Thursday, October 23, 2014

YA or Middle Grade? Which is right for me?

Although I haven't yet published any of my fiction, I have 2 short stories (novellas, really) written, and a young adult, speculative fiction novel written and waiting in the wings for me to finally finish editing and get out into the world.

I love the writing part...not sure how hip I am to the revising part of the gig. They'll get done soon, though. I need to do some goal setting for those, so they can get out into the world and into the hands of actual readers.

I've been thinking hard about where to go with my next story. So far, all of my fiction has been geared more towards YA, but I'm also toying with creating a Middle Grade series.

What's the difference, you ask?

Young Adult literature focuses more on young adult characters between the ages of 15 - 18 (not in college). See, it's not just a clever name. With that age range comes a more mature set of themes. Some cussing, allusion to sex, violence, gruesome death seems to be part of many YA novels, though it doesn't necessarily have to be. There are plenty of YA books without that stuff, too. It's all about the audience that you're reaching for...though, I know a lot of grown adults that still read YA, your truly included.

Middle Grade books have characters roughly between the ages of 10 - 15, and though there can be deep, mature themes, the content of the book doesn't usually have cussing, sex, or gruesome violence. The books are usually aimed at an audience between grades 3-6, though some middle grade books do very well with other kids (and adults) as well. The first Harry Potter book comes to mind, as one that was written for middle grade readers, and found a much larger market.

So, I have a series in mind that could go either way, with YA or Middle Grade, and I'm debating where to take it.

If it goes the YA route, I'll be able to make more complex relationships, and add romance to the mix. Romance is not so big in Middle Grades.

But, if I keep it as a Middle Grade, then I can focus less on romance, and more on the action and plotting, which is my strong point.

Perhaps I'll get this all sorted out, and get an outline together just in time for NaNoWriMo. I'm going to try to stick with it this year, and get something done to 50,000 words. That may just be perfect for a Middle Grade novel.

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