It's weekend again! That means it's time for another Positively Weekend post! Let's be positive about the writing and publishing world.
Today, I'm talking about why I love to write for younger readers, in particular 10-12 year olds.
Kids have a greater imagination than most adults. Yes, they perhaps can't show it as eloquently as mature people can. Yes, adults don't always understand what kids are trying to say. But their imagination is lively and unique. An adult sometimes gets upset if a child draws a picture of a battle, but more often than not this is just a story that is playing out in a child's mind. Writing for kids is so rewarding because they add their own imagination to the story.
To make a good children's book, you need an engaging plot and believable characters. The ethical themes and unusual dialogue is what will engage the parents and teachers, but children really only care about an entertaining story. This method of writing appeals to me tremendously. There is no need for flowery language - in fact it is discouraged. I'm more of a CS Lewis fan than Tolkien. I think the story is more important than the indulgent description. And that's exactly what kids are looking for.
3) Shaping the Future
And then there's this. Slightly egotistical, yes, but there's quite a warm feeling to be had when you consider the possibilities for the future in a child's mind. When you write for children, you can switch on an interest button in their brains which could stay with them for life. The number of children in my class who are obsessed with megalodons...that is only because of recent films and programmes about them. I'd never come across a child whose favourite animal was a shark before the (insufferable) song "Baby Shark" became popular. Children are impressionable, and writing for them is a privilege.
And then a purely practical reason...middle grade books are shorter. I'm not good at writing really long books. I like to keep the plot fast-paced. This is great for a children's book, but not so good for adults. For a middle grade book, you're wanting to write between 40,000 and 70,000 words, depending on the target audience. This length suits me perfectly!
The final reason is that I know more about middle grade readers than any other. I'm a teacher, and I spend every working day with a class of 25 of these readers. I know what they enjoy doing, and I know what they dislike. The amount of time I spend with them in the term means I know them almost like family. That's how I teach and get results. And, because of that, I know exactly what ingredients to put into a middle grade book to make it enjoyable for that age group.
Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels