Monday my SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) met at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza for a writers’ field trip. It was a change of pace from where we usually meet, and it was probably one of the most effective gatherings for me.
As you may know, I’m finalizing my next book called The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer’s Eggs. Carol Coogan who designed my book, What Makes Them Amazing: The Inspiring Stories of Young Adults Fighting Cancer, is currently working on the cover. I have been calling it a middle grade novel, but wanted to make sure that I had it right. Some advice was that it was based on the age of the characters, or the word count, subject matter, or level of reading.
According to an article I found on writingrhymeandmeter.com: “Middle Grade Books are written for kids approximately 8-12. The language has to be modified to complement their lexile ranges, but it is not acceptable to write in a way that is pedantic. Themes should be relevant: adventure is essential, parents are generally absent, romance is light if present, happy endings are the norm, and the protagonist is always in the age range of the readers or slightly older.”
In my book, Luke and Mark are 11 and entering 7th grade, which Peter and Rose are 9 and going into 5th grade. Time travel through a puzzle is definitely adventurous, parents aren’t usually around to keep them from getting into trouble, just a smidgen of romantic interest, and although the ending isn’t what may be expected, it’s hopeful.
According to a blog post by Writers Digest, a middle grade novel word count is between 20,000-55,000 words. Mine is just over 50,000, so I think Middle Grade is the right category for this book.
Understanding where my book will fit on the shelves of bookstores is essential to marketing it and getting booksellers to purchase it. I believe I’m in the right spot and look forward to sharing it soon.
Next step? Finding a printer.