WHAT IS MIDDLE GRADE LITERATURE?
- Middle grade fiction is not written for middle school kids despite sounding like it ought to be. Middle grade is actually aimed at eight- to twelve-year olds, which sometimes bleeds over into seven to thirteen.
- Your protagonist can’t be older than your readers.
- You can include romance, but only a little.
- Provide smaller solvable problems and solve them. Fun to include personal dilemmas and little mysteries, confidence builders.
- Middle grade word count ranges from 20,000 to 55,000 words, with more allowance given to fantasy novels that require world building. Some publishers specify 20,000 to 40,000. A debut MG author should aim for 35k.
- No swearing or graphic violence
- If the story is dark is will still have a happy ending
– From selected sources.
THE HISTORY OF MIDDLE GRADE LITERATURE
Previous generations of works that have targeted this age range tended merely to be a continuation of the early reader genre – somewhat bland, Disneyfied works that reinforced the ideas of children as lesser beings, needing protection from scary thoughts and ideas and, by extension, who are considered unable or incapable of delving deeper into their text.
THE FUNCTIONS OF MIDDLE GRADE LITERATURE
- Explore complex situations and characters from the inside
- Talking and writing about personal and other familiar experiences
- Raises questions about the imaginary world and its people
- Discovering new connections between the imaginary and real world, and discussing what human experience is like
writing for a middle grade audience isn’t all that different from writing for adults. Minus the sex and taboo language, obv.
– from Peter Lerangis