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Thread: All Things Middle Grade

  1. #1926
    Odessa Quinn Laura J's Avatar
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    I'm working on a MG faery book and letting the first draft of my very first novel rest a while before I start revisions. The first chapter of each is in SYW.

    Ghost writing, that sounds interesting. Do you like it?

    My son would love a history/mystery/magic book.
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    The Faery Thief~ MG rewriting, editing and revising

    The Charisma Chronicles first draft

    The Thread-YA

  2. #1927
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoyMC View Post
    It seems like it's been a while since we had a round of What's Everyone Working On? (Right? Or did I miss it?)

    I always find this interesting.

    I'm working on revisions of a middle grade novel that's mostly adventure, with a touch of history & mystery and a smidge of magic. (That's a genre, right?) I'm hoping to be query-ready around the beginning of April, but we'll see.

    I'm also working on my goofy ghostwriting gig, pounding out 1000 words/day of totally wacky, talking-animal middle grade fiction. I'm having fun, even if it's something I'd never write on my own. Maybe because it's something I'd never write on my own.

    So ... what are you working on?
    Your ghostwriting gig sounds fun!

    I've been lurking around the Kids forum for a while, so I'm going to take this opportunity to say hi. I just finished the first draft of a YA light SF romance-type thing last week, so I pulled out a MG fantasy adventure that I worked on last summer. At the time, I was too close to it to make any progress. I'm hoping I've gained some distance and perspective so maybe I can revise.

  3. #1928
    Reads more than she writes. AW Moderator Smish's Avatar
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    Glad you came out of Lurkdom, wampuscat.

    I'm working on a contemporary MG novel. Sort of. Very slowly.
    Revision is where you earn your money - and if you haven't made any money yet, revision is where you pay your dues. Sara Zarr

  4. #1929
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    I just finished the first act of my WIP, which is a contemporary mystery/thriller, about a 9th grade boy who learns his grandfather had been a spy decades before. The boy and his female friend try to figure out who killed the grandfather but find themselves hunted by federal agents. They team up with the grandfather's long-retired protege and ultimately travel to Washington, DC to unravel the conspiracy, which appears to involve a congressman who is a leading presidential candidate.

    WIP: The Unit Moving Target, a contemporary MG mystery/thriller.



  5. #1930
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    hello again, wampuscat. (I love that name)

    I'm still not finished with my foster kid story - it's ridiculous how I keep procrastinating. It's almost like I don't want to finish it, because that way I don't have to admit that it sucks, or something. I need someone to kick me in the butt or something, I guess, so that I'll make myself finish it.

    Oh, and I'm finally editing. I haven't decided if I like editing yet or not. usually I edit as I go, so this is kind of new territory for me.

  6. #1931
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    I'm working on a rewrite of my MG novel for an agent. I'm experimenting with telling the story from two characters' pov, one boy, one girl, alternating chapters. The original was all girl pov.

    It's interesting work, and I'm not sure where it's headed. I still absolutely love the original version, and am waiting to fall equally in love with this revision as I work. In order for that to happen, I really need to find the boy's voice. The girl was easy, but the boy is a challenge. Not least because the girl is so wonderfully verbal and fabulously snarky. A boy just can't say the stuff that a girl says, or make the same observations. When I rewrite a chapter from his pov, it is often less than half the word count!

    I'd love recommendations of older MG, or YA, boy protagonist contemporary fiction to read. I have the plot, I have the character. Now I just need to find a stronger voice to tell the same story from boy perspective, in boy language. I feel like I get it, then lose it, then get it again, then lose it. This is far harder than writing the book in the first place!

  7. #1932
    practical experience, FTW MsJudy's Avatar
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    Britwriter, that's interesting. first time I've heard of an agent asking for alternating POVs--usually I've heard the opposite, Drop the extra POV and stick with a single character.

    I'm working on my gothic victorian fantasy--think Jane Eyre with magic. Young maid who isn't quite human has to break the family curse and prevent a murder. Tommyknockers are involved.

    I'm averaging 3K a week, which is sort of amazing considering I work full time and have kids. Fingers crossed that this time the plot is compelling enough, 'cause I have several agents who've asked to see my next book... Knowing they're waiting has certainly been a great motivator to sit down and write!
    represented by Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Most happy.

  8. #1933
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    Quote Originally Posted by Britwriter View Post
    I'd love recommendations of older MG, or YA, boy protagonist contemporary fiction to read. I have the plot, I have the character. Now I just need to find a stronger voice to tell the same story from boy perspective, in boy language. I feel like I get it, then lose it, then get it again, then lose it. This is far harder than writing the book in the first place!
    The Lemonade War comes to mind - it's alternating boy + girl middle grade contemporary. I know a lot of people around here are big fans of Jerry Spinelli and Andrew Clements, who both do a lot of boy contemporary. John Green does amazing YA boy-contemporary.

  9. #1934
    practical experience, FTW SheilaJG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Britwriter View Post
    I'd love recommendations of older MG, or YA, boy protagonist contemporary fiction to read. I have the plot, I have the character. Now I just need to find a stronger voice to tell the same story from boy perspective, in boy language. I feel like I get it, then lose it, then get it again, then lose it. This is far harder than writing the book in the first place!
    Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is told in first person boy POV.

    Judy, that sounds very intriguing. I'm in a reading phase right now, not writing much. Your 3k a week makes me feel like such a slacker!

    I have an idea for a new story - well, I have a character and a problem, but I don't know where I should plop her down. I can't figure if it's historical, or speculative, or fantasy. It's funny, because I usually get my settings first. I have that movie announcer voice in my head all the time - "in a world where . . . "
    something

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  10. #1935
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoyMC View Post
    The Lemonade War comes to mind - it's alternating boy + girl middle grade contemporary. I know a lot of people around here are big fans of Jerry Spinelli and Andrew Clements, who both do a lot of boy contemporary. John Green does amazing YA boy-contemporary.
    Thank you! I need to immerse myself in reading boy contemporary for a while.

    It is definitely true that I am learning more as a writer from this rewriting than from writing the original. I'm really not sure where this is heading, but it's a great challenge.

    I'm also realizing that I need to immerse myself in reworking the boy chapters and not switch from one to the other. The moment I start thinking girl, I lose the boy voice. I need to leave the girl chapters alone for a while, then come back to them later.

    Off to amazon now to download some books - thanks so much for the recommendations.

  11. #1936
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoyMC View Post
    The Lemonade War comes to mind - it's alternating boy + girl middle grade contemporary. I know a lot of people around here are big fans of Jerry Spinelli and Andrew Clements, who both do a lot of boy contemporary. John Green does amazing YA boy-contemporary.
    I'm totally a Jerry Spinelli fangirl. Many of Gennifer Choldenko's books have boy protags. Also check out Louis Sachar's books, as well as Carl Hiaasen's books.
    Revision is where you earn your money - and if you haven't made any money yet, revision is where you pay your dues. Sara Zarr

  12. #1937
    i luv you giant bear statue AW Moderator Kitty Pryde's Avatar
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    I'm still working on my NaNoWriMo 2011 fantasy novel, about a boy and a girl and their magical squid running away from pirates across the multiverse, trying to return themselves to their respective universes. I've not been writing as much as I like, but today I worked on it a while.

  13. #1938
    careful...you'll end up in my novel RuthD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsJudy View Post

    I'm working on my gothic victorian fantasy--think Jane Eyre with magic.
    That sounds fun! I've totally been on a Bronte kick lately. Okay For Now inspired me to reread Jane Eyre, and now I've moved on to Wuthering Heights.
    My blog: Readatouille

  14. #1939
    looking at the stars Spiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sissybaby View Post
    hello again, wampuscat. (I love that name)

    I'm still not finished with my foster kid story - it's ridiculous how I keep procrastinating. It's almost like I don't want to finish it, because that way I don't have to admit that it sucks, or something. I need someone to kick me in the butt or something, I guess, so that I'll make myself finish it.

    Oh, and I'm finally editing. I haven't decided if I like editing yet or not. usually I edit as I go, so this is kind of new territory for me.
    Can this be considered a kick in the butt? You know I want to read more. It doesn't suck!!

  15. #1940
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    Quote Originally Posted by sissybaby View Post
    hello again, wampuscat. (I love that name)

    I'm still not finished with my foster kid story - it's ridiculous how I keep procrastinating. It's almost like I don't want to finish it, because that way I don't have to admit that it sucks, or something. I need someone to kick me in the butt or something, I guess, so that I'll make myself finish it.

    Oh, and I'm finally editing. I haven't decided if I like editing yet or not. usually I edit as I go, so this is kind of new territory for me.
    Thanks!

    I completely understand your procrastination. I've been pushing off revising my MG story because I love, love, love the premise but am not convinced the story itself is good. This is odd because I usually love editing and revising, mostly because I often write my first drafts whirlwind-style (as fast as I possibly can).

  16. #1941
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    I'm currently trying to convince myself my plot isn't totally ludicrous/unsuitable/disjointed *sigh* My first draft is done, so now I'm editing, and although I'm enjoying this stage I've got this constant voice in my head telling me 1st novels usually get trunked. But I'm determined to see it through to the bitter end, because I won't know if it's any good unless I complete it and I want a clean slate before I have a go at another one
    Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. - Ford Prefect, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

  17. #1942
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    Even if first novels often get trunked, you still learn the most from completing, rewriting, and rewriting again. Or at least, that's always been my experience. And you might be pleasantly surprised by how it turns out once you have done all the editing and reworking over time!

  18. #1943
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    Quote Originally Posted by Britwriter View Post
    Even if first novels often get trunked, you still learn the most from completing, rewriting, and rewriting again. Or at least, that's always been my experience.
    So true. I keep coming across some real cringeworthy stuff that I can't believe I wrote. Though it's not all bad of course....
    Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. - Ford Prefect, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

  19. #1944
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeymum View Post
    So true. I keep coming across some real cringeworthy stuff that I can't believe I wrote. Though it's not all bad of course....
    Sometimes, also, you can come back to something later and see something different, that you missed at the time.

    My current MG was something I started a long while ago. My daughter then found the drafts on my computer when she was looking for something else. She begged me to finish it, and I did it for that reason. Now I feel it is one of the best things I've ever written. It was so much better for having been left for a while.

    I have many projects that I start, stop, come back to, forget again, then eventually finish, before rewriting again. Often, the learning comes not in the original writing, but in the struggle to finish something and then rework it. That's how you really hone your skills as a writer.

  20. #1945
    practical experience, FTW MsJudy's Avatar
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    Neil Gaiman started The Graveyard Book 20 years before he finished it.

    Something to be said for letting ideas simmer for a while...
    represented by Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Most happy.

  21. #1946
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    Wow. I thought I sat on stuff for a long time, but nine years is my record for writing something through to publication.

    I do find that as life goes on and you age, you can write certain books with an authentic voice. The same story can often be told so much more convincingly a few years later.

    However, I do force myself to continue with books when the going gets tough, as sometimes you can push through a barrier through sheer hard work and perseverence. Otherwise I could end up with everything in my draft folders and nothing ever finished!

  22. #1947
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    I recently completed my first upper MG novel, and the revisions will go on for awhile. I'm getting beta feedback now from teens and adult betas. It's nauseating, exhausting, and a total blast.

    I started another project just for the revision process. The new project is nasty -- and that's so not what I write! But it gives me a place to let awful, violent, crazy stuff go down, and get out all of that pent up energy that can trip up revisions. I have no idea if this side project will ever fully come to life, but it is so interesting because it comes from such a different place.

  23. #1948
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    I'm new to the forum here, but the novel that I am trying to get an agent for is a middlegrade fairy tale/fantasy book.
    I've got one request for a full manuscript so far, so I'm crossing my fingers that something will materialize.

    I also have another middle-grade book that is in process, although I haven't picked that one up in awhile. It's a bit quirky and whimsical--but a touch of darkness.

    While it seems like YA is having this incredible boom, what do you all think about middle-grade? I feel like lately, we're stuck in the shadow of the "big kids".

    (I also am currently working on an edgy YA horror novel so that might work in my favor on that front).

  24. #1949
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    Hooray for everyone who is bringing fresh new fun and adventure to middle-grade readers!
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  25. #1950
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisella View Post
    I'm new to the forum here, but the novel that I am trying to get an agent for is a middlegrade fairy tale/fantasy book.
    I've got one request for a full manuscript so far, so I'm crossing my fingers that something will materialize.

    I also have another middle-grade book that is in process, although I haven't picked that one up in awhile. It's a bit quirky and whimsical--but a touch of darkness.

    While it seems like YA is having this incredible boom, what do you all think about middle-grade? I feel like lately, we're stuck in the shadow of the "big kids".

    (I also am currently working on an edgy YA horror novel so that might work in my favor on that front).
    Good luck with the full request!

    I'm kind of the opposite of you. I generally write YA but have one project that's firmly MG and out of my comfort zone and another that's kind of a tween thing, which of course is not really a market.

    I'm woefully uneducated on the MG market, so hopefully others can comment on the shadow phenomenon.

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