Jun 1, 2015

QK Round 1: Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries v. A Spicy Caper

Entry Nickname: Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries – Oh My!
Title: The Curious Curse of the Lonely Library
Word Count: 56k
Genre: Upper Middle Grade

Query:

The smell of a book bewitches Theodore Plumford. By day he soaks up adventures in ink, by night he dreams of bold deeds. A library is his sanctuary.

But Theodore can tell that the Pickettsville library is different.
Not just any library is over two hundred years old.
Not just any library was founded by a madman.
Not just any library is despised by its town.

When Theodore, Hugo, and Lucy Plumford are left with relatives one summer, Theodore soon drags his reluctant siblings to explore the unusually grand town library. Though the rest of Pickettsville refuses to darken its doors, the majestic building and its lively librarians soon enthrall the children. But when they discover that characters from the books are haunting the halls, an investigation into the library’s secrets leads them deep into one family’s peculiar history and its founder’s mysterious past. When the books begin to fight back, Theodore, the boy who has always lived through others’ stories, must learn how to be his own hero to vanquish the library’s enemies.

First 250:

Theodore Plumford’s neck prickled when they drove past the building on their way into town. Its stony face blocked the drooping sun and drowned him in its shadow. Six white columns stood like sentinels before a wide double door. Cold, silent windows rose between the pillars, but they offered no glimpse of what lay inside. On top of the building was a glass dome, rosy light streaming through its panes. It looked like a ball of fire upon a mammoth block of ice.

Theodore wondered what the building might be. The rest of Main Street was a collection of shabby stores. This building stood apart like a wild beast among tabby cats.

“Mom, what’s that place?”

Mrs. Plumford twisted in her seat to follow Theodore’s pointing finger. She squinted into the sun. “I’m not sure. Mabel’s never taken us there. You’ll have to ask your aunt.”

Theodore’s younger sister Lucy squirmed around to look at the building before it disappeared from view. “It looks scary,” she whispered.

“It looks boring,” yawned Hugo Plumford, elbowing Lucy in the center seat to make more room for himself. “Are we there yet?”

“Almost,” said Mr. Plumford. He turned the car into a neighborhood of prim houses in tidy rows, each so alike they might have been pressed from the same mold.

Hugo squashed his nose against the glass and groaned. “Can’t I just go with you?”

“No,” said Mr. Plumford. “I’d prefer you weren’t eaten by a crocodile.”

“But I wouldn’t!”

“Hugo, you’d be trying to measure its teeth the minute I turned my back.”



V.

Entry Nickname: A Spicy Caper
Title: A Less than Perfect Transformation
Word count: 63K
Genre: Upper Middle Grade Mystery

Query:

Having fought the stigma of The Girl with the Missing Father, thirteen-year-old Ginger Jones has finally earned a place at the top of the Bottlenose Beach High-erachy. But then a series of written clues arrive: all pointing to a father who’s not only alive, but one who is a covert government physicist, not a record producer as originally thought.

Ginger has her doubts. This wouldn’t be the first time someone’s used her sketchy past to make a fool of her. But the evidence continues to mount and the instructions from her father become clear: he wants Ginger to find and return the plans to his matter transformation machine.

Of course he does.
 

Ginger’s never been one for taking orders though, especially not from fathers who leave without explanation. Instead, she comes up with a better plan – one to lure her dad out of hiding, and extract some much-needed answers from him.

If only her success didn’t hang on sacrificing her newfound status for the fringe-dwellers she left behind: the local inventor’s daughter, and the odd-yet-sweet boy who once defended her. And if only she knew who to trust among the growing number of adults who seem a little too interested in her comings and goings.

The answers she seeks better be worth it. Building her father’s transformation machine and demonstrating it at the state science fair is going to take some serious smarts if Ginger wants to survive high school. Or survive at all.

First 250:

It started in her feet. That tingle. That prickly, want-to-scratch-it sense that something wasn’t right. They were restless, wanting to run away. From what, Ginger Jones didn’t know yet, but she sensed it was something significant. Out of the ordinary. Not Bottlenose Beach extraordinary, like the time there was a great white shark off the coast and the beach closed for a week. This was personal.

Over the past year Ginger had perfected a trademark saunter, a practised air of grace. Today her joggers slapped the asphalt like a toddler’s flip-flops. The lack of control left her sweaty and irritable, itching for a way to let off steam.

“Ginger Jones!” the year-eight supervisor, Mrs Van Der Koot, called out. “If you must lead the class, please do it responsibly.”

Ah, right on cue. It wouldn’t be Friday Beach Sports without Mrs Van Der Koot's – aka Kooties – customary snark.

Hair clung to Ginger’s face as she wove between parked cars, and away from the high school. She shrugged away the tightness in her lungs. This apprehension of hers was ridiculous.  Nothing more than the familiar stranglehold of tropical heat. Nothing fresh air couldn’t fix.

She licked the salt off her lips, finding momentary bliss in the ocean taste. Forget Kooties. Forget the stream of students trailing behind her. Forget those letters…

“Are you absolutely sure we can’t swim, Miss?” she shouted to Kooties, flashing an over-the-shoulder wink. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

20 comments :

  1. Judges, reply here with your comments and votes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super fun books! I wish all these MG were already published so I could give them to my children.

      Librarians, Curses:
      This is an excellent query. It sets up the character, conflict and the stakes. It also throws in the setting, and a sense of foreboding. Beautiful job. Two suggestions for improvement: You don't need to mention the names of the siblings in the query. Just say "Theodore and his siblings." Also, "the library's enemies" is a little vague. See if you can be more specific.

      250:
      Excellent MG voice. Great beginning. Good introduction to the characters. Watch the telling in the first paragraph, however. You may want to move some of this around so that you can start with "Mom, what's that place?" Just a thought.

      Spicy Caper:

      Query: I had to read the first sentence several times. This should be your hook. Try to reduce the number of concepts you introduce in that one sentence. Also, you need to try to reduce the meat of your query to two paragraphs, but definitely no more than three. It's too long. Fun concept, though, but you can state it more succinctly.

      250:
      I said this to another MG: watch the voice. It sounds a little old for MG. This has got to be the hardest thing in the world for an adult writer to recapture the voice of a pre-teen or young teen. (I don't write MG because it would be far too difficult for me.) I'm loving the setting, even though I'm not yet sure where I am (which is fine -- I don't need to know in the first 250).

      Because it has the edge as to the query:
      VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS, CURSES

      Delete
    2. Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries:

      You're missing your genre. Upper MG is a category - the title tells me it's as mystery, but it should still be stated in the entry. I'm very, very intrigued by your query, but I want more. Give me a couple more details about the characters haunting the halls and how (or why) the books are fighting back. How is the library being threatened? And what happens if Theordore fails? There's also no need to name the siblings, since they can easily be called "the siblings," and neither is specifically mentioned later.

      Be very careful about introducing so many characters on the first page. You've got six people named, including the aunt. It can be tough for the reader to get to know so many people all at once, and we need to be invested enough in the story to want to make the effort. It may work better to only have two or three people in the car. And we don't need Mabel's name yet. I like the voice, and I love the line about the crocodile, but there's just a lot of information to absorb all at once. I'm also wondering if we need to meet the parents at all if they're just leaving the kids with a relative, or if the story could start after they get in the car and drive away.

      My other issue is that I don't really get a sense of how old Theodore is. You've told me that this is upper MG, but I don't feel like either the query or first page is from the POV of a 12 or 13-year-old (possibly because so much of the first page is spend introducing characters).

      A Spicy Caper:

      The voice in this query letter is fantastic. I wouldn't break it up into quite so many paragraphs, though. The word count is spot on, but you want the query letter to fit into one page of an email with out the agent having to scroll down, if possible. Usually, it's about 4 paragraphs, including the comps/bio.

      You've also done a really good job injecting voice into the first 250. But I worry that the voice sounds more like a 15-year-old than a 13-year-old. I also think it's almost too much voice, not enough story. I find myself saying this a lot, but I wonder if this story is starting in the right place. What's special about this day on the beach? Where's the inciting incident? Does the story start here on the beach? If so, cut enough of the inner monologue to show me that moment.

      If someone handed me both of these books, I'd be really excited, but VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS, CURSES AND MYSTERIES, because that's the one I'd open first.

      Delete
    3. VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS, CURSES AND MYSTERIES-OH MY!

      Here's why: This reminded me of other library stories such as The Pagemaster movie (1994) or The Librarian (with Noah Wylie). I adore libraries and the thought of one being alive with characters is captivating. That being said, your 250 feels too cramped with too many characters as another judge mentioned. Limit it to your main character and one plot point. You don't need to name the siblings. Although I love the 250 maybe think of starting it when the main character walks inside for the first time, just a thought. Don't forget to put your genre in, fantasy, mystery etc.

      A SPICY CAPER-This one feels too old for a MG and the events seem more like a YA too. It feels like it's a danger/mystery story but the line about the record producer made me laugh and I'm not sure that's what you want but if you do, great.I had to reread the first 250 a couple of times looking for the incident but couldn't fine it. You mention the letters but maybe think about opening it with her getting and reading a letter. I suggest making your main character YA or age her down more. I do think this is an interesting premise and would like to know how her father pulled off pretending to be a record producer if he's a scientist making a matter transformation machine. Good luck!

      Delete
    4. VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS, CURSES AND MYSTERIES-OH MY!

      Here's why: This reminded me of other library stories such as The Pagemaster movie (1994) or The Librarian (with Noah Wylie). I adore libraries and the thought of one being alive with characters is captivating. That being said, your 250 feels too cramped with too many characters as another judge mentioned. Limit it to your main character and one plot point. You don't need to name the siblings. Although I love the 250 maybe think of starting it when the main character walks inside for the first time, just a thought. Don't forget to put your genre in, fantasy, mystery etc.

      A SPICY CAPER-This one feels too old for a MG and the events seem more like a YA too. It feels like it's a danger/mystery story but the line about the record producer made me laugh and I'm not sure that's what you want but if you do, great.I had to reread the first 250 a couple of times looking for the incident but couldn't find it. You mention the letters but maybe think about opening it with her getting and reading a letter. I suggest making your main character YA or age her down more. I do think this is an interesting premise and would like to know how her father pulled off pretending to be a record producer if he's a scientist making a matter transformation machine. Good luck!

      Delete
    5. Librarians:

      This is almost perfection for me. I would read this in a heartbeat. My only suggestion for the query is to start it with the sentence "When Theodore, Hugo, and Lucy Plumford are left with relatives one summer..." and then cut to talking about Theodore and libraries. I would also be careful about the number of named characters in the query. In the 250, I love the voice and how the reader immediately knows who the children are and what their roles in the family are.

      Spicy:

      Agree with everyone who has said the voice is much too old for 13 and MG. She sounds at least 16 and I think the tasks she's taking on sound more appropriate for an older teen. That said I think her quest is pretty clear and this is a plot that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

      VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS

      Delete
    6. Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries – Oh My!:

      I get a good sense of who Theodore is in the query and like the concept. I’m curious as to why the librarians are the only ones in town who aren’t scared—or maybe they are and they’re just happy to have patrons for a change. I would tweak the ‘When the books begin’ to ‘When the characters begin to fight back’ in your last sentence.

      Consider tightening the first paragraph of your 250. A little less description of the building to get the story moving. Your line about the building standing out like a wild beast among tabby cats is almost enough to create the image of how different and grand this library is.

      Be careful of how many people you include in the first 250. We’re introduced to the entire Plumford family of five--and told about an aunt.

      A Spicy Caper:

      The query is clean and has a great voice. I’m a little confused as to the series of written clues. Did they arrive in her locker at school or her home? A little more info there.

      Also, does Ginger need her old friends to help her at the science fair? I’d like to know more about how they come into play instead of focusing on the adults—aside from her father, of course.

      The first 250 is well written but sounds more YA than MG.

      Victory goes to: LIBRARIANS, CURSES, AND MYSTERIES—OH MY!

      Delete
    7. Ugh. Wow. This is gonna be hard...

      Okay. Let's do this.

      Query Matchup:
      I love the twisty quality of the plot in A Spicy Caper's entry; disappearing fathers, government programs, sketchy technology, peer pressure, geekery. This is a story that could appeal to a range of readers on many levels. That said, the stakes of "learn about my Dad/help my Dad" versus "lose my social status" doesn't feel... very ... Maybe I'm not good at look at the story in MG terms, but the family vs. social group pressure there doesn't feel strong enough, or at least, if it really is that polarizing, it needs to be blown up a lot more in the query.

      Librarians' entry is fascinating and dark, but I found the opening far less engaging than the second section, with the three facts about the strange library. I understand that the function of the first section is to show Theo's baseline love of libraries and books, but leading with the weirdo library itself seems so much stronger than platitudes about his use of libraries as sanctuaries. Why not adjust the first line of that second section to something like, "Theo Plumford loves libraries the way other kids love their XBoxes, but he can tell there's something wrong with library X..." That's not the best rendering, but I think you get the point. I love the part about the books fighting back. I don't know quite yet what that means (picturing the Necronomicon a la ARMY OF DARKNESS), but actually, I don't want to, yet. I can picture that meaning BAD THINGS, and that will get me to read on.

      250 Matchup:
      Whatever's going on with the crocodile line in Librarians' entry must be contextual to writing beyond this section, because it's hard to make sense of here! So, considering that no agent will ask for only 250 words and a query in real life, I look past that here. There's a strong sense of personality from each character in the scene, and even the town and library make an appearance, setting the scene for the whole story very quickly. Everything is built into the story, with lived-in relationships, and a lovable, slightly wise-acre mom who clearly has her hands full with these kids and their Lemony Snicket-style world.

      A Spicy Caper's query was less captivating to me than its 250, which opens with an eerie but vague sense of Something Really Wrong. That works on me well for a paragraph, but after that, I'm a little unclear as to what's afoot. It's... gym class? And are they about to swim, or jogging on the beach, or... what? Like the crocodile, I assume the letters are explained in the MC's mind shortly after this sample section, so I give a pass there, but the sense of place and space is a little blurrier here than in Librarians' entry, where the writing brings the plot together much more quickly.

      VICTORY GOES TO LIBRARIANS, CURSES, AND MYSTERIES -- OH MY!

      Delete
    8. Note: For round 1 since there's so many entries, I'm judging based on the query only!


      LIBRARIANS, CURSES, AND MYSTERIES - OH MY!

      I love, love, LOVE this concept; it sounds like a great adventure.

      This may be a stylistic preference, so take it with a grain of salt, but I'm not a fan of the "Not just any library..." structure. It seems a bit unnecessarily drawn out.

      Also, no need to mention Theodore's siblings names. None of them come up again in the query, so you can easily just replace it with "Theodore and his siblings" and cut down on the name soup a bit.


      -vs-


      A SPICY CAPER

      Transformation machine! Covert government experiments! Sounds super-intriguing!

      I am a little skeptical, however, about a stigma surrounding a kid just bc she doesn't have a father present in her life. In today's world, this isn't uncommon at all, and I'm not sure why it would be such a big deal.

      Even though it's less than 250 words, this query *seems* long, and some of the information seems repetitive or unnecessary. I'm not sure if this is because of the many paragraphs you use or because there's some "loose threads" (why did she think he was a record producer? how did she achieve her higher social status? why does she need her old friends? how is she going to lure him back?)


      Victory to...LIBRARIANS, CURSES, AND MYSTERIES - OH MY!

      Delete
  2. LIBRARIES - Your query was great. The only part I wanted a bit more explanation on was "When the books begin to fight back". Fight back against what? The villains walking the halls? The town? The strange family history? Your 250 was good, but so much of it was about Hugo that I had to go back to your query to see if I'd misread and HE was actually the MC. Try and focus in on Theo a little more. I loved the imagery of the fire ball on a block of ice.

    SPICY CAPER - Any mention of high school will immediately move a book up to YA. So you'll have to change that if you wish to keep it MG. But the attitude and voice of the MC could be YA quite easily I think. Your 250 was great. The stakes at the end of your query felt a little vague and out of nowhere. I didn't feel as I read the rest of the query like her life was in danger, but then that last line, it must be. Can you build up that idea a little bit earlier in the query?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Friendly Kombatant, K. A. Reynolds, not a judge. :)

    Libraries and Curses:

    QL: I like the query! I love the format, it adds to the intrigue, and thought your details in the beginning and middle were great. I could see myself inside sneaking around with my friends. Great job. But I'd love more on the antagonist. More details on those enemies, what they want and what's personally at stake. I agree with Dragonrider and needing a genre. I think you did great at setting up the tone, too.

    250:

    I like your 250. Just a few minor things that could help. This sentence: “It looks boring,” yawned Hugo Plumford, elbowing Lucy in the center seat to make more room for himself. If he was yawning while speaking, the words would come out wonky. You could try something like, "It looks boring." Hugo Plumford yawned. Then elbowed his sister...Also, when he says, "But I wouldn't!" Might read more complete as, "But I wouldn't be!"

    I love stories about libraries, especially sinister ones. Good luck, and congrats!

    A Spicy Caper:

    QL:

    I like the premise, but the letter is a bit long. I'd try to tighten it down to bare bones, 2 paragraphs, and give it a bit more punch.

    250:

    I felt like this was a story about a teenager here, from the events to the voice. But I did want to know more about those letters in the 250. You left me curious, and that's always a good thing. :)

    Best of luck to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Friendly Kombatant, K. A. Reynolds, not a judge. :)

    Libraries and Curses:

    QL: I like the query! I love the format, it adds to the intrigue, and thought your details in the beginning and middle were great. I could see myself inside sneaking around with my friends. Great job. But I'd love more on the antagonist. More details on those enemies, what they want and what's personally at stake. I agree with Dragonrider and needing a genre. I think you did great at setting up the tone, too.

    250:

    I like your 250. Just a few minor things that could help. This sentence: “It looks boring,” yawned Hugo Plumford, elbowing Lucy in the center seat to make more room for himself. If he was yawning while speaking, the words would come out wonky. You could try something like, "It looks boring." Hugo Plumford yawned. Then elbowed his sister...Also, when he says, "But I wouldn't!" Might read more complete as, "But I wouldn't be!"

    I love stories about libraries, especially sinister ones. Good luck, and congrats!

    A Spicy Caper:

    QL:

    I like the premise, but the letter is a bit long. I'd try to tighten it down to bare bones, 2 paragraphs, and give it a bit more punch.

    250:

    I felt like this was a story about a teenager here, from the events to the voice. But I did want to know more about those letters in the 250. You left me curious, and that's always a good thing. :)

    Best of luck to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Libraries: This sounds delightfully mysterious. My only suggestion is to add the MC's age to the query and streamline the number of characters introduced in the first 250.

    Spicy: I disagree with some of the people above. I didn't hear anything in the voice that couldn't be an older MG. I found the query a little confusing, though. I wanted to know what the MC's goal was and what would happen if she doesn't get it. Love the beach-y setting and the mysterious letters.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not a Judge, just A Kombatant. :-)

    Librarians, Curses,Oh My! :

    I love me a book about libraries. Mysterious libraries with lively librarians? Even better. Agree with folks that you don’t need to name the siblings in your query & that you need a genre. Other than that, your query is spot on. If Theodore is our hero, I’d like more of him in the first 250. Hugo sort of steals the show, and it does feel as if there’s more telling than showing. But I’d read on - and so would my students!

    A Spicy Caper:

    Query nitpicks: High-erarchy (missing r in spelling, but oh-so-clever) & watch your commas. Not a nitpick: pretty long for a query. As for the 250, have to agree with folks that this reads in a YA voice, not MG. That’s easily solved, and I’d keep reading to find out more about this sparkplug of a girl, although I’d want more happening in the first few pages.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Librarians -
    Love the opening line of your query. Without describing the protagonist, I know something important about him. I also love the concept. I would've devoured this book as a child. I also thought the stakes were well-delineated at fit the category. In the 250, I loved the description of the building standing apart 'like a wild beast among tabby cats.' I also found the adult and kid dialogue credible and so much fun.

    Spicy Caper...-
    Love the voice in the query. The use of capital letters and sarcasm worked well. The only thing that didn't work for me was 'High-erachy' -- it came across as too cute and cumbersome. Also, having the mc be in high school seemed a little old for MG -- even upper MG (though I'm no expert!). Suggest trimming out any unnecessary words, e.g., '...orders (though) especially...much-needed answers (from him).' In the first 250, perhaps substitute in a different word for 'sacrificing' in the 5th paragraph -- maybe something like 'abandoning'? Sacrificing threw me and I had to re-read.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the sound of both of these MG's! I wish I could read them right now!

    Libraries: You had me at "library." Such an intriguing concept! I thought your query was very well-written with a great MG voice. I did find it interesting that Hugo got so much attention in the first 250, but maybe that was intentional? Perhaps Theodore is more of the quiet, observant one, and his brother is more of the attention-seeker? If so, then maybe that would work to have that adorable conversation between Hugo and his father in the forefront of the novel. Love the idea of the crocodile! :)

    Spicy: I disagree about your query being too long. It looked long at first, but then I discovered that it sits right at 250 which is completely acceptable, and IMO, pretty much everything in your query has relevance. But here's a suggestion for the last line of your first paragraph: "But then a series of written clues arrive: all pointing to a father who’s not only alive, but is a covert government physicist." (I would remove about the recording producer—not needed. And it kind of takes away from the reveal that her father is alive and a physicist somewhere.)
    I really liked both your query and the voice in your 250. I know others mentioned that the voice sounded a little old for upper MG, and I guess I can see how it might, but I also think it could work as upper MG. If you did want to switch genre's though, it should be an easy fix, right? And lastly...did you mean to leave out the period (.) after Mrs in your 250? Just curious...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hot diggity, this is some quality writing!

    LIBRARY: As a self-proclaimed library geek, I fell in love with your story right away. There are areas of your query I love (your repeating sequence), but I think it can be tighter. For example, I don't need the siblings names here...keep it focused on Theo at this point. The opening 250 itself was really well executed. Only suggestion is to open with Theo's reaction rather than the building description (flip order) so it's more compelling.

    CAPER: You also have a great story cooking here, but the premise isn't quite clear in your query. Is this about her relationship with a possibly estranged (not dead) father, or about the machine? In your 25, your voice does feel more YA , so take a closer look at your char and audience. Also, since this is written in 3rd person narrative, we wouldn't "feel" Ginger as if we were in her skin, so just be aware of that.

    Good stuff and good luck to both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Librarians: In the query, the phrase 'darken its doors' caught my eye. While I can infer the meaning from the text, it threw me off balance. That aside, I loved your description of the building, especially the way in which you referred to it as a feral creature. The one other thing I have to suggest is including the age of your character in the query letter.

    Caper: Sounds like a terrific idea! I think your query is solid and can think of nothing to add to it, but regarding your 250 words, some of the words you use seem a bit too grown-up for the audience. But then again I haven't read a MG novel for a long time, so I don't think I'm a very good judge.

    Best of luck to the both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Both of these are reasonably strong entries. I like, but don't love the list about the town library. It's intriguing but I worry that it takes too much space away from the MC and storyline. I think it's worth playing with other approaches, especially as you get deeper into the contest.

    The 250 did not leave me spellbound. It seems like you know what you're doing, but there are a LOT of named characters, and the voice was not strong enough to wallpaper over the problems. Again, it's fine-- but as goes deeper into the contest, it will need to be better than fine to continue.

    As for SPICY CAPER:

    I really like the query for this. I see you describe it as an Upper MG, and I wasn't as bothered by this as some of the other judges were. I'm a librarian, and sometimes books are on in the line in between MG and YA. You want to order those books, of course, because there are kids in between that space as well. Even so, this bothered everyone else, so it may be worth changing.

    The 250 doesn't sweep me away, and I wonder if you're starting in the same place. Ginger is jogging and worried. She's apparently gotten the first note already? (I assume that's what you mean by letters.) I'm just not certain that this is right note to open on, because, while the quality of the writing is fine, I don't feel like I _have_ to keep reading it. Consider starting in a more dynamic moment.

    Victory to LIBRARIANS, CURSES, & MYSTERIES

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks to all the judges and entrants who commented. A special thanks to Kristin for the query advice, and to Zampetti for pointing out the typo in High-erarchy. I thought I'd fixed it! Good advice from those suggesting to reduce the space in the query -- I appreciate it looks longer than its 250 words.

    I was pretty surprised by the intensity of the Upper MG/YA debate. In case anyone is interested, here's my rationale:

    1. I used this definition to guide my decision (in the past I've been told the voice is too young for YA, too old for MG):
    http://thewritingcafe.tumblr.com/post/56095844286/writing-middle-grade

    "Upper Middle Grade: Resembles YA, but deviates from heavy and mature themes. For upper middle grade intended for the 13-14 age group, this genre may have some YA elements."

    2. High school in Australia commences in year 7. I knew that was going to cause trouble...

    3. Ginger's voice should sound a little older than she is, but that's because she's faking it. She's not as mature or tough as she makes out, but that's hard to get across in the first 250.

    Thanks again everyone. Lots of food for thought. Oh, and a big congratulations to Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries. I'm entranced by the concept as well!

    ReplyDelete