Monday, October 22, 2012

What's in the middle of young adult?

That last post of yours wrt "middle grade young adult" - you advised deciding on one or the other.  So, four questions if I may?

1) Define what is one and the other, please?
2) What about if a) your characters' ages are 13 and 15 (brother and sister) and the two supporting characters are 14 and 17 (actually not specified but it's clear that around these ages) and b) the target group is from 11 years and up?
3) Where does the novel sit?
4) What's the word count range that would be appropriate for a novel with characters in these age groups - 80K acceptable?

1) 'Middle grade' is a term we borrow from the Americans - as Australians have 'primary school' and 'high school' and no shades in between. Generally it denotes books between 'readers' - when children are learning to read - and 'young adult'. It is difficult to exactly pinpoint ages for these categories as children all read differently: a mature, experienced ten-year-old reader is likely to read YA; a thirteen-year-old reader who has dyslexia may be more comfortable with middle grade books. So they are loose categories. Young adult is probably the easiest to define, in that we all think it starts around the age of twelve. But we also have to assume that a lot of children 'read up' - if you think back to your own childhood, at a certain point you were probably keen to find out what life beyond your age might be like.

2)  and 3) That's young adult. So write a story for young adults and let the readers work out what age they need to be to read it.

4) Nothing less than 40 000 words. Theories about upper limits of word counts have been largely dismantled by the success of the Harry Potter books. 

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