The next step will be to have a few adults read it for proofing and feedback. I decided to have them read it first in case there is anything confusing in the story that I need to fix. Once I have smoothed out all the kinks, the moment of truth will be to read it to my kids. Yikes!
I made the mistake of reading the first draft to the kids before it was done. That was a lesson learned! I should have waited until it was completely done and polished. They lost interest on the first page. After reading it over to myself, I realized that it wasn't exciting enough and maybe a bit confusing.
I stopped reading it to them and I went back to increase the suspense, humor, and fixed the confusing sentences.
Writing for younger readers wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. I had to write shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs which wasn't the problem. It was thinking of the vocabulary that age group uses and the humor they respond to. I had to go back and change words to make them more understandable for younger kids.
I wasn't exactly sure what I could get away with in the content. R. L. Stine has gotten away with killing and maiming some characters, so as long as I didn't go beyond that I felt like I wasn't breaking any rules. I hope. We’ll see.
I’m planning on looking for an agent to shop this one around. I’m sure someone will let me know if anything is inappropriate for young children. I haven’t added anything my own children can’t handle.
Overall, I felt that writing a middle grade book was restricting. I prefer to write YA novels where I can add romance, bigger words, and scarier content.
Now I have a deeper respect and admiration for writers like R. L. Stine who writes the Goosebumps books and even Barbara Park who writes the Junie B. Jones series for an even younger readership. Writing a book that keeps a child’s attention all the way through over and over again is an accomplishment!