which made me wonder. I remember reading The ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

What language shall they sing in?

I'm writing a middle-grade novel in English. I have time-traveling kids from 1995 America who go to Ancient Egypt to join the Exodus. None of the kids speak anything but English (aside from a few ...
12
votes
6answers
532 views

Is it better to avoid names with a difficult pronunciation in Middle Grade fiction?

Many languages are written using Latin letters, but often these seemingly familiar letters aren't pronounced in the way that we are used to. For example, an English speaker might read the name ...
10
votes
10answers
3k views

Very long sentences: personal style or just bad writing?

I'm writing a story targeted towards children in which the protagonist is a young girl. I find that in writing her dialog and the narrative, I'm producing a lot of very long sentences, to the point ...
8
votes
4answers
588 views

Incorporating research and background: How much is too much?

The amount of research I'm doing for my novel is staggering. To the point where my spouse says I need to write a companion book (or a blog) just talking about the research! Sometimes I research for ...
8
votes
3answers
388 views

Naming things the POV character doesn't know

My middle-grade novel is third person with one primary and one secondary viewpoint character. Sometimes the narrator hovers a bit more, sometimes the narrator is more in the character's head. The ...
7
votes
3answers
261 views

How to get my characters' emotions out of the way so I can get on with the plot?

Setup: 18 kids (ages 2-14) from 1995 America time travel to Ancient Egypt just before the Exodus. The MC knew this would happen (or thought she knew) and told people, but no one believed her. Now ...
7
votes
2answers
471 views

What are some clear differences in theme/story between children's, middle grade, and young adult fantasy?

At the moment I'm trying to write a fantasy novel, and I think it's leaning more towards middle grade rather than children's or young adult fantasy, but I'd like to know if there are any particular ...
6
votes
2answers
191 views

How to engage a child audience when my characters have no language?

Good afternoon all, I find myself in a predicament: I'm writing for 8-10 year-olds who, as I understand it, are very dependent upon dialogue to keep the story engaging. Unfortunately the protagonist ...
6
votes
2answers
158 views

Crossing the line from Middle-Grade to Young-Adult

I would like to followup on this excellent question which outlined differences among works for children, middle-grade, and young-adult. What are some clear differences in theme/story between children&...
6
votes
5answers
308 views

Foreign language dialogue in Middle Grade fiction

I have written the first draft of a Middle Grade detective adventure in the vein of Enid Blyton's Famous Five or Astrid Lindgren's Bill Bergson. In my novel, the protagonist, a boy from England, is on ...
6
votes
3answers
105 views

Is it okay for the final chapter to be a lot longer than all the other chapters?

In one of my novels (it's a middle grade fantasy novel) the chapters average around 2,000 words. But the final climactic chapter is currently almost 7,000 words. I am considering splitting it into two ...
5
votes
6answers
342 views

Early investment in a character who “learns better”

I'm looking for ways to build early reader investment in an unlikable character who "learns better," but not until fairly late in the book. In particular, I'm writing a first-person middle-grade ...
4
votes
2answers
263 views

Should I use different pen names for different audiences (non-fiction)?

I am working on three separate works for three different audiences. All are non-fiction. One is for children ages eight to twelve, another is for teens ages fourteen to twenty, and the third is for ...
4
votes
1answer
287 views

Is there a test for cliches in plot?

I know there are already questions about cliched phrases, but are there resources to help identify plot and characters that are cliches? I found some (like this), but they weren't very helpful for ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Is there a market for all-ages novels?

Historically, books and movies didn't always have a specific target age. While some material was just for adults, a lot of what we think of now as being for kids or teens had a more general market. ...
3
votes
3answers
436 views

Is an Introduction and a Prologue good or bad, especially in middle grade fiction?

Is it bad to use an Introduction and/or a Prologue in Middle Grade Fiction? I have a lot of information that is useful, but the information in dialogue will sound fake and way too much info-dump like....
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Is Masterclass worth it for a middle-grade author?

I already read Larry Brooks' very useful book "Story Engineering", and Mary Kole's Writing Irresistible Kidlit. Now I have finished and revised my first middle-grade (MG) novel a few times. Before ...