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Mastering the Middle-Grade Novel


Literary agents and readers crave entertaining and moving middle-grade fiction, but often writers struggle with creating a manuscript that is truly targeted to the 8-12 year old audience. To really connect with these readers, writers must first understand what a middle-grade novel is and what it isn’t. Skew too young or too old in aspects of your book and you’ll create a novel that won’t fit anywhere. But get all the important middle-grade elements right, and you’ll be well on your way toward finding a home on bookstore shelves and in readers’ hearts.

We’ll cover:

-       What a middle-grade novel is and what it isn’t

-       The important differences between Middle Grade vs. YA

-       How to keep within the kid point of view throughout a manuscript

-       The elements needed in strong and focused middle-grade manuscripts, plus pitfalls to avoid

-       How to write relatable middle-grade themes, characters, and plots

-       The various middle-grade subgenres, and how to make sure your book has what those readers demand within those categories

-       What literary agents and editors are currently looking for (and avoiding) in middle-grade fiction

Meet the Faculty

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Marie Lamba

Marie Lamba is a Senior Literary Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in NYC (jdlit.com), where she represents fiction and non-fiction picture books, middle grade, YA and adult works, plus graphic novels and memoir. Marie is also author of the picture books Green Green: A Community Gardening Story (Farrar Straus Giroux), and A Day So Gray (Clarion), and of the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head, and Drawn. Her articles are in more than 100 publications, and she’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. She has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, and a book publicist, and has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion. You can follow her blog at her website marielamba.com, follow her on Twitter @marielamba, and like her Facebook page: Marie Lamba, Author.