Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

#querywin – An MG Novel Sparks Memory

Status:

One more day in the office and then it’s off to SCBWI National Conference in Los Angeles!

Listening To:

SMALL BLUE THING by Suzanne Vega

This week I requested a full manuscript for a middle grade children’s novel. When I was reading, I was instantly captured by the voice of the narrator. So original. But I see good writing all the time.

Q: Do you want to know what tipped the balance and made me request the full manuscript?

Answer: As I was reading, it made me recall exactly the way I thought when I was that character’s age. And I had forgotten that I had felt that way when I was that age. Right there, that’s brilliant writing at work.

And that’s when you know the writer has nailed the MG voice as well as the MG character. As an agent, I’m compelled to ask for the full to give it a read. If you are writing for a middle grade audience, that is what you should capture on the page. And if you don’t, dig in and get back to work. You were that age once. Tap into the resource that is you.

Photo Credit: David Robert Bliwas (Creative Commons)


4 Responses

  1. Stephen L France said:

    Definitely – had a very emotional time writing the first chapters of a novel with a protagonist in primary school; created an excavation site in my mind to acquire the perfect dialogue from primary school teachers and children.

  2. Flora Bullock said:

    Tapping into the energy of a MG was difficult for me. I was writing about a popular girl and I, myself was never popular. It brought emotions I hadn’t felt in long time. I knew I had to change the story. Editing, rewriting and the story is starting to ‘feel’ better to me.

  3. Carolynn Pianta said:

    Walker’s AGE OF MIRACLES is a great example of MG voice with any-age appeal. Maybe it isn’t MG at all. Or, a voice like hers connotes that she got it just right.

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