Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MG vs. YA

Tip of the Day: try to enjoy the nice weather, while it lasts!

Most of us at A2A have dabbled in writing both Middle Grade fiction and Young Adult. They seem so similar, but yet so far apart. The reading level for an average 9-year old versus a 13-year old is vastly different, and at the same time much of their interests differ as well.

Trying to write my first MG novel, I've found I'm enjoying discovering the differences between the two writing styles and getting into the head of a younger character.

So far, here's where I've found these two writing styles differ (at least in my own writing):

  • MG has to be a bit speedier. With shorter chapters and a quicker plot. Most 9-year olds get distracted very easily and if you don't keep them constantly entertained they might put the book down. At the same time, 9-year olds tend to have slightly more energy and your characters need to reflect that as well.
  • You can have more fun with strange characters. I think younger readers are more forgiving of the unusual and quirky characters and tend to enjoy them.
  • You're plots can be even more far-fetched. This is the case with YA too (as are all these bullet points), but I think you can go even further and push the limits with MG fiction. The crazier the plot, the more enjoyable and fun the book could be.
  • Friendship is really important at this age.
  • Parents play a bigger role in MG fiction than YA fiction.
  • The romance definitely has to be light if there is one.

These are ever changing points and things I'm picking up, but what do you all notice in the differences in MG and YA? With so many cross-over genre books for these age-ranges, there's so many different types of books out there. There's definitely something for everyone to read and write.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Lisa Schroeder said...

Yes, yes, yes! Great breakdown. I totally agree with the quirky characters. IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES has a couple and it's so fun to write those!!

Happy writing! :)

Shannon Messenger said...

Thanks for these points. I'm writing middle grade and I completely concur. I feel like I have to push myself to add more than I would if I were writing YA. If it were YA I might let myself get away with a few really beautiful, simple, conversation kind of chapters (think "the meadow" in Twilight) but with MG it feels too dry. If they're going to talk, more needs to be going on, and the conversation has to be a lot shorter. And yes, love is more of a "crush" situation than anything serious. Excellent post as always--thus why this is one of the few blogs I read every day!

Kristina Springer said...

Really great post Em! I agree-- friends and parents are a much bigger part in MG.

DeenaML said...

Shannon -- great point about less "inner dialogue" type scenes. It seems the MCs in MGs are not just by themselves pondering things as much bc it slows down the action.

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