Tuesday, April 06, 2004

A friend emailed me today - she had just been to a children's writers' conference in Sacramento. Very interesting as all the speakers were publishers and editors. This is the kind of conference I wish we had in Australia - where you get to hear editors talking about what they want, how to submit etc. At least one of them works for a publisher that doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts, yet at the conference she told attendees how to send to her directly.
One issue that came up is that of writing for middle grade. It seems that the preferred page length is 80-140 pages, no more, no less. This seems like a big leap to me from chapter books up to middle grade. Ms pages for a chapter book would come in at around 40 tops. Is there a middle ground between these two? If so, who is doing it?
Finished "Breaking Point" by Alex Flinn today. Very good, with a redemptive ending that didn't make things turn out all happy. There is something about having a main character who learns something about themselves. The whole change/growth thing. And she manages to also send a message - all those kids who get picked on and harrassed at school because they're different, i.e. don't fit the mould, well this author makes one of those kids real and presents a believable point of view. "Desire Lines" felt unreal to me, almost too excessive and yet it is probably based on a true event. I've struggled long and hard with that problem before - to say "but it really happened" just doesn't cut it in fiction.

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