Author Stuff · Writing Tips

How I Know I was Meant to be a Middle-Grade Author

Hopefully you know by now that I’ve made the switch from writing YA fantasy to now writing MG fantasy. I’ve been thinking lately that it’s always been obvious that I am better suited to children’s fantasy than young adult or teen fantasy, and here’s why…

I can be poetic and whimsical and silly with my writing

I know that it should go without saying that any book (no matter the genre or target audience) can be poetic and whimsical. I just feel that with children’s books, it’s more of a given. It’s sometimes expected and appreciated.

I like that.

I like that I can be more free with my sentences and craft something more weird and wonderful.

More fun and free and playful with plot and characters

The same goes for the plot and characters. With a children’s book, they can be more fun and playful. You can be less restrictive and follow less rules. Kids have bigger imaginations, and so they want you to feed it. They don’t want something that makes sense, essentially, they want to see the impossible and that allows me to be more fun and free with my ideas.

The characters can be utterly absurd and a child will love it, and I’ll love creating them! Whereas a teenager or an adult may find the same character “silly” or “weird”.

I’m not as well-educated

Now let me say a big disclaimer here before someone yells at me! I am in no way AT ALL saying that children’s authors are less intelligent. In no way am I saying that writing a children’s book is easier than any other, either. Because it’s not! It’s perhaps even harder because you have to find your inner child and channel that so that you don’t patronise, undersell, or completely ruin the whole child character and plot thing through lack of understanding and appreciation for what a kid of today is actually like.

No, what I’m saying is that with a children’s book, I feel less pressure to use fanciful, well-educated wording that I hold my hands up to not knowing. I don’t feel the pressure to be scientific and explain big elaborate plots. Again, don’t get me wrong, my plot is pretty big and so is the world I’ve created – because children do appreciate and can handle that – but the pressure is still less. This works for me and my mind.

*Obviously, in no way could I say that writing children’s books is easy or simple or for the undereducated. All I have to say is Harry Potter (a children’s series, essentially) and we all know that I would be a fool if I actually thought any of that was true. It’s the most complicated, well thought out, brilliant piece of modern literature so…*

I’m a kid at heart still!

I feel like I’m still a kid. At 23 years old, it was not too-too long ago that I was a teenager. When speaking to older people, it’s not uncommon for me to still be called a kid. And it’s true, I’m still very young. I’ve not experienced a lot of “adult” things like; buying a house, a car, a mortgage, furniture…all those adult things.

So, being a kid in truth means I like writing child characters. I like writing for children. Childhood was the best time of my life, better than teenhood. Teenhood was incredibly complex and uncertain but childhood, that was magical! I want to write in that time.

I love magic and I prefer reading middle grade

I’ve always liked Harry Potter. I also love Percy Jackson and the other Rick Riordan books. I love Avatar the Last Airbender (still to this day) and Korra, too. Yes, I love Game of Thrones (an adult series) but essentially, I’m very much into the children’s fantasy worlds. So, it seems like a no-brainer that I write children’s magic and fantasy books, too.

I’ve never truly got into reading YA fantasy, so perhaps that’s why I was meant to write MG fantasy instead…

I’m more about the world and animals and powers and craziness than anything else

With YA fantasy, there’s nearly always a need for love. There’s romance and complexities and complicated feelings and darkness. But what I’ve always loved and preferred is the worlds in general. The magic. The craziness and absurdities and making life a little less…realistic. This seems to be more common in children’s books than young adult books. It’s all about characters and fun times and magic and powers – and that’s right up my alley.

And so, I want to write and create that for my own books.

If you’d be interested in a blog post about my current middle-grade fantasy book (it will be a series) about Elle Evans and the angel world, let me know!

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