Dec 21, 2012
Since the world didn’t end today, I guess I have no choice but to continue with the book.
The good news is that yesterday was an incredibly productive day; wrote the synopsis for the new project, which included background, setting, characters and a chapter by chapter breakdown. Also, I think this is a story I can share with my daughter at an early stage so she can tell me if it catches her fancy.
The bad news is manifold, and almost all of it has to do with uncertainty and inexperience. First, I ended up with eight chapters before the book took a natural break. It seems there’s at least a Part 2, if not a Part 3, waiting in the wings. So are eight chapters enough? I need to look over a few pre-teen books to see what kind of template is appropriate for this age.
Second, now that I have a plan, I feel the crushing need for someone experienced to look over the project and tell me if it is worth continuing. Here’s where I wish I was good friends with another kid-lit writer or publisher who could advise me. I consider myself a good judge and editor for other writers out there, but I cannot be objective about my own work. Anyone out there want to swap stories?
I think I will proceed with the story, but look seriously for writers’ workshops, classes and groups in the area.
Vidya, Writers Digest Magazine offers wonderful 90-minute webinars specifically for writing kidlit. I highly recommend them. They cost, but they are worth it, and a digital subscription to the magazine earns you a discount on everything they offer.
Here’s the basic guide for “size” of books for middle-grade (8-12 yo) and young adult (can start reading actual YA as early as 13 — keep in mind that young readers won’t usually read about main characters that are younger than themselves … they “read up.”):
MG: 35,000 approx.
YA: 45K to 90K words
My biggest suggestion is to READ MG and YA books to get a feel for the language (characters’ and for readers), conflicts, structure, etc. If you want some suggestions to pick up from the library, let me know. I’ll also try to email you some things I think you might find beneficial.
I’d love to swap with you, but my first draft is the kind that is free-flowing based on a liquid outline. I know what I want and where I’m going, but it has to come out first before I can revise it into something readable.