Hey ho, fellow writers. Quick update - still waiting for feedback from Special Agent CB about the latest revisions, but I wanted to pass along something that I learned.
Keep kids' books geared towards kids.
Sounds basic, I know, you're all probably sitting there thinking "Wow, genius face, you figured that out yourself?"
Well, here's the deal. I thought for my third book in The Timepiece Chronicles series, I'd have the kids follow Professor Ferguson to World War I, where a very important battle took place that could've altered history entirely. Ferguson changes the outcome, and WWI ends early with a GERMAN victory. Now what that would mean is that Britain wouldn't have lost so many soldiers (in fact the war would've only lasted until 1914) and Germany would've been at peace being whole again. Basically, there's a good chance no WWII, at least not for a while.
But the kids foil that plan and so Ferguson moves to plan B - killing Hitler during one of the battles of WWI (yes, Hitler was a soldier in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment and may have seen action). So no Hitler, no WWII, BUT, no Isreali nation, no United Nations, no advancement in women's rights, and the next World War involves not just two bombs but entire nations of bombs, destroying the planet. So, in order to create the 2009 the kids are used to, they have to decide to actually let Hitler live!
Great moral dilemma, right? I mean, this is the crux of alternative history! Would you go back in time and kill Hitler if you could? Most people I know would say "yes", but I say "NO!" Who the heck knows what kind of horrors we could've come up with for the next world war. I know, there's a chance there wouldn't be a world war, and millions of people wouldn't have to die, but I say there's a chance there WOULD'VE been and we don't know for certain. We should stick with what we know.
Anyway...kind of a lot for middle grade fiction, eh? I mean, these are 11 year old kids (the readers, not the characters). They don't want to deal with these deep moral dilemmas. Nor do their parents want them to. But the bottom line according to Special Agent CB?
Stay away from controversy in general in middle grade fiction. Bad for sales.
So there ya go. Now my third book will deal with Napolean and his thwarted attempts to invade North America.
I'm starting a new book today with that as the title. "The Strength To Stand Up. Memoirs of an Unemployed Man." People have...
Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....