I have always wanted to write Middle Grade. A valid question would be why? Am I lazy? Am I too untalented and limited to write YA or adult fiction (New Adult is not a thing – It’s NOT a thing!!!)
Well I’m glad you asked – the Privateer is always willing to answer. He also refers to himself in the third person. And in this post I’m going to explain why I think MG is the most powerful form of writing there is and why it is consistently underrated are dismissed as “kids stuff.”
Should Togepi be dismissed because he is a MG pokemon!! No!
It’s easy to see why MG would be dismissed in this way, by its very definition it’s written for children. But what does that even mean? If something is written for children, does that mean it cannot share the complexity, the depth, the emotional connection of adult writing? That it should be relegated to nonsensical, poorly plotted and full of gimmicks? Sadly, many people believe it does, but I am not one of those people.
It would be an entire post to discuss the differences between MG and adult writing, and don’t get me wrong I enjoy adult prose. The real difference is that whilst adult writing is often very tangential, flow-of-thought and not really getting to the point – MG gets directly to the point. This has something to do with its audience, but also this is what makes it exciting. Whilst adult books are often very character driven, MG is pretty much all plot driven. Are these only differences? Probably not, but they’re the main ones as I see it.
All of the characteristics of adult writing that makes it great should also be present in MG. The story should make sense, there shouldn’t be plot-holes or “oh they just happened to stumble across a magic sword” or any of that. It does a disservice to the genre and unfortunately it is all too common. The story should have emotional gravitas, and should never shy away from these things. After all children will one day be adults, I don’t think they should be sheltered or lied to (though maybe I’ll feel differently when I have children of my own). They should learn and understand and reason. People are always underestimating a child’s capacity to reason and understand.
And to be honest, readers, young or old, they know it too. It is what elevated a good “yarn” to a story with a true integrity. It is what will make your story stand the test of time, but probably more importantly, it is what will make it sell.
You know there’s a reason why Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomenon and Percy Jackson, for all its greatness, is not (Don’t hate though I have read all loved all of both series). Something to think about huh?
So if you’re reading this and you’re thinking “it’s so easy to write MG, anyone can do it” ask yourself these questions about your novel or WIP (work in progress)
Does the story happen for a reason, or is just an excuse for an adventure?
Are the characters realistic? Are the good, bad, hurt, jealous, wise, brave and everything in between? Or are they all Good, Bad, Jokey etc?
Are motives clear? Does your antagonist want to destroy the world because he is Evil or is his reason justifiable? Would you do the same thing in his shoes?
Does the plot make sense, or do things happen because it’s convenient? Is your magic/science defined or is just a cure-all for all plot twists?
Is there a Deus Ex Machina?
Do you know what Deus Ex Machina means?
Happy hunting, privateers