Jeff is amazingly knowledgeable about the Middle Grade genre, and shared with us his tricks of the trade. Among these are:
- Middle Grade spans from about 3rd grade to 7th grade, and the protagonist should be at the upper end of those ages
- Short chapters equals happy kids who might get mom to read "just one more" (1500 words or less)
- Each chapter should be a complete story
- Kids are fanatical about the rules of the worlds they play in, so you better get it right ALL THE TIME or they'll call you on it
- You have only a few paragraphs to catch a kid's interest... and you can lose it just as fast
- Girls and boys are much more similar at that age... but girls still like a bit of romance
- Kids like scary stuff, but make it safe scary
He has a new series coming out in 2013: CASE FILE 13, starting with ZOMBIE KID.
For about an hour and a half, Jeff shared his wisdom with us. You can download the MP3 here, listen to it below, or subscribe to the Authors' Advisory podcast here.