Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Back to School for Writers

Now that the kids have gone back to school, why don’t you? If you find yourself filled with ideas for children’s books and would love to write picture books, middle grade or young adult novels – what’s holding you back? Do you have a manuscript in the works, but you’re not sure if you’re helping […]

Reader Resonance

The middle grade and YA sections of your local bookstore and/or library these days are teeming with genres, styles and subject matters for teens and ‘tweens to explore.  Some offer up fantastical and imaginative worlds, others deal with gritty topical issues – and there’s a vast range in between. But no matter what genre or […]

To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

Many middle grade and YA authors debate whether or not to include a prologue when beginning their manuscripts. Prologues are sections of story that precede the first chapter, similar to an introduction, but their sequencing in relationship to the following chapter(s) is not necessarily chronological. Often structured as a flash forward or flash back, a […]

Is it a Chapter Book or Middle Grade?

What’s the difference between a middle grade novel and a chapter book? The lines can often seem blurry – but the truth is that each is a unique format in children’s publishing. The table below clarifies the essential but often subtle differences between the two:   MIDDLE GRADE CHAPTER BOOKS AUDIENCE Reader is usually between […]

Is it YA or Middle Grade?

Many aspiring children’s book authors are confused about the difference between young adult (YA) and middle grade novels.  Aren’t all teens and pre-teens young adults?  But within the industry, middle grade and YA are two totally separate genres, and it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two, to know where your manuscript fits […]

Secondary Characters

Whether your manuscript is a picture book or novel, it can be tempting to create a wide variety of supporting characters to help tell your story.  But too many characters can be hard for young readers to keep track of, and can dilute the focus.  So how do you decide which secondary characters to keep? […]

Beginnings

What does it take to draw in today’s young reader and persuade them to keep reading? Last week, in the children’s lit class I’m teaching at Stony Brook Southampton, we looked closely at the beginnings of middle grade and YA novels.  I made a list of important elements for my grad students… but I’d love to hear […]