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Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 3 – Why Page Length for YA or MG Novel Is The Wrong Question

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Whenever I’m at a writer’s conference, a participant always asks, “how long should my middle grade or young adult novel be?” Well, that’s the wrong question. And my video entry today is to explain why and what is a better question writers should be asking.


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14 Responses

  1. Joseph L. Selby said:

    How this played out in my brain…

    Kristin: “That’s not the right question. The right question is how important is pacing?”

    [What was a pause for a text graphic instead is replaced with…]

    Sara (jumps into frame): “How important is pacing?!” (Sara jumps out of frame)

  2. Beth said:

    Kristin, I’m enjoying these Friday vlogs and learning things I didn’t know. But I have a confession to make–I also enjoy tuning in because you wear the most beautiful necklaces. I’m something of a collector and I think they’re gorgeous.

  3. Sam Dark said:

    Thank you so much. Reassuring to know.

    I’ve been agonizing over word count in both of my manuscripts. One’s at ~95K and the other’s at ~80K. However, after months of thinking about it, I determined that those lengths were the exact ones needed to tell those stories. More words would equate to meaningless fluff, while less would mean taking out integral character and plot development.

  4. Jennifer Pickrell said:

    I’m loving these videos and especially this one. Word count is one of my writing demons (usually b/c I info-dump in 1st drafts, then cut out way too much info in the 2nd).

  5. Angela Brown said:

    This may be somewhat selfish of me, but I’m so ecstatic to have these vlogs at my fingertips. It’s like having a sit down with you and getting some great advice.

    Thanks for these.

  6. Anonymous said:

    I love the comments on pacing, but you said something close to ‘If your MG is coming in fairly short, like 30,000 words, it might simply mean that your world isn’t complex enough…’

    I know there are lots of great MG’s under 45K, and many under 30K (Egghead by Caroline Pignat comes to mind).

    Do you simply have a preference for longer MGs? Or is that the current market?

  7. Natalie Aguirre said:

    I’m like Angela. I love these vlogs.

    It’s good to know the range of word count and what to consider if yours isn’t in the range. My MG was too long by about 20,000 words and I found cutting out some unnecessary but loved by me scenes helped a lot with the pacing.

  8. Erin said:

    This is something that I’ve been struggling with as I work on my revisions for my ms. On this pass I’m definitely going to be more concerned with the pacing than the length. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!

  9. Farmer Kidd said:

    Pacing is the answer! For that I thank you and breathe a sigh of relief. There are so many different modes of thought on this matter. My YA is currently at 110,000. As complex and layered a world that I’ve created, I’m killing my darlings in the name of pacing. Initially I was scared to do this, but now that I’m halfway done, I feel exhilarated at the sleekness of the story. Thank you for unknowingly providing me with a little support.

  10. Cholisose said:

    I always end up writing much more than I plan to… And then have a hard time taking words out. Pacing is a difficult thing to master. Have to figure out exactly what’s truly needed for the story.