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RedBlue

4/5/21 - RedBlue - Constance Wood Stove ch2

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Hi again!

This is the second chapter. I made some changes to the opening so that C connects the spooky goings-on to the curse, but other than that the plot picks up where last week left off.

Also, after doing some market research, I’ve decided to lean towards calling this YA (not middle grade). No content warnings for this chapter.

Specific questions: 1) Is the pacing OK? Were there boring bits? 2) Was it easy to follow? Was there anything you thought you should understand but didn’t? 3) Do you feel that you have an idea where the story is going now?

Recap:

After C and her friends play on the forbidden cursed land, C notices that the contents of an essay and some old films have vanished. She sees her friend GM burn her cut hair in the Wood Stove, for reasons C doesn’t understand.

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Posted (edited)

Overall

The pacing is okay. I don't have any major complaints with it. Nor did anything feel particularly boring. Everything is still very odd and unusual, but I feel like there might be too many oddities and it leads me to be very confused. I want to know where the line is with "normal." I get that what she considers normal is different from "our normal" but I'm very unclear on what is normal and what isn't in this world. I do want to know what is up with this town, but i think there is too much going on for me to get a clear picture. So, I have no idea where this is going. I really don't know what the bigger picture is. It feels very small right now.

Another frustration I have is with our protag. I feel like C is way too trusting and her level of naivety makes me think she is very young, so I'm not sure this is in the realm of YA. I want her to think a bit more critically. I hate how she trusts GM so much and doesn't think the people around her are suspicious in anyway. C acts normal enough, but nobody else does and she doesn't bat an eye at that. At this point, I'm not sure if I would read on (i will of course tho lol i just meant as a random reader). I love the mystery but im just not willing to follow C.

The writing is smooth though and there wasn't any glaring technical errors! I read through fairly quick and was entertained throughout the whole thing :) the mystery is great.

thoughts as i go:

Pg 1

-“What could it be?” im not crazy about the distant narrator here. Feels very MG.

-i kind of want C to come to the conclusion that G-M is the only possible person to have put the earrings in the fire. Especially since you’ve moved this to only YA. edit: i guess its smart of C not to assume it was GM because later GM says they aren't hers. Gotta keep the possibilities open.

-“Since the essay and films went strange” did i miss something about films?

-“Like diamonds being shiny” im not sure what you're trying to say here. That C thinks the diamonds are too shiny and that means she’s cursed?

-“A real diamond from a magical one” oh so there’s magical diamonds? … hmm.. Perhaps you should bring this in a bit earlier, like as soon as she noticed that the diamonds look extra beautiful, she can be like “no… it cant be… it couldn't possibly be those [magical] diamonds, but they do look awfully shiny”

-“Other signs of the supposed curse” how does she know this? Where did she hear about the signs of the curse?

-“Not about shiny jewelry” wait now i'm confused, are there magical shiny diamonds or not? If she only knows that the curse makes you forget things and has never heard anything about diamonds, then why is she worried about the diamonds? Or is it just that she is worried that her mind is focusing too much on the diamonds when she normally wouldn’t and THAT is a sign of the curse? 

Pg 2

-“Strange in the sense that C does not know him” i would probably cut this part out and go straight to the hair being vines and leaves and grapes hanging off him because that is far more strange than her just not knowing him. After describing his “plantness” you could say “C has never seen anything like this.” or something like that. Edit: actually, I see what you're saying now: it's a small enough town that C knows everyone in the town so it's strange that she doesn't know him… so maybe this is fine as is. I just didn't make the connection right away.

-“Nobody has put numbers to ages since before” this is interesting, i like this. But i think it might be good info to know earlier… it really caught me off guard.

-“The never-ending present” whoa whoa whoa. Now we got some wishy washy time stuff? And a “before” time. I'm into it, but it seems like a lot on top of the curse and the stove and the vine boy. There's a lot going on in this town! And we’re only on chap 2!

-“Nothing ever happens in the town” ...really… nothing?

Pg 3

-“Everyone in the town knows everyone else’s name and face” and “it is impossible to meet a stranger”  this would’ve been a good reminder earlier when you said it was strange that she didn't know the boy

-“Ch rolls into the main room” lol

-"now, where should we put you" dad is very sus. I want to know whats up with him. also, isn't V in the room? does he think the talking bowling ball is normal? was the bowling ball actually expecting him?

-"put you up here" up where?

-"get along like a house on fire" heh... yeah... :mellow:

Pg 4

-“Some old westerns” ah, okay. Those films. WRS i guess :)

-“Except for V” kind of hitting us over the head on reminding us that he isn't from the town

Pg 5

-“C would probably think it normal” yeah the line between what C thinks is normal and what isn't is a bit blurry. Her dad being a literal ball isn't weird, but vineboy is strange? Edit: she does mention this later on, so that's good.

-“I want to get this curse” im unclear on who is saying this

Pg 6

-“Latent chosen one abilities” lol, meta

Pg 7

-“In that case, it looks like they’ll remain a mystery” this feels very stilted.

-C is very gullible and naive.

Pg 8

-“Towns like C dont have many teachers” is this repetition intentional? Is this as if C forgot that she already gave us this exact info in the previous sub? Or did you edit this out of last week’s sub? If this is intentional, it feels very lemony snicket.

-“taken aback that anyone can be produced” Is C alright… lol

-is the curse in the water? Otherwise, what was the point of us seeing that chem class?

Pg 9

-“Could GM be lying?” her? No, neeeever.

-“Im sure she wouldn't lie” girl why are you so gullible

Edited by karamel
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First off, I do want to say that I am enjoying reading this, even if I am picking it apart. You have an engaging writing style, and I think that's what's keeping my interest at the moment. The pacing is fine, but for the other two questions, see below.

1 hour ago, karamel said:

but I'm very unclear on what is normal and what isn't in this world.

This is my biggest complaint so far. The first chapter was eerie and creepy, and now we have talking plant kids and bowling ball fathers and spontaneously generated diamonds that no one seems to care about. I don't understand whether this is supposed to be nonsensical, or creepy, or somewhere in the middle, but I'm having trouble staying with the story. I was thinking it was going to be a creepy cursed town thing with the wood stove in the first chapter, but this one makes me think of more a kid's adventure where nothing really has to make sense.

1 hour ago, karamel said:

I feel like C is way too trusting and her level of naivety makes me think she is very young, so I'm not sure this is in the realm of YA. I want her to think a bit more critically.

Also agree with this. For me, it's not only that C is trusting, but that no one questions anything odd that happens. We have the setup from the beginning that the townspeople are aware that something is odd with the town, and the grownups either know and aren't saying, or don't know. This chapter it seems more that no one is even reacting to any of the strange occurrences, or treating them like they're no different from other happenings.

So overall, I thought I had an idea where this was going last chapter, but now I have no idea. I'm interested to keep reading, but someone's going to have to react, or emote, or explain something soon or I'm going to become even more disconnected from the story.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "She wouldn’t know a real diamond from a magical one."
--or from cubic zirconia or even costume jewelry, presumably, which is much more likely what a child would wear.

pg 2: "and strange in the sense that his skin is a delicate shade of green"
--I'd think the boy being not human would come before "I don't know this kid."

pg 3: "And yet, V stands before her."
--Sorry, I'm still wondering if C would be more like "wow, a talking vine person" that wondering about V being a stranger.

pg 3: "S and I have been expecting him for quite some time"
--okay...definitely weird.

pg 4: "If something unnatural is happening in town, C would probably think it normal."
--This gets into a big meta topic that I was thinking about with the last submission. If the locals are so isolated, how do they know what's natural and what isn't? I wonder about calling attention to it, because it sort of picks the story apart, but then again, that seems like that might be a theme...I'll keep it in mind as I keep reading.
--Re. not knowing what is normal: that seems to fit in V being accepted so easily as a plant person.

pg 5: "and promptly turns himself into a green raven"
--*blinks* Okaaay. Well this is continuing to be weird.

pg 6: "latent Chosen One abilities"
--I was sensing a bit of a Chosen One vibe around him.

pg 6: "Because you can turn into a raven?”
--what does that have to do with his name?

pg 6: "and the whispers stop immediately."
--the whispers about how she has a parrot on her shoulder??

pg 7: “Oh – in that case, it looks like they’ll remain a mystery"
--this might be what's bugging me. There's no emotional reaction from anyone over anything. Some of it may be deliberate for the story setting, but it's like nothing strange garners any reaction at all.

pg 8: “Stuff! Plus oxygen! Goes to! Stuff oxide! Plus carbon dioxide! Plus! Anyone?”
--I'll be honest, my eye twitched at this.
--also, pre-teens are learning chemical reactions?

pg 9: "says they’re hers, but I don’t recognise them."
--another weird thing. People comment on the fact that they don't know who the earrings belong to, not that earrings were presumably created from nothing in a wood stove...

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Overall:

I still really like the world, and the mystery of the earrings and V’s appearance are interesting, but there’s a lot of repetition in here of things the reader already knows without a clear enough focus on where things are going.  I think this section could be trimmed back a lot to focus on those more concrete mysteries, which will help, but we need more than vague feelings from C to know why she’s setting out to figure out the curse.  What is at risk if she doesn’t do that?  If she just continues to carry on with life as it is, in all its strangeness, like everyone else seems to?

1.      I think the pacing is most hurt by the repetition of things we know. Outside of that, it’s fine, but stopping to repeat things we learned last chapter slows it down a good deal.

2.      It seemed straightforward enough to follow.

3.      I am guessing C and V will be setting off to figure out what the curse is about and fix it, but I don’t have any idea what that looks like in a practical sense, which is unhelpful for me.

 

Pg 1:

“Is it… natural?” through “…enchanting.”  I like how she processes this.  The suspicion about her own mind tricking her. Depending on how much she mulls over the curse in the changes to the first section, covering the same thing here may be a little repetitive, but it depends how much time she spends processing the curse in that section. 

Pg 2:

“…pours out some chicken feed for the chickens.”  Repetition of chickens.  Can leave it as “pours out some feed…” without losing the meaning. 

“ashes bucket” -> “ash bucket”, I think.

“strange boy…right where C last mixed the ashen compost…” Our essay hero? Brought to life by Wood Stove?

“nobody has put numbers to ages since before.”  I like this line and concept, but wonder if it might be more helpful when we are first being introduced to C and the other kids.   I also wonder if “before” is going to be enough of a distinctive concept to deserve being capitalized? Or italicizing? Or something.  It wasn’t jarring or confusing reading through it here, but I also usually read a little more slowly while doing critiques, so I don’t know if I’d think there was a word missing (“before what?”)  if I was reading it in book form or not. 

“Time flowed in one direction…anywhere”  I continue to be really excited about this setting.  Time misbehavior always intrigues me as a concept.

Pg 3:

“Ch rolls into the main room-“ The part of my brain that has fully embraced the weirdness of the town of C thinks this is great. (I think @snakenaps mentioned Welcome to Nightvale? I’ve sort of stepped into the level of suspension of disbelief I had listening to those.) But I assume it’s going to be disorienting to some people.

Pg 4:

“My friends and I have been…” V might not know these things, but the reader does, and being reminded of specific details surrounding the curse too many times is going to get frustrating to readers.

Pg 3-5:

The dialogue through here is a little clunky and repetitive, and could likely be trimmed back.  V’s mannerisms and language seem to be intentional, but the repetition of things the reader knows about the curse and the wordiness of C’s side of the dialogue make the distinction less clear.  It might help to have C observe the strangeness of his language to herself.  Her confusion and bewilderment are mentioned a couple times, which helps, but adjusting the wording of her responses to reflect that as well would convey the feeling more strongly. Even if she’s the type to go with the flow and just assume that most weird things are part of life in C, we need to get a clear idea of the things she does find odd. And some of that should come across in her dialogue.  Cautious pauses. Skeptical looks and phrasing.

Pg 6:

“C has, thus far, refrained from commenting…cannot pass without remark.”  This sort of thing is what I was thinking might be more helpful closer to the initial observations of V.  Even if she intentionally doesn’t comment on it before but feels like she has to at this point.

Pg 8-9

 The chemistry class is distorting my concept of the apparent age of the kids (even if literal ages aren’t really relevant). It’s hard to picture the same group of kids playfully goofing off in the cursed lands outside town sitting down to learn chemistry.  And if the specific topic of the lesson isn’t directly relevant to the plot, it could probably be trimmed back a bit.  It feels like it’s more detailed than it needs to be if the point of it is to just show that they have chemistry class that day.   The fact that any mention of chemistry classes makes me a little twitchy probably doesn’t help on that front.

Pg 9-10:

The conversation between C and V doesn’t seem to tell us much we don’t already know, and while looking for suspicious things is something in the way of character goals, having a more specific idea of how they plan to go about that, but I’d like to see the goals and motivations be a little more focused.  I’m not convinced C has real motivation to dig into the secrets of the curse, and I’d like to see what specific things she’s hoping to do to find her answers.

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Overall: 

Your writing flows well and is engaging to read. I have some criticisms about your story, but part of my wants to withhold all of them until I see how things play out. I guess my biggest criticism so far is how quickly the tone is changing. It started off as mysterious and slightly off and now it's full-on absurd.

For your questions:

1. The pacing was alright, nothing felt too slow or quick considering the word choice and sentence structure. I think the introduction of absurdity with V was a bit too quick for my liking, but I'll reserve that judgement until more of the story is revealed. As I said, I think the tone shifted too quickly, but maybe I never had the right sense of tone anyway.

2. I wasn't too confused by anything happening. I feel like the naivety of C was somewhat confusing but it's still early.

3. No, I have no idea where the story is going. I could guess, but it's pretty open so far. I'm secretly hoping that it's C's descent into utter madness, but somehow I doubt that.

All that being said, I still really like the story.

 

As I read:

pg 1 - "She wouldn’t know a real diamond from a magical one..." are we equating the curse with magic? Perhaps you could reword this to reinforce the possibility that these diamonds are connected to the curse rather than there being a stand-alone magical occurrence.

pg 4 - I don't mind absurd things happening in stories, but I feel like this V character is a bit much. Turning into a raven? Alright, it's not an issue, it's not going to stop me from reading the story, but there is a selfish part of me that wanted to see the slow decline into absurdity. This is a bit jarring.

pg 6 - "...I suspect it may be a subtle precursor to the unveiling of my latent Chosen One abilities." lol great.

"C is pleased to find out that her new friend has special talents." For someone who is evidently weary of the proposed curse on the land, C seems awfully unphased by V. 

pg 7 - I'm getting mixed messages about C's relationship with the other children. I thought they were all friends and now it feels like they're ostracizing her, and it all happened rather quickly but C seems to not pay much mind to it? Though I am intrigued by G-M being worse for wear.

pg 9 - I'm a bit annoyed by how naive C comes across as. She reads like she's on anti-psychotic medication like she's dulled down somehow.

 

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Hey hey I'm actually here early in the week. Time to see what I can do to (hopefully) help this story along :) 

As I go:

pg 1: Are magical diamonds a known thing in this world? Context makes me think no but the way it's worded makes me think yes. 

pg 2: The idea of cultural conceptions of nonlinear time is super interesting to me. For the vast majority of (at least western) history, people didn't really think of time as linearly moving forward as much as we do now, and much more focus was on cycles. Idk if this is just a side note but it really caught my attention. 

pg 3: as others are saying, I don't think this fits YA at all. C is too young, and calling your parents for help when something weird shows up is not something a YA protag typically does. I think it was Snakenaps who said this feels more like middle-grade, and I agree. I know @shatteredsmooth (sorry to bug you) writes middle-grade, so maybe they can offer additional insight into the genre if they have the time.

-okay the parents' reaction here has my attention. There's definitely something weird going on...

pg 4: I like C taking some time to think about this. Knowing that she doesn't understand this world makes me more okay with not understanding it too. 

pg 5: V's supposed to come off as a kid about C's age and the way he talks is supposed to highlight an oddity about him, right? I'm pretty sure that's what's happening but I think it could be a little clearer. 

pg 6: Not sure whether to be amused by V or annoyed at him. I'm fine being in this limbo for now, though, and I'm watching his character closely.

-Lol I didn't even think that V could be short for the last half of raven

-so I guess most (presumably western) semi-modern cultural ideas like pirates with parrots are familiar to these people? Makes sense since they have TVs, but I feel like this defeats the feeling of them being cut off from the rest of the world. 

pg 7: I wonder if people who are close (I guess physically close) to C get smacked by the curse. I feel like the other kids would be even more distant from her than they are right now if that were the case, though. 

-seems like everyone knows more about the wood stove than C does, and she lives with it. What does she think of that?

pg 8: Didn't we go through the "teachers have to teach multiple sections because there are like five students total" last submission? 

- I feel like a dum-dum for not knowing the hydrogen/water answer lol. Someone take away my science degree. Though I also don't know if "stuff" is the best way for the teacher to frame that... though I also guess he doesn't have to be a good chem teacher since he's the only one. 

 Overall:

On 4/5/2021 at 5:09 AM, RedBlue said:

Specific questions: 1) Is the pacing OK? Were there boring bits? 2) Was it easy to follow? Was there anything you thought you should understand but didn’t? 3) Do you feel that you have an idea where the story is going now?

1. I think the pacing itself was fine. There was nothing that was boring to me, though unfortunately I can't say I was 100% hooked either. Because while the pacing was good, I'm still not sure I understand the point of everything going on. The main thing is that I'm not sure how to read V. Should I believe him when he says he's a hero from outside? Circumstances point towards him being part of the curse (especially with his physical appearance and powers), but there are enough references to "chosen one" stories that I'm wondering if I'm supposed to buy into that. 

2. Nothing in particular. I think the issue is less that I don't understand X thing and more that there's not enough understanding in general to keep me hooked. Put another way, I'm fine with there being uncertainty in some areas, but I want there to be some clearer dynamics for me to follow in other areas. I think the story has to decide what that wants to be, and it could help to set up a conflict for C based around it. So far, V's arrival doesn't feel like a conflict so much as something that happened that C doesn't know what to make of. 

3. Honestly, not really. I could see a version of this story where V is the hero and it follows C in more of a supportive role as they unravel the mysteries of the town. I could see another version where V is C's creation through the curse and she starts to spawn increasingly sinister creatures, which could either involve V turning on her or sticking at her side. I could see yet another version where V identifies C as the source of the curse and tries to kill her in a monster hunter sort of way and the story is about her scrambling to survive when everyone is against her. 

I think that covered most of what I wanted to say. There are no real glaring weakness of the chapter, which is great, but I think that unfortunately leaves you with the harder task of pushing it that extra bit in editing to take it from good to great. Best of luck! :)  

 

 

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Overall

As always, your writing flows nicely and is easy to read. However, issues that started with the last submission only snowball here. The lack of arc is a problem, as is the lack of C's emotion and investment. I need something to happen, or for C to engage with the plot, or to get excited about something. Everything is very dream like and detached, and that makes me not really care about the characters or the setting. 

I have the same general complaints as everyone else - I don't know what is 'normal' and C is far too trusting/non-emotive. I think if you can make C more engaging, both with her world and the events and characters, it will clear up a lot of the issues.

 

As I go

- pg 1: this is all still very internal. I'd like her to talk more, or interact more

- pg 2: why does she not react more strongly to the green boy? C doesn't seem to emote much, if at all, which means I don't get pulled into the narrative. If nothing is exciting or noteworthy to her, then it isn't to the reader, either

- pg 4: There’s more to the curse than she realised. <-- I am so confused. I need more to go off of, and more emotions. The writing is fine but I feel like we are being purposefully not given enough information to get invested, and C doesn't seem to do much more than ride the ebbs and flows of the plot

- pg 6: I have been able to use my raven form for as long as I can remember. I suspect it may be a subtle precursor to the unveiling of my latent Chosen One <-- V breaks the fourth wall and C doesn't even react. This just further distances me from the narrative

- pg 8: which is of course the only school in the town <-- we are getting a lot of redundant information from last time

- the lack of arc in each sub is also not helping with investment

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Thanks for the feedback!

 

I’m making some changes to the way C reacts to things, to make her more involved and less naive. I’m also rewriting a chunk to try to fix the tone issues. 

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On 4/6/2021 at 7:36 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 3: as others are saying, I don't think this fits YA at all. C is too young, and calling your parents for help when something weird shows up is not something a YA protag typically does. I think it was Snakenaps who said this feels more like middle-grade, and I agree. I know @shatteredsmooth (sorry to bug you) writes middle-grade, so maybe they can offer additional insight into the genre if they have the time.

 

I write both middle grade and YA, but I am very behind and haven't read any of these yet. When I do start getting caught up, I'm sure I'll have some insight. 

 

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On 4/5/2021 at 5:09 AM, RedBlue said:

Also, after doing some market research, I’ve decided to lean towards calling this YA (not middle grade). No content warnings for this chapter.

 

Why? This seems perfect for middle grade. The voice sounds like mg and the character sounds way to young for YA. If you want to make this YA (which I think would be a bad idea) then you would need to really change the voice and make the narration much closer. 

In terms of market, if you are going to traditionally publish, heard YA fantasy very overcrowded right now. A lot of mg writers are know are finding agents much quicker than the YA fantasy ones I know. Agents seem to have more room on their list for mg, and the spooky stuff is still in demand. 

As I read comments:

The earnings in the fire place caught my attention. 

Cucumber boy is interesting. 

The line about time moving funny seems to explain a  lot about the town and my confusion as to when the story was set. This would've been worth knowing sooner. 

Constance bringing V into house to meet her parents is a good example of why this feels like mg, aside from the voice, tone, and age. In YA, when a strange boy shows up, the mc doesn't usually bring him to meet her parents. Usually it's more like hiding him from the parents, and in a lot (but not all) YA, this would be the "meet" for the romance subplot. 

I did enjoy the parents reaction and C's confusion about it. 

The interaction between C and V works well if this is MG because they both seem so young and naive. I think a YA protag would be more suspicious and less open to his help so quickly. 

"father looks like a man sized bowing ball and mother looks lie a skeleton" okay, so I am now thinking I should be taking this literally. Which works much better for mg than it would for YA, in my opinion, anyway.

"...can't be fully qualified to teach all those subjects..." Why ? It's not like it's a super adcvanced grad level class or anything and there is a lot overlap between math and science. I think it's common in elementary or middle school to have people teach math and science. I am 90% sure my sister-in-law teaches both to her 5th graders. I think in her school, there are "STEM" teachers.

"I'm sure she wouldn't lie about something that cost so much" I am sure she would, lol But C is young and naive, so this works. 

This section was much better than the last! I was engaged the whole time. And if you are going to call this mg, I really don't have many suggestions for changes. But if it's YA, it would need a major overhaul. 

On 4/5/2021 at 5:09 AM, RedBlue said:

1) Is the pacing OK? Were there boring bits

I liked the pacing. I did not get bored at all.

On 4/5/2021 at 5:09 AM, RedBlue said:

2) Was it easy to follow? Was there anything you thought you should understand but didn’t?

It was easy to follow and a lot of the things that confused me about last time were cleared up. I know to take certain descriptions more literally and know not to try to pin pint this to a specific time period. Granted, I would've been more engaged in the first part if I hadn't been so confused about those things. 

On 4/5/2021 at 5:09 AM, RedBlue said:

3) Do you feel that you have an idea where the story is going now?

I am guessing they are going to save the town and also figure out why it is the way it is? It's a little vague, but I am fine with that. 

 

Overall, this is fantastic middle grade. The tone, the descriptions, the character, the reactions, and even the concept all work fantastic for middle grade. I say this as someone who wrote YA for years and then did a ton of research when switching to mg. I know both genres very well. It is hard sometimes to specifically explain the difference, but this just feels like middle grade. If you want to make it YA you would need to do a major re-write and then you would be forcing it to be something it is not. I strongly recommend you call this middle grade, not YA. 

 

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1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Overall, this is fantastic middle grade. The tone, the descriptions, the character, the reactions, and even the concept all work fantastic for middle grade. I say this as someone who wrote YA for years and then did a ton of research when switching to mg. I know both genres very well. It is hard sometimes to specifically explain the difference, but this just feels like middle grade. If you want to make it YA you would need to do a major re-write and then you would be forcing it to be something it is not. I strongly recommend you call this middle grade, not YA

Thank you for this insight - I was struggling to know what genre was the best fit. I’m going to settle on calling it middle grade :)

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1 minute ago, RedBlue said:

Thank you for this insight - I was struggling to know what genre was the best fit. I’m going to settle on calling it middle grade :)

You're welcome! I'm not sure what you typically read, but I find that a good way to get a feel for the difference to read an mg and YA book really close together. I find that way more helpful than reading articles or websites about what books for each group or genre are supposed to be like. 

These are a different genre than yours, but Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale is YA, and Sofiya Pasternack's Anya and the Dragon is MG. I find these two books have some overlap in setting, the folklore they draw from, and have some overlap in themes, however one is YA and the other MG. Reading them close together is a good way to really get a feel for the difference between mg and YA. OR find an author who writes both and read one of their mg and one of their YA books. Like Holly Black. If you read Doll Bones or Spiderwick Chronicles, then went and read The Darkest Part of the Forest or The Cruel Prince right after it, again, I think it would really highlight the difference.

If you have any mg specific questions or want any recommendations for mg books to read, let me know!

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