Showing posts from September, 2019

Major changes ahead

This past Friday I got some wonderful advice about my books, and the most important piece of that advice is this: my books really aren't middle grade fiction. While they share some elements with books that are written for the older end of the MG fiction age range, they are a better fit for the young adult category.

I didn't think I was writing YA fiction because I tend to think of YA as always edgy, dark, and pushing the envelope in terms of sexual and violent content along with some other adult elements. But there are writers today whose books are classified as "clean teen" or "clean YA," and that's where my books belong. I have older protagonists; I write complex, multi-layered plots (not always well, but I do write them); I do not avoid all serious topics or difficult situations. What I do avoid are just three things: actual swear words, explicit sex, and gory or gratuitous violence. These are the same three things most writers of clean YA also avoi…

On age categories for books

I'm still working on editing my current book series--the good news is I'm finally making progress.

I started wondering the other day: what age range should this series be for?

If you don't already know this, most US publishers consider Middle Grade Fiction (MG for short) to be suitable for kids ages 8 to 12. These books are, generally speaking, a little harder to read than the earliest "chapter books" for younger readers, but not yet as challenging as many books for young adults. But the content of the books is important, too: a book may be written simply enough for a younger reader, but if it contains content that is very edgy, dark, sexual, graphically violent, or disturbing it will be put in the Young Adult (ages 12 and up) category instead.

What's hard about some of this is that the lines often get blurred. There has been a push by many MG publishers to include more and more envelope-pushing content in books aimed at younger readers. At the same time, so…