Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Update from the Agent - Middle Grade Word Length

So I sent off the novella that would be the second book synopsis.  Obviously I didn't pay attention to my previous post on Summing up.  Like Alice, I give myself very good advice, but very seldom do I follow it.

Ok, so I have some cleaning up to do, but the feedback I got back from Caitlin (I'm tired of calling her Special Agent CB - besides you all know her now anyway thanks to Guide to Literary Agents) was that it was "too ambitious".  Specifically she asked "do you really think you can fit that all into 50,000 words?"

Which made me think - something I don't do much of lately.

We all know the word count required for middle grade, YA, adult novel, etc., right?  If not, google it - there's plenty out there.  BUT, for a series, can that word count fluctuate?  Surely J.K. Rowlings did that with Harry Potter - the last book is about three times the size of the first book.  Couldn't a book expand the further they get into the series?

I don't think so, at least for middle grade.  YA, yes.  Middle grade, doesn't look so.

Take Rick Riorden's Percy Jackson series.  Definitely middle grade.  I'm looking at the first three books and they're all nearly identical in length.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid, same way.  Dan Gutman's &Me series?  Same way.  Interesting phenomenon, and here's my theory on it.

Mind you, it's just a theory.

Middle grade readers move through series quicker, and are rarely shared with adult readers.  YA can spill over into adult readers, as Harry Potter and Twilight showed us.  Adults and older YA readers don't mind increasing complexities and taking their time with a good novel.  More subplots added, more complex situations to get out of as the series progresses, all make for thicker books.

Middle grade readers, however, finish books quicker and move right onto the next one.  They could finish an entire series in the time it takes to read one Harry Potter Book 7.

Now, another question I have, and one I'll pose to various agents to see what they think, is - what about cross-overs?  What about 11 year olds who through the course of the series being published become 14 year olds?  Can/should the book change with them?  Will they even maintain interest in the series?

Inquiring minds wanna know.  And I'll find out.

Till then, gotta trim down the synopsis and take out a subplot or mid-section goal or two.


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