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Can Middle Grade be dark?
Tim Gordon
Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 6:34 PM
Joined: 5/28/2011
Posts: 23


My book "Finley" was intended to be YA lit, but it ended up working so much better as Middle Grade. My concern is that it might be too dark for the genre. I know dark books are all the rage in YA right now, but even books like Harry Potter were toned down in their earlier iterations for the middle grade market. But has it moved since then? Would that group buy into a contemporary fantasy that's meant to be allegorical to a dealing with depression?

Any thoughts? Am I worrying too much about this?


RJBlain
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 5:41 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224


I think you're worrying too much about it.Write the book as you need to write it... then worry about toning it down as needed *if* needed.
G J Marshall
Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 3:07 PM
Joined: 12/17/2011
Posts: 11


RJ is right - write your novel the way you feel it should be - after all, it's your story to tell.. Later you can edit it after doing research into what passes for dark middle grade (if you haven't already), or wait until you get feedback from your submissions. Then you can resubmit to agents/publishers of that grade. I'm not sure what you meant by 'middle grade' - which age group are you aiming for?

Tim Gordon
Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 3:33 PM
Joined: 5/28/2011
Posts: 23


By middle grade I mean 11 - 15 age group. It could spill over into YA lit, but I tend to consider YA lit when the characters learn to become adults, so the characters in this are just a little young for that. It seems in line with the kind of stuff I remember reading at that age, and I don't think I'm an anomoly.

I guess the real trick is to get someone to read the submission. So far only form rejects to the query, which means I have other problems to work through first.


G J Marshall
Posted: Saturday, May 5, 2012 4:41 AM
Joined: 12/17/2011
Posts: 11


Ok, I would still write your novel the way you feel it should be. If someone picks up the story and likes it enough, they will tell you to tone it down if necessary. Look at Philip Pullman's 'Dark Materials' series. That deals with heavy issues and is quite dark without a happy ending. As you say, that has been quite a trend.

I read your 'Finlay' and liked where it was going, and depending on how it unfolds, it certainly isnt too scary. Kids are very resilient and sophisticated these days - almost too much.

Adelaide Emerson
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 9:22 AM
Joined: 4/6/2012
Posts: 12


I have to agree with everyone else: don't worry, just write. Besides, if you're anything like me you have little control over the tone of your story. Simply put - it is what it is.

I did want to offer you an example. If you have a chance there is a series of books called Cirque du Freak which is for middle age and it is very dark in many respects. I read the first couple of books to two boys, both under ten, who loved them and are begging me to read them more. And hey, if they'd rather read than watch the latest episode of whatever stupid crap is churning on the kid networks, who am I to say no?

Addy

Tim Gordon
Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 4:07 PM
Joined: 5/28/2011
Posts: 23


Thanks for bringing up 'Dark Materials,' I hadn't really considered that (even though I've read it). So much these days when I hear middle grade I think Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Percy Jackson.


Tim Gordon
Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 5:09 PM
Joined: 5/28/2011
Posts: 23


By the way, G J Marshall, I appreciated your comments on my book. I did a rewrite on it, and I am curious if it cleared up your comments. Chapter 1 got the biggest hit by the editing stick.
 

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