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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

28: J. Scott Savage on Middle Grade Voice

Our guest tonight writes as J. Scott Savage, mainly because "Jeff Savage" was already taken (by another Middle Grade author who writes about sports--not fantasy). He goes by Jeff, but answers to just about anything now. He is friends with James Dashner and Nathan Bransford. They have a podcast together, called WordPlay Podcast.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this interview. It's always nice to get some pointers on middle reader novels. I especially liked what Jeff had to say about keeping things lively as the story progresses.

    Also, I now have another podcast to download (Wordplay).

    -- david j.


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