The Rules of Middle-Grade Storytelling
First of all, Middle Grade is not a genre. It’s demographic and covers the ages from 8 to 12. You can find the characteristics of MG fiction like:
– The stories must contain no profanity or graphic violence.
– The romance should be limited to crushes and first kisses.
– Main characters are roughly between the ages of 10 and 13.
– The story’s length is typically between 30,000 and 50,000 words long and voiced in the third person.
– Characters typically react to what happens to them within their immediate world, focusing on friends and family.
– The protagonist (and narrator) generally do not delve too much into self-reflection but instead focuses on real-life situations.
Well, that is very nice, but I need more practical advice. And what I found in my own experience telling stories is the rules of MG storytelling. Here they are.
– Every story must contain mystery, and
– Mystery should cause the problem to protagonist, but
– Protagonist should be able to solve the problem, and
– Find out what the mystery was about, but
– It should not be easy.
Give to your protagonist:
– A friend(s)
– A skill
– An artifact
– Personal language (or funny buzzwords)
– Something or somebody making him/her/it mad
– Something or somebody making him/her/it happy
Take from your protagonist:
– Care of adults
– Adults helping protagonist to solve the problem
– Long descriptions
– Complicated plot
– Mysteries without answers
– Bad end
– Death of main characters
– Gadgets (you may invent any fantastic gadgets, but don’t use real one – they simple may become obsolete in year or two. Remember – you telling story to guys, who are living now and has no nostalgia)
– Weird creatures/monsters
– Bulling and successful antibullying
Hope it will be helpful for you.
Good luck with your storytelling and writing!