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early chapter book vs MG

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Hi

I normally write PB, but the latest one turned out to be an outline for a chapter book. My 8 year old reads chapter books but I am not sure what is considered MG? I see this as a topic and chapter length for a child reading a less complex book. Maybe not quite as basic as Owl Diaries for example, but more like Critter club or Rainbow Fairies? I am curious about word count, chapter count, etc.
#1 - July 02, 2021, 10:07 AM

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Reed, MG has a very wide range. See this article from literaticat: http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html
and a helpful thread discussing it some more: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=89419.msg1108325#msg1108325
#2 - July 02, 2021, 05:49 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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Chapter Books range from 5,000 to 20,000 words but most are under 12,000, the MC is often between 7 and 10, the chapters illustrations, the books tend to be in 3rd person, the chapters tend to be short and contain a scene . Middle grade starts about 25,000 but averages closer to 40,000, the MC is usually between 10 and 13. the books don't tend to have illustrations, can be in any POV, tend to be a lot more descriptive and chapter lengths vary more.

Do the above generalities help?

Rainbow fairies and Critter Club are chapter books.  Was there an MG series you could compare to as well?
#3 - July 02, 2021, 06:03 PM

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This is written in first person narrative,  and so far just over 1000 words per chapter. The outline was 8 chapters and I think the story is more age appropriate for kids gr1-3?

So that just a chapter book?
#4 - July 02, 2021, 06:35 PM

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8 chapters is a little on the short side and over 1000 words per chapter may be a little on the long side, so you may want to distribute your chapter breaks a little differently., but yes that's chapter book length.

But deciding on whether it's a chapter book relies on more than just length. What are your sentences like? How literal is the story? How much exposition is there? It could be a short story too.

With the two links below, you'll see not everyone agrees, but take a good hard look at the books you'd like to compare. How long are their chapters? What kind of language is being used? How do the chapters end? How many characters are in the story? That kind of analytical approach can really help:

https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2020/10/18/chapter-book-guidelines/
https://greatstorybook.com/how-to-write-a-chapter-book/
#5 - July 03, 2021, 06:22 AM

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Reed, I would really get a feel for where your particular story fits in within the very large spectrum of MG--as David says, it's much more than word counts. Do the ideas and conflicts mirror what a typical 2nd or 3rd grader can identify with, given that there's a mountain of difference between 7 and 8 and 9 yr olds. I've found the book, YARDSTICKS by Chip Wood a useful reference when trying to pin down specific subject matters and child development.

You might even post a 500-700 word excerpt of a chapter to get opinions on the private critique board.
#6 - July 03, 2021, 02:01 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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If your main character is under age nine and the voice is really true to that character, you should be fine for chapter books. But also consider that about 99% of traditionally published chapter books are part of a series. Do you have ideas for other stories.

And yes to everything Vijaya and David have said, especially the part on finding a critique group who knows chapter books or posting in the crit section here.
#7 - July 03, 2021, 06:35 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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