Middle-grade readers are those children between the ages of 8 and 12. Hence, the middle-grade novel is that story written for this age group, often called the Golden Age Group of Reading. Children in this age group are usually avid readers and particularly enjoy series books.
If you are interested in writing middle-grade fiction, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
1) Get to know your middle-grade reader. Hang out with children of this age and listen to their conversations. Take note of what they think, feel, do, and like. Listen to how they talk. Pay attention to what troubles them and what delights them. For example, 8-12 year olds are becoming more interested in school and friends than in family and home life. They begin to worry about peer relationships and about fitting in. They also love humor and things that make them squeal or cringe.
2) Create a compelling character. Middle-grade readers quickly identify and attach to the heroes and heroines of a story. Create a character with character. Show your main character facing a moral dilemma and overcoming it wisdom and courage.
3) Create a big conflict in your story. Make sure this conflict is related to something your reader can grasp. Increasingly, middle-grade novels include many of the tough issues children this age face, like divorce, blended families, and alcoholism. Don’t be afraid to include these issues in your story, but present them from the perspective of a child in this age group.
Writing for the middle-grade reader can be extremely satisfying. Just put yourself in the child’s place. Although we live in a different generation, emotions are the same. Tap into your childhood emotions to make your writing for this age group relevant and authentic.
Do you write middle-grade fiction? Why or why not? What techniques do you use to make your fiction for this age group compelling?__________________________________
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