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children's fiction; anyone else stuck on age groups?

(18 Posts)
stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 11:13:45

i've got my plot, characters etc, but i have read too much about word counts and age groups - 20,000 + for 8 plus fiction, less for 5-8yr olds. my idea is more for 7,8,9 yo types so am a bit floundering as have read stand alone novels are no go for new writers in under 8 age group. help me start the blinkin' book!

Litchick Tue 07-Oct-08 12:34:37

Hi there.
I can't see any reason why a standalone is a no go for under eights.
True, any agent/publisher will want to be very sure that you have at the very least one other idea ( one hit wonders are unprofitable to say the least ) and series books are very saught after. But that shouldn't exclude any good standalone per se.
Word cont for that age range should be about 20-30k but don't be too prescriptive. As long as you show you understand the market to some degree you should be okay.
Now get on with writing. These anxieties are DISPLACEMENT ACTIVITY.

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 13:51:16

i know! i have read a couple of how to books, both saying standalone is a no go for new writers in ubder 8s and that that age group is all about series reads (generic stuff under an umbrella, like rainbow fairies etc). what are you writing?

Litchick Tue 07-Oct-08 13:57:54

I write crime fiction.

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 14:01:54

i have just edged into reading that as a preference to chick lit. how graphic are your crimes? i can't cope with tmi!

UnquietDad Tue 07-Oct-08 14:07:40

It's true that series are the booming area for under-8s. Depressingly, most of them are driven by the likes of Working Partners and not genuine, individual authors coming up with new ideas. WP come up with the scenarios, contact agents who then ask their writers to produce sample chapters, and some are commissioned on the basis of this.

The perfect example is the "Daisy Meadows" Rainbow Fairy books. Not badly written, but just identikit and dull and repetitive, with no streak of unpredictability or anarchy. "Daisy Meadows" does not actually exist - she is a committee of writers. If you look inside the book you'll see under "with thanks to" there is the name of the actual writer...

Litchick Tue 07-Oct-08 14:10:55

Pretty graphic - but not gratuitous - I hope!!!!
Have had a bit of a run in with my editor about one scene in my latest book which she wanted to 'spice up.'
It's a fine line and one I feel I have to remain comfortable with ultimately.
How many words are you in to your children's book?

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 14:11:29

That's what's so depressing. Almost like staff writers. However, the guy that 'found' harry potter did say that he would like more novels for under 8s (completely contradicting all my other 'research'.

Litchick Tue 07-Oct-08 14:13:06

Stroppy - I think there's always a market for something good, even if it flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
Look at Sally Nichols. A book about a kid dying should have been such a no no and she's sold in over twenty countries.

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 14:14:47

About 3,000 lit chick. I am v superstitious so I haven't told anyone about it. Also, when I dabbled with the idea of journalism many years ago, I faxed an idea (as requested) to a features writer and then read the article in the magazine several months bit paranoid. This is my first go at writing anything major - I've spent years wanting to and getting the odd thing published (magazine competition, piece of prose sort of thing) so I think I am scared of someone saying, actually you are a bit pants, and my dreams are over! How sad! Spice up?

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 14:15:11

Good point. X post.

Litchick Tue 07-Oct-08 14:23:47

Ahhh - you are still in the 'can I really do this?' phase.
This, like all things, will pass.
I think most people know if they can write or not - in the same way that you know if you can paint or play music. I suspect that you know you can do it wink.
Though it is frightening you will have to bare all one day, you know?
In the meantime you are nearly a quarter of the way through. Keep going. How about knocking the rest out in NaNoWriMo?

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 14:26:00

NaNoWriMo? Was thinking of knocking it out tomorrow am when 3 out of 4 kids are at school/nursery...Thanks for encouragement. How near are you to completing? Are you tweaking at the moment? Have to go get kids and embark on swimming/drama/dinner crusade but will awit update. smile

Litchick Tue 07-Oct-08 14:29:48

Have only just finished editing book three so am 'resting'. That said, I'm contracted to get book four to my publishers next Easter so really should be pulling my finger out and stop fannying on here wink.
Dispalcement activities today..
MNet ( natch), cleaning up for in laws arriving, listening to radio four, ironing ( jeez things must be bad).

UnquietDad Tue 07-Oct-08 14:33:43

They need more books for boys aged 7-10 apparently. That's the really under-represented area.

stroppyknickers Tue 07-Oct-08 19:45:20

that's so interesting as dd (9) has turned to what i would class boys fiction in despair at the whole boyf/ tv star/ pony stuff aimed at her! seems our library stocks loads of fantasy/ horror/ ghost stuff.
love displacement list. radio 4 surely allowed as background. now i want to go and buy your books litchick - displacement for me!

Litchick Wed 08-Oct-08 12:19:31

Stroppy - everyone always says that boys fiction is the holy grail but it's girls that buy books buy the truck load so most publishers will still snatch up any decent girls'fiction. There's a huge market and good books will get through and do every single day.
Whenever I hear people saying 'There's no market for ....' I think bullshit, bullshit, bullshit...there is always a market for what will sell.

stroppyknickers Thu 09-Oct-08 16:52:35

hi think you may be my little nudging voice! will get on with it and ignore the writing guides calling mt to 'research' them! tell me what i can read of yours - v nosy interested...

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