I’m delighted today to welcome author C. Lee McKenzie to my site to talk about her latest release, NOT GUILTY, as part of her MC Book Tour Blog adventure.
After you find out more about this tantalizing new story, be sure to enter Lee’s giveaway featured below.
C. Lee McKenzie On
What’s the difference between middle-grade and young adult books?
I love discussing the genres I write, so your question (What’s the difference between middle grade and young adult books?) gave me a chance to do just that.
While this issue seems pretty straight forward, I’ve found yours is a frequently asked question.
From my experience, the middle-grade story focuses on what kids in the primary grades deal with. They’re mostly concerned about friendships at school.
If they have brothers or sisters, they’re trying to negotiate relationships with them. If there’s a blended family with step-brothers or sisters and a step-parent, those, of course, would be major focuses.
In other words, most kids in the ages from eight to twelve are learning how they manage the comparatively small world they exist in, home and school being their primary life experience.
There’s an innocent awkwardness in this part of our lives that is so endearing. That is one reason I love to write stories for this age group. I like to see the characters grow and change each in their own charming way.
It’s exciting to follow their quest to find out who they are, to see them struggle with ways to cope. After all, almost everything is happening to them for the first time.
In young adult books, characters are just as central, but the plots for this age group have to be more complicated than those for middle grade. The main characters also undergo change, but this change often comes from events that happen in the larger world.
The teen reader, and therefore, the YA characters must venture into the bigger world where they influence events, and in turn, are influenced by them. Also, they’re stepping into the adult world now, and so the themes in these stories can be more mature.
And this leads me to another point that perhaps explains some of the confusion about these two book categories.
A writer can have a 35,000 word manuscript with a twelve-year-old protagonist and call the book middle grade, but if it deals with a heavy theme like child sexual abuse, I can’t see any way that a publisher’s going to market it for the middle-grade reader.
The rule of thumb (which I always get a chuckle saying or writing) is that in middle-grade books, the protagonist is about eleven or twelve, and the manuscript is about 35,000-50,000 words.
For young adult, the main character is about sixteen or seventeen, and the word count can be 65-70,000 words plus.
Writers can use this information as rough guides to determine what audience they want to reach, but they need to consider the other factors I’ve mentioned above as well.
Thanks again. Loved the question.
About C. Lee McKenzie
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.
C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. She has published five young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. Not Guilty is her most recent one.
Sometimes she likes to jump into the world of the fantastic and when she does, she writes for the middle-grade reader. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster beingthe first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, a stand-alone, takes the reader into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure.
When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot of questions about things she still doesn’t understand.
Check out what C. Lee McKenzie has to say about Marketing Strategy Here!
With Halloween celebrated this week, Lee’s giving away five digital copies of NOT GUILTY and a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. This tour-wide giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.
To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.
Thanks for stopping by today during Lee’s visit. Do you enjoy stories where the underdog becomes the champion? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway.