Monday, July 30, 2012

What Makes a Good Middle Grade Book?

My new middle grade manuscript is moving right along. A couple blog posts ago I announced I was up to 8000 words. It is now at 16,783 words!

I know, I know that's not very many words. But for a person who writes picture books, it is a lot of words!

I've written the entire story. I am now editing and adding flesh to the bones
I have changed the names of two of the characters. I've made them more interesting.

My story has pets - a cat, a pregnant beagle and 4 puppies!

My main character is a boy. I've given him a habit or ritual that he does all the time. But, by the end of the story, he doesn't have to do it anymore.

The main character is imaginative, his friend is smart and he has a handicap.

I've added a short paragraph to the first page that will make the reader want to read more. I think that is very important, they need to want to read more! Something needs to draw them into the story.

I have added the month, date and year into the writing on the second page, so the reader knows when the story takes place. (It is a historical fiction)

Comment and let me know what you think.

What makes a good middle grade? What makes a middle grade book interesting for kids?

I am very anxious to finish. My goal is to get 20,000 words.
I know that is a little short for a middle grade, but I believe it is enough for my story.

posted by Janet F. Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch
©Janet F. Smart


  1. I like that you've made a list of what your story has and what you've changed about it so far. I've never tried that...

    The over-arching must-haves for middle grade, I think, are a story that hooks and a voice that goes along with that.

  2. I don't know anything about middle grade stories, but this sounds good to me.

  3. I think MGs respond to "stuff happening." Most editors and agents say that getting the MG voice right is essential and hard.

  4. Janet, I just admire you so much. Good luck on your middle grade book. It sounds exciting. I sure wish I could get myself moltivated enough to start writing again. You are an inspiration to all of us to get to writing.


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