Monday, 29 June 2015

So what age do I write for? Middle Grade or Young adult

So what age do I write for? Middle grade, or Young Adult. 

So what are the differences between middle-grade (MG) novel and a young adult (YA) novel? and does your book fall between these 2?

 If you think of MG as literature for readers ages 8–12 years, and young adult (YA) as literature for readers ages 13–18 years,  then that is a good starting point. So when writing for the younger audience you do need to know what sets them apart from each other and what category you are writing for.
If you remember MG characters are mainly focused internally; meaning it will be focused on self-growth, learning who they are. Young adult characters are focused more externally, noticing the world around them and how they fit in, how they affect things. Often, that's a huge part of a YA character's growth throughout his or her story; moving from a naturally self absorbed stage in life, where the world revolves around them, to thinking outside their heads, and what is going on in the outside world, and how others feel. So becoming more aware of the feelings and situations of others. Remember children like to read about characters who are older than themselves.
 Middle grade books do not mean for middle school age children. Middle school age children tend to be divided about reading MG and YA books.

So if you are writing for middle grade, you are writing for your readers who are aged  between 8–12 years old, and usually the length is generally 30,000–50,000 words  No profanity, graphic violence or  sexuality. You will be focusing on the immediate world as seen by a child of 10 for example, who is still self orientated. 


 Young Adult books are very popular at the moment and are marketed to adolescents and young adults. A young adult book is defined as literature traditionally written for ages ranging from 13-18 years.  It has been said to also be up to 25 years, but if you enjoy a book at any age, these are just guidelines. Teen fiction can be classed as books from the ages 10 to 15 years. So with all of these confusing guidlines and inbetween MG and YA readers, how do we know who our novel or book is for? 

 YA literature can span the spectrum of fiction genres. YA stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth are sometimes referred to as problem novels or coming-of-age novels
Generally a YA novel word count is between 50,000–75,000 words. More in some cases, like a fantasy. And just because profanity, graphic violence, romance and sexuality are more likely to appear in YA storylines, it  does not mean it has to be full of these topics all the way through. Focus on the story, how the characters fit into the story and beyond their world, and how they analyze the meaning of their existence and what is happening around them. Age of protagonist: Ages 13-18 as a guide. Some YA readers may fall for a younger YA book range. A younger YA book is one that appeals to the older end of the the MG  crowd as well as the younger YA and has cleaner content and as mentioned before can be called teen fiction.
 That is not saying a younger reader would not steer towards the more mature YA books, and sometimes you have the older reader reading the younger YA books too. But for the wider audience, you'll generally want your protagonist to be on the older side.

 if you aren't so sure whether your current project is YA or MG, I think you need to ask yourself  - what age am I writing for? what's the romance like? where's the focus? what's the genre? If it has deep loving, deep feelings, or sensitivive topics like drugs or abuse, then it will not be MG. Keep asking yourself questions throughout your book and you will also learn more about your story and characters.
Your aim is to write a story that is meaninfuly and complulsive to your reader, and you have to know who your reader is. You are learning this as you write. Understanding it more because as you are the story maker, you decide what goes into the story, you get to know it inside out and questions that may not be apparent at the beginning should be made very apparent by the time you finish.
For those of you who feel your story is inbetween a MG and YA, but have to choose one or the other, (there is no inbetween in a publishers requirements) just in your readers. I would make your word count the defining factor in deciding, if you are really stuck in choosing and are hating on the fact you have to pick one or the other for publishing, marketing reasons. Make sure you still write the story in the length it takes to tell it, and focus on the story and the writing. Once finished check publishers guidlines
I know we need guidelines to an extent, but write for yourself, forget about the rules while actually writing, just write, and love your writing and where it takes you. Once you have asked your questions, and know who the age range is you are writing for, then it is time to let your pen do the talking.