Sunday, June 22, 2014
Today, I’m continuing the series, Writing a Middle Grade Novel.
Writing a middle grade novel is an exciting, tiring, uplifting, exasperating, and enormously satisfying activity. Stringing words together to tell a story can bog down by the middle of the manuscript. Most, maybe all, authors deal with this at some point in their writing. A strong plot with lots of tension prevents a sagging middle in a manuscript. The protagonist’s motivation must be clear. Why does s/he want to solve this problem? What is the character’s goal and motivation? What is preventing the character from reaching the goal?
To quote E. M. Forester, an English writer, who described the difference between story and plot.
The king died and the queen died. (A simple story that shows what happened.)
The king died and the queen died of grief. (A story with a plot that shows not only what happened but the effect of what happened. That’s a plot.)
Plot is a plan of action that moves the story from beginning to end. The plot must be age appropriate for the audience in children’s books. Also, it has to capture the interests of the readers so keeping the audience in mind when writing scenes is crucial. Readers in the 8-to-12 age range like plots with suspense, action, and humor. If you can combine all three, that’s even better. Family, fantasy, and realistic, contemporary stories are popular with middle grade readers.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Cicada, a magazine for readers ages 14 and up, publishes original fiction, poetry, first-person nonfiction, and comics by both adult and teen writers and artists. Cicada's on the lookout for the smartest, strangest, and most beautiful YA lit/art/comics around. Writers, artists, and comic artists of all ages: Visit the Cicada Submittable page to read our guidelines, create an account, and submit work!