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All things MG resource?

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Hi all,

I'm looking for some sort of online resource or help that has solid information about writing MG, in particular how to plot out your MG novel taking the 20,000-80,000 word count into consideration (those numbers were given by author Alan Gratz at the recent SCBWI Carolinas fall conference) and ideal chapter length, etc.

With picture books, you can lay out your 32 page template and then lay on top of that what should be happening at each spread (intro of characters/problem, try to fix problem #1, #2, #3, climax, resolution, etc.).

As a teacher, I do understand what the genre is - the content, the age, the language, etc. But I am looking for similar information as I just gave the example for in pb to get me started in MG. I would like to read a lot more info about writing/plotting the genre before I get started mapping out my first MG.

I thought I'd ask the experts here first, since you never know if what you find online really is a good source of info, and print info gets out of date so quickly.

Anyone know some good nuts & bolts info sites for MG?

Thanks!

Kara
#1 - October 10, 2015, 04:27 PM

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Have you checked out Harold Underdown's site, The Purple Crayon? Also the Write 4kids site is a huge source. You can also learn a lot from books such as Mary Kole's Writing Irresistable Kidlit. Tons of great info right here on the Blueboards as well.  :flowers2
#2 - October 10, 2015, 07:53 PM
A Smidgen of Sky (Harcourt 2012)
A Sliver of Sun (book #2)
 A Million Ways Home (Scholastic 2014)
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Twitter@DiannaMWinget

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couldn't have asked the question better myself. I'm w/Kara looking for good resources :D
#3 - October 11, 2015, 04:59 AM

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Dianna,

I love The Purple Crayon! Tons of great information, but I'm not finding what I want, which is something specific to middle grades and their plotting and pacing. I did see 2 MG articles on The Purple Crayon but the information in them is not what I am looking for - it's more generalized information.

And as for the Write4kids you mention, I'm not sure what site you mean. http://writeforkids.org/ doesn't seem to be it, or having the information I'm looking for. If you mean http://campus.usal.es/~tradweb/webs/27/SuperSite.htm  I also can't seem to find specific information there on plotting and pacing MG.

In looking through the threads on this forum, I also didn't see that information, but with all the threads, it could very well be that I missed it somewhere.

Thank you for responding and for your leads - I'm still investigating!

Kara

Edited to say that as I go through the 2nd link I posted, I see they are actually they same source - the two sites are linked to each other.
#4 - October 11, 2015, 05:12 AM
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 05:14 AM by Kara S »

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Project Middle Grade Mayhem is getting closer to what I'm looking for! Some helpful stuff in there. http://project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogspot.com/
#5 - October 11, 2015, 05:28 AM

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Kara--I ran to the threads as well! Having written for an older audience, this question (for me) is an intriguing one: word count comes down, but pace (depending on genre??) seems to beg for tightening. I have done a mathematical/percentage thing that I'm working on now but will keep my eye on this question. Are you on Twitter? I'm @mbowords
#6 - October 11, 2015, 05:34 AM

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I'm in twitter jail currently and can't follow anyone.  :sadcry

But I'm @artinphotgrphy
#7 - October 11, 2015, 05:38 AM

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Hi Kara,

I don't have a website link but I do have a word doc that has the steps for plotting I am happy to send your way. It has been a great help for me as I am writing my first MG too.

Email me if you'd like me to send it. I'm at schriscoe @ yahoo dot com
#8 - October 11, 2015, 06:33 AM
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Yes, Kara, I meant Writeforkids.org. There is so much info on there, I guess I'm a little confused exactly what it is your looking for. There are no set rules as far as chapter length, pacing and plotting that apply only to middle grade. What I mean is, there's great variety in the field, just as there is YA and other forms of writing. The most important thing is that you have a good understanding of middle graders themselves. I'd still encourage you to check out Mary Kole's book. It talks a lot about plotting and the nitty gritty of writing for middle grade. Hope you get out of Twitter jail soon  :lol5
#9 - October 11, 2015, 06:42 AM
A Smidgen of Sky (Harcourt 2012)
A Sliver of Sun (book #2)
 A Million Ways Home (Scholastic 2014)
 www.diannawinget.com
Twitter@DiannaMWinget

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 :yay  I would ever so love that! Emailing you now, scrhriscoe! Thank you!

And thank you, Dianna, I will check out her book. And yes, I guess I kind of am looking for the plotting, pacing that would apply particularly to MG, but I do get your point that there may not be any set rules for that specific to that genre. I think I'm good with understanding the typical 8-13 year old kid - I work with 3rd through 5th graders and have for years. I also have my own two kids, and while they are now in college, I certainly did live through those years with them and their friends. :)  We all survived.   :whistle
#10 - October 11, 2015, 06:47 AM

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You are very welcome! Emailed you back. And happy to send to anyone else who wants it as well. :)
#11 - October 11, 2015, 06:54 AM
'Vehicle Dreams Series' Running Press Kids
Race Car Dreams 2016
Bulldozer Dreams 2017
Fire Truck Dreams 2018
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Scrhriscoe : Thank you for that invitation! I will be emailing you in five, four, three...
#12 - October 11, 2015, 07:28 AM

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Scrhriscoe : Thank you for that invitation! I will be emailing you in five, four, three...

You are so welcome! Emailed you back :)
#13 - October 11, 2015, 07:50 AM
'Vehicle Dreams Series' Running Press Kids
Race Car Dreams 2016
Bulldozer Dreams 2017
Fire Truck Dreams 2018
The Sparrow and The Trees- Arbordale 2015

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Woot! Just received! thank you.
#14 - October 11, 2015, 07:54 AM

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Also jumping in to say there is a wide range of middle grade. Some is for older readers, and some is meant for younger readers. Chapter lengths, and the complexity of the characters and story will vary a lot depending on which age group you're writing for.  :goodluck
#15 - October 11, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Genre impacts this too. Realistic fiction may be shorter while fantasy has more room for world building. None of it is set in stone though.
#16 - October 11, 2015, 07:20 PM

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Wanted to chime in here - I agree with Dianna, there are so many ways to write middle grade. Every writer will be different, but you might like to look up Martha Alderson the Plot Whisperer on youtube. she has lots of great videos on the type of questions you asked i.e.: where the climax should be etc. However, I'm not sure if there is any information specific to mg there.

My advice is to read lots of middle grade in the age range you are wanting to write for. As a teacher, I'm sure you already do.  ::-)

#17 - October 12, 2015, 05:19 AM
ICE DOGS, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Joyce Sweeney is a writing coach who is involved with SCBWI and works with writers for children. I recommend her Plot Clock Webinar. http://www.sweeneywritingcoach.com/  I also agree with the comments above about reading lots of current (within last 2 - 3 years) MG.  I have tried to stick to my genre (fantasy) as I noted a difference when I read outside my genre. There are also some Writers Digest webinars targeted specifically at MG writing. 
#18 - October 12, 2015, 06:09 AM
http://www.linkedin.com/in/debragetts
Crazy Travel Adventures By Debra: http://crazytraveladventures.blogspot.com/
On Twitter: @DebraGetts

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debraG==Thanks for that tip. Will check it out!
#19 - October 12, 2015, 07:03 AM

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Thanks, everyone! Very good thoughts and tips.
#20 - October 14, 2015, 03:51 PM

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There's a lot of great MG blogs out there, here's a list or resources I like to use.

    Middle Grade Minded - http://middlegrademinded.blogspot.com
    Project Mayhem - http://project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogspot.com/
    Middle Grade Ninja - http://www.middlegradeninja.com/
    Middle Grade Mania - http://middlegrademania.blogspot.com/
    Kidliterati - http://www.kidliterati.com/
    Emblazoners - http://emblazoners.com/
    Peggy Eddleman - http://peggyeddleman.blogspot.com/
   The Magic in Middle Grade, Remembering your audience - http://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-magic-in-middle-grade-remembering.html
    MG Strikes Back - http://middlegradestrikesback.blogspot.com/
    From the Mixed up Files - http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/
    Middle Grade Mafioso - http://middlegrademafioso.blogspot.com/
    Mundie Kids - http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) (Shannon Messenger) - http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/search/label/Marvelous%20Middle%20Grade%20Monday
#21 - October 15, 2015, 06:27 AM

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Awesome Jamie K!
#22 - October 15, 2015, 08:09 AM

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You've got some great resources listed here already, but I thought I'd chime in with Cheryl Klein's blog: http://chavelaque.blogspot.com/
Her book Second Sight is also a great resource.

Also, check out Storyfix.com and find his Story Structure Series. I found this extremely helpful in plotting out outlining my mg which I've just finished and am now polishing. It's not specifically MG, but it really opened up my writing world and made the process so much easier.

Every writer is different so you need to find the best method and techniques that work for you. Also, I've discovered that every book is different as well depending on the genre.
#23 - October 16, 2015, 06:15 AM
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Thanks everyone! These are fantastic resources. I am in the process of revision my first MG novel and I am feeling a bit lost. So thank you again!!
#24 - January 03, 2016, 09:06 AM

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