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Writer's Room => Chapter Books, Easy Readers, and Middle Grade (MG) => Topic started by: Maggie on December 06, 2012, 03:34 PM

Title: So it's MG?
Post by: Maggie on December 06, 2012, 03:34 PM
Hello everyone, my husband just finished writing a 50,000 word sci-fi novel which he initially believed to be YA. But after our looking through the forums, he's not so sure.

Would the complete lack of sexuality make it more of a MG novel? There's no cursing in it either. It's about 14 to 15 year old children dealing with a threat to their town. The characters are well defined but they don't talk about sex and the interest they have in each other is on a slightly old fashioned level of romance. It reads like something out of Spielberg's 80's films except the kids don't swear.

He wanted to enter that Amazon contest but they are very specific when it comes to what genre to enter and the science-fiction element in the novel  would mean it wasn't pure YA.

Just wondering if it would be best categorized as MG.

Thanks you.
Title: Re: So it's MG?
Post by: mrh on December 06, 2012, 04:21 PM
Hi, Maggie!

YA isn't "required" to have sex or cursing. I believe the 15-year-old age is more likely to make it YA.

Science fiction doesn't mean the novel isn't "pure YA" either. YA sci-fi is a perfectly legit genre. He would enter the YA category, and his subgenre is sci-fi.

Other thoughts: IF the book reads like it's set in the '80s, it might face obstacles because it sounds old-fashioned. To today's kids, the 1980s is historical, and you'd have a choice between setting the book firmly in the '80s and making it historical, or updating it to be sure it sounds contemporary. However, if the only "80s-sounding thing" is that the book isn't "edgy," I'd not worry.

Title: Re: So it's MG?
Post by: Danyelle on December 06, 2012, 05:35 PM
What mrh said.  ::-)

The age of the protagonists does play a part in where to shelve a book, but, to me, themes and world views/perspectives. The thought processes and goals and desires of a teen are going to be different than those of a younger--or older--set. I'm drawing a blank, but there have been some very good blog posts discussing the difference between YA and MG and what makes a story one or the other. (I want to say has some excellent resources.)

Title: Re: So it's MG?
Post by: rab on December 06, 2012, 05:47 PM
You can have 16 year old protagonists in novels marketed as MG (this is true for my novels). I agree with Danyelle about the themes and perspectives being important. Martha Parravano, who writes for Horn Book, said something about how in YA, the characters are put in adult situations and leave childhood behind, whereas in MG, they might visit the adult world, but they still get to return to childhood. This doesn't work in all instances (and in fact, there's no absolutely clear distinction between the two) but it might help you decide.
Title: Re: So it's MG?
Post by: Joni on December 06, 2012, 08:53 PM
Agree with Danyelle and RAB. I think thematic content is the key factor. But different publishers use different yardsticks.
Title: Re: So it's MG?
Post by: Maggie on December 06, 2012, 09:05 PM
Thank you all for taking the time to respond, this is very enlightening!