View Full Version : My YA Might Sound Like MG

11-22-2015, 01:26 AM
I had an agent read a partial and suggested it sounded more MG and to possibly make it that way. She gave me a ton of feedback and it was just the first 50 pages. She mentioned she liked the story arc since she saw the synopsis. She wanted it to be more suspenseful. That I understood and revised it since then. But the MG thing, I don't know. The MC is 17 and into 80s relics. She took the Strawberry Shortcake doll collection as it being younger. We talked about this. She said either make the MC younger or get rid of the doll collection. I know it seems silly, but the MC and the 80s collection is important. She obsesses over a dead girl that died in the 80s and becomes fascinated with that era.

Anyway, I have another R&R from another partial and she said get to the heart of the story faster and make the MC less defensive, which I did. I still have yet to send back. But I thought if that doesn't work then maybe consider the agent wanting it to be MG.

I still have one partial out there. She's had it 4 weeks which isn't bad. I emailed her and told her about the revisions. That was yesterday, it's still early. I'm hoping she'll respond eventually. I just hope it's not a non responder.

I realize I didn't add my questions: Has an agent ever tell you your YA is more MG? Have you changed it and did it work? If I do change to MG, other than reading MG, what are some other things I can do to make it into MG?

11-22-2015, 05:06 PM
I feel like MG and YA are pretty different. I heard someone say once that in MG, the main character is figuring out her immediate world and how she fits in it, and in YA, she's figuring out where she fits in the larger world. It's hard for me to imagine revising a book from YA to MG because that difference is so central to the story.

It sounds to me from your message like you don't really want to revise it to be a MG. I'd listen to your own instincts on that. One person saying that the doll collection doesn't fit doesn't seem like enough of a reason to change your whole story. If anything, maybe give your MC a few lines where she admits that she knows it's immature to have a Strawberry Shortcake collection, but it's important to her for X reason. Alternatively, you could make your MC 15, and still have your story be YA.

11-22-2015, 05:35 PM
Thanks Kate. I actually do mention it in the story something like, I know it seems silly, but they're collector's items and are worth a lot of money. And you are right, I don't really want to change it into MG. It gets really dark and this one agent didn't even get up to that point. From what she said she only got up to chapter 4 and gave up mainly because it wasn't suspenseful enough. That part spoke to me right away and I eagerly changed it, and because the other agent said get to the heart of the story faster. I understood all that too. But the MG thing threw me off and turned me off pretty much because I don't really want it that way. But if it's my only hope for the book, I'm willing to try it.

I'd have to read a lot of MG to adapt a voice for it. Thanks again for responding.

11-22-2015, 05:56 PM
If the character is collecting the dolls because of a fascination with a dead girl, then maybe you should emphasize that up front. Make the collection itself a darker detail and erase the possibility that she's got a childish connection to the dolls.

Incidentally, I had an editor tell me the same thing about one of the books in my sigline. It was a one-off comment that confounded even my agent. Sometimes a reader, even one who's a pro, will latch onto details or read them the wrong way and it changes their impression of the whole piece. If your novel is YA, and you want to keep it YA, then go with your gut.

11-22-2015, 10:28 PM
There's a lot more to making something MG than just aging it down, you are absolutely correct. At the same time, just because a book goes darker does not mean it can't be an MG. MGs can go quite dark and even have a fair bit of violence. The one thing they don't have though is sex and sexual discovery. There can be crushing on boys, and even a first kiss. But it does not go to making out territory. So that's also something to consider depending on if your YA is more typical of the genre and has the boy component.

Sometimes I do feel like people think making something MG makes their book lesser. Makes it less profound, less gritty, less . . . cool. That's not true. MG books can handle big issues (like death) and be gritty as well. So if one of the feelings you are feeling is that you feel like making your book MG might make it lesser, try hard to put that aside and really analyze if this agent has a point or if she is totally off her rocker. Sure maybe it was just because you had the strawberry shortcake dolls. But maybe there is also something in your voice that sounds more MG than YA. Have you considered posting the first chapter here and asking specifically if people think it reads YA or MG?

11-24-2015, 05:11 AM
Thank you both Cyia and Toothpaste.

I posted it a long time ago. I'd have to dig up the thread, I have trouble doing that so I just let it go. Anyway, my gut is telling me to stick to YA for now and see how that goes. But the agent suggesting MG did have some very valid points. She did mention the voice, but she said I'd have to read more MG first before changing it. Actually MG is like any other genre and category. I totally respect it and wouldn't attempt it if I wasn't comfortable. Right now, I'm not. The MC has this boy thing but she never kisses him, they're just flirty friends, it's all G rating on that, so there is that possiblity that I could make it MG. I wouldn't have to be changing sex scenes and all that, there isn't any. These are all good things to consider, thanks Toothpaste. I'm glad you came by to answer since you have experience in this field.

Cyia, thank you again.