When I wrote my Middle Grade PG Love Scene Blogfest post, I had an idea in my head. First off, I though, “when have I ever read a love scene in a middle grade book? Oh, that’s right. Never.” Would Judy Blume have her MC fall victim to uncontrollable lust and go bang her best friend’s brother? I should hope not—otherwise, Ms Blume would not be writing for kids 8-12, and I would have a few more of her babies on my bookshelves. So I tweaked the prompt a little—and came out with my entry. Overall, I was pretty happy with it. It was a little-kid-love-scene, and it suited me just fine.
Before I go any further, I’d like to tip my hat to those of you who write MG. In a way, it’s very simple—kids don’t read complex sentences, so when you write it, the simpler, the better. Emotions are raw and character behavior is almost animalistic. But for someone who usually writes for adults…wow. It sure ain’t easy to switch writing styles.
For my entry, I took a fairly common scenario, and put my story to it (in a format fit for ages 8-12, of course). When I had finished, I asked J to read it over and tell me what he thought.
One paragraph later, J looks up and says “I don’t like it. It’s choppy…simplistic. Elementary. Nothing like your usual stuff.”
And I proceeded to panic. No lie; my first thought was I’m losing it! But then, in a rare moment of clarity, I realized that *ding ding ding* it’s okay. I’m writing a completely different genre than what I usually do. Of course it’s going to be different. And I’m writing for kids, so duh it’s going to be “elementary”.
So, is it a good thing that J didn’t like it? Considering he’s not a 10 year old girl, hell yeah it’s a good thing. He likes my adult, paranormal stuff, and this may be a stretch, but I consider it a success that my eleven year old protagonist didn’t resemble my two hundred year old vampire warrior that stars in Nightlings. Hurray! I think I can count the MG/PG Love Scene Blogfest as a successful writing exercise, because that’s what blogfests are—interactive, writing exercises.
It’s not easy for us writers to remember that not everyone is going to love our babies like we do. In fact, it’s even harder for us to appreciate that fact. How do you take your criticism? What do you do to keep from letting it get you down?