Insecure Writers Want to Know
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing! I’m so glad you are here. Please let me know what you think of my website. And please join my newsletter “A Dose of Life’s Adventure.” It would be greatly appreciated.
I’m honored to be co-hosting this month for Insecure Writers Support Group. My fellow co-hosts for October are: Tonja Drecker, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox! Please visit them if you can.
My favorite genre to write is contemporary adventure with a splash of danger. Where I thought I was creating young adult stories, I just learned from writer friends that, in today’s context, my stories are considered more middle grade because of their themes. Although my protagonists are about 13/14 years old, my themes are about familial relationships. MG deals with finding a place in community or family. These are the internal struggles of my many protagonists.
YA protagonists are usually 16 to 18 years old. Their themes are more egocentric in nature. The older protagonists are trying to find their place in society. The gritty topics of present-day YA culture deal with drugs, drink, violence, or sex.
I never thought about this, although I read widely. Cricket Magazine’s readership is 9 to 14 years. They’ve published quite a few of my stories. They’re considered a literary magazine.
What do you think about these kid literature parameters? Have you heard differently?
As to the best characteristics of creating young adventure stories, in my case, no one dies as a result of the danger or adventure in the plot. And by the end, both the internal relationship angst and the real danger in the plot will be resolved. I dislike stories without a solid ending. Happy or sad.
My favorite genre to read is cozy mystery. I love the whodunit! The best characteristics of cozies are the cerebral puzzle. And the solid endings. The bad guy always gets caught. Justice is served. Life doesn’t always work out. I need to write and read stories where everything works out.
What do you think? Do you like solid endings to stories? Even in a series, we need to have conclusions to the story tension of that particular book. The major themes and overarching themes can move onto the next book, but the story tension and plot of one book should come to a conclusion.
While many people signed up for my September poetry presentation, not many showed up. I tried not to let it get to me and focused my presentation to what the small audience wanted to know and discuss. How do you handle small attendance to one of your events?
My next in-person workshop event will be at the Maple Shade Library in New Jersey. If you are in the area, please stop by. I’d love to meet you. This is a free writing event for participants.
Here are the details:
Thursday, October 20, 2022, at 2 p.m.
“Tall Tales and Short Stories”
Maple Shade Library
200 Stiles Ave.
Maple Shade, New Jersey 08052
(856) 779-9767, ext. 311
Please register for the event at the Burlington County Library System.
Now I’m off to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s wonderful having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors on this writing and publishing journey.
Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again!
This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.
61 thoughts on “What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?”
The differences between middle grade and young adult make sense. Certainly young readers don’t need death in their stories. They’ll get enough of that in real life.
Thanks for co-hosting!
You are right, Alex. This is why my stories need to end happily. My pleasure to cohost for IWSG.
Thank you so much for all you do to assist your fellow writer. All best to you, sir!
Appreciated this, remembering some of my own yioung adult adventures.
Solid endings ? How often in real life ?
I love whodunit too – and equally interesting, whydunit.
Vintage – just post WWII, but ‘ Miss Pym Disposes’ is timeless.
on motive, character,
Soggy miserable day in the UK, again, hardly any colour in the trees.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Esther! I’m so glad you stopped by.
Oh so many adventures, both with my growing up family and my children. Ooo, “Miss Pym Disposes,” I’ll need to check that one out. Love the whodunits!
Thank you so much for sharing here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
Esther, I can’t find your website. When I click your name, East of the Sun West of the Moon the page can’t be found. Please provide your link so I may comment on your post. Thank you!
I think you’re pretty right about the difference between middle grade and YA though some YA characters can be 15. And upper middle grade can tackle harder issues and characters can be in more danger, especially in fantasies. Thanks for c0-hosting.
This is true, Natalie. It was explained to me that the themes differentiated the classification of YA or middle grade more than the age group.
It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!
I like stories where things work out in the end. I’m ok if there is a little openness to the ending, as long as it leaves me with a feeling of hope.
Hi! Cricket Magazine is wonderful. I’ve been thinking of them for a while. You have a lovely website and thank you for co-hosting.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Sonia! I’m so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. I love Cricket Magazine. My children read it when they were younger.
Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
I’m not familiar with the subtle difference between middle grade and young adult. However, I agree age appropriate subject matter is important.
I’d like to see resolution along with coping skills learned by the main characters. .
Kids are so stressed these days, often because their parents are unable to cope, unavailable, or on there smartphones.
Thank you for co-hosting.
Lynn La Vita @ http://la-vita.us/
Yes, I never thought about the subject matter making the distinction between middle grade and young adult. And yes, it is important if you want to get published traditionally.
You are so right, Lynn. Kids need coping skill–like the rest of us–to deal with life these days. I hope my stories are doing just that.
Thanks so much for your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
I do tend to like stories that come to a definite conclusion. Some series leave cliffhangers for the next book, which can be frustrating, but understandable.
Thank you for co-hosting.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Cathrina! I’m so glad you stopped by.
I am a reader who needs closure after a story. Series can have a larger overarching story arc, but the initial story needs closure.
Thank you for your comment. Have a beautiful week!
I write today because my mom insisted I explore books when I was young. She never said no to anything I was interested in and read to me every night, though she hated Carl Sandburg’s Rutabagga Stories because they were nonsensical. Guess what book I got with my first library card?!
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Nancy! I’m so glad you stopped by.
My mother read to me every night and I read to my kids. And now I read to my grandkids. But I don’t remember any Rutabagga stories. I’ll need to check them out.
Thank you for your comment. Have a beautiful week!
I do like a conclusion. Real life doesn’t always provide one, but I do prefer them in a story, which is probably why I really enjoy a cozy mystery from time-to-time.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Debs! I’m so glad you’re here.
Must have closure in my stories. Yes, that’s why I read cozy mystery. Thank you for your note. Have a beautiful week!
I kind of pair it up with my kids–my daughter is in middle school, so middle grade protagonists are around her same age. High school is more where YA stands, and those kids are mid-to-later teens, and then you get into New Adult, and those protagonists are college students or heading there. Usually they target the same type of emotions and situations kids in those age range are dealing with. Right now, my daughter’s concerns are having fun with her friends and surviving the overwhelming school work, which is right down middle-grade alley. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this insight here at Adventures in Writing, Loni. I truly appreciate this. Thank you for the breakdown of writing classifications. I think you are right. Sometimes readers like to read about older protagonists going through what the reader thinks will be their next step to maturity.
Great information here. Thanks again, Loni. Have a beautiful day!
I agree, Liza. I always need hope in stories. Life can be too depressing sometimes.
Thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful week!
I also like cozy mysteries. Just enough suspense and details to keep the pages turning. I also like the puzzle that we’re given to solve. And, yes, a nice tight ending is very satisfying.
Thanks for co-hosting this month!
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Mary! I’m so glad you stopped by. Cozies are nice and clean and complete. Love that! Have a beautiful day!
I can see how MG hits the sweet spot of characters who are just discovering themselves together with an aspect of jeopardy, without the edgier themes that YA takes in. Good post.
Thank you, Nick. I never thought about themes when I create stories. I was so glad it was brought to my attention.
Thanks for your kind words. Have a great day!
I do like solid-ending stories. I didn’t know about the age thing. If I’m going to write a children’s book next, I better do some research. Thanks Victoria. And thank you for co-hosting.
My pleasure, Joylene. Lots of food for thought here. It’s always a pleasure seeing you at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!
Thanks for co-hosting this month! I had heard of the definitive line between MG and YA previously. The age of the MC and the themes are a really line in the sand, it seems. MG also deals with some harder topics, like death, good versus evil, power, along with the family dynamics and friendship. I love MG and YA, still as an adult, however, especially if it is well spun. m(yes, I snuck many of my kids books after they fell asleep and enjoyed them immensely!).
I’ve written MG about death of a parent or parents, Miffie. Some have been published. And yes! I still enjoy MG and YA stories. Oh, and I snuck into my kids’ bedrooms to read the books, too. [Don’t tell anyone!]
Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
I agree with the difference in comprehension. Although the years aren’t significantly different or too far apart, the way they perceive things is different. Thank You so much for co-hosting, Victoria!
This is true, Damyanti. Again, it is the themes and what the reader is dealing with that matters in determination of MG or YA. Not so much the age of the protagonist–within a couple of years of the reader, of course.
Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a comment. Have a great day!
I didn’t, at first, recognize subject matter as a distinguishing factor in the age-appropriate designation. I figured since kids often face the same challenges as teens, all I needed was an age-appropriate solution. But that wasn’t enough to sell the story to anyone opposed to the subject matter (family death, loss of friendship). That was a detriment for me. I’m glad you brought it up. It’s so worth talking about.
I’m about as far away as one can be from you or I’d be first in line for your next event 😉 Thank you for co-hosting!
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Diedre! I’m so glad you stopped by. And thank you for sharing your insight. It’s truly appreciated.
Yes, I wish these writing events were online. The library is trying to get patrons to come back to the library. I appreciate your confidence. Have a beautiful day!
I enjoy a good adventure infused with some danger. I don’t always need a nicely wrapped up ending. Sometimes I prefer to have some loose ends so I can come up with my own alternative conclusions. On the other hand, some stories need a nicely packaged ending. I especially like those “based on real events” stories that tack on the what happened to the characters after the end of the story.
Tossing It Out
So, Arlee, you would rather come up with the ending to a story than have the author come up with the ending? I understand with a non-fiction piece that the reader should come to his or her own conclusions about the facts and examples given.
There are no right or wrong answers here. Literary stories don’t always come to a conclusive ending. I appreciate your insight. Thanks so much for sharing your opinion at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
Thank you for hosting at IWSG this month! You’ve done a lovely job here of bringing together some thoughtful ideas. What I appreciate most is that you tied this month’s question to writing first . . . digging into theme and characters and readers. I’ve never written YA or MG because I feel my writing is too gritty, though mostly historical fiction. Write on!
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Beth! I’m so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them.
And good for you writing the grittier stuff. Do your stories have happy endings? Enjoy your weekend!
I enjoyed reading about the differences in MG and YA stories. I like “solid endings” too. A book should always, always, wind up the loose threads in the story for a satisfying ending. The ones left with a cliffhanger is a gimmicky way to try and sell another book unless you alert the reader first that this book has a sequel to answer all the questions. I love Cricket magazine. Congrats on having your stories published there.
Thank you so much for your kind words, J.Q. They are truly appreciated.
I agree with you. Readers can feel cheated if the story doesn’t answer the story questions. And thank you for your good wishes. I need to hear them. Have a beautiful day!
I think you have the distinction between MG and YA pretty well. I will note that lots of MG literature has death in it, though it’s more often a starting point than an ending point. But violence and death are treated very carefully for the younger audience.
I agree about “solid endings.” I don’t really care for books that leave lots of loose ends, or that just sort of have a vague ending that leave you unsure of what just happened. Maybe that’s why I’m a mystery fan!
Yes, Rebecca, death is a starting point in a few of my MG stories as well. I can’t read or write violence to children.
I need a solid ending to story, too. Some readers could get angry if there is no end to the story. I would be.
Thanks so much for visiting Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful weekend!
Hi Victoria – it’s great you’re writing along different lines and are testing out new subjects to cover. Good luck with all your ventures – cheers Hilary
Thank you so much, Hilary. I truly appreciate your kind words. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
I, too, was told what I thought was YA was really MG. Basically, the same reasons you give. Learn something new everyday. LOL I love (and write) cozy mysteries, same reasons you give. We could be twins. Thanks for cohosting this month.
Yes we do, Diane. I am always learning. Oh how I love cozies. Bravo to you to think of all those cerebral puzzles.
Thanks so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
Oh goodness, all these writers thinking MG is the same as YA! (lies down and fans herself). In the Goodreads Great Middle Grade Reads group we have enough trouble working out what MG is, without people mixing it up with YA!
I’d say your definition is about right, although the protagonist age is on the high side. Older MG maybe 13-14, but general around 12ish.
Death is allowed in MG crime novels – which usually requires a 12 year old sleuth, no older. No blood or gore, and the death must not be of a loved one. (Including animal loved ones).
But really these days anything goes in MG which is why I’m giving the genre up.
Thanks for co-hosting this month!
(f it helps, we don’t have MG in the UK; we have older children ie. 9-12 age group instead, but it leads into ‘young teen’ Sigh.
Thank you for this fact, Jemima. I learn so much from all you wonderful writers at IWSG!
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing all this insight on middle grade writing. I truly appreciate this, Jemima! I’ll have to check out that Goodreads group. And I didn’t even know there was a MG crime novel. I really appreciate your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
The border between MG and YA seems to change a little every year. I cringe when I see MG with 14-year-old MCs usually, since they act more like teens and really don’t fit the MG voice. I’ve always been a fan of ‘tween’ fiction as a go-between, but lately, that seems to be ignored. Of course, subject matter is important, but even here, unless major things like drugs and such are at play, it can also go either way. It really depends on the voice and writing (imo).
This makes sense to me, Tonja. Thank you so much for sharing this great insight at Adventures in Writing. As I told Jemima above, I learn so much for your wonderful IWSG writers. Have a beautiful weekend!
Most of the events I’ve hosted have been small events. I always invite widely, and invite personally, and somehow that’s where it ends up. However, I have been taking part in larger group events – a literary arts group in my area hosts open mic nights for poetry readings. Those are usually larger gatherings, so I get practice reading in front of more people, and I get to meet people interested in reading what I write.
I feel like YA used to be a younger audience, but lately, it seems like MG is where YA used to be, although in my YA books, I do have more peril and not everyone ends up making it out alive – I killed off a secondary character in my first novel, and so, I call it older YA fantasy adventure because of that.
Thank you so much for this, Tyrean. I truly appreciate all your insight here. Yes, I invite personally, writer friends and newsletter recipients. Then I post online and tell them that it is unfortunately local. Your advice to connect with larger, group events is an excellent one. I just moved and need to get involved in the writing community where I live now instead of just connecting online with writers.
I think the YA/MG slide rule changes often. I just never thought about it until my writer friend explained it to me. And yes, killing off a secondary character IN the story would move it up to “older YA.”
Again, thanks for sharing this knowledge with Adventure in Writing followers. All best to you!
I write adult romance, so I am not the person to ask about MG/YA. Thanks for cohosting!
Good for you, Melissa, to write romance. A very popular genre for sure. I always enjoy a good romance. Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. Have a beautiful week!
What you said about cozy mysteries is similar to what I wrote in my IWSG post about crime fiction in general. Justice is served, and things work out. That can be so satisfying–and so unlike the real world.
Yes it can, Janet. I need closure. I need happiness when I read, if I can find it. Thank you for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a comment. Have a beautiful week!
Thanks for co-hosting this month. I love what you wrote, “Even in a series, we need to have conclusions to the story tension of that particular book. The major themes and overarching themes can move onto the next book, but the story tension and plot of one book should come to a conclusion.” Put that on a shirt and I’ll take one in every color.
Thank you so much, Toi, for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. I believe that stories need closure. Otherwise, readers may feel cheated. This doesn’t count in literary stories where more often than not, the ending can be ambiguous.
Thank you for leaving a comment at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful week!
I much prefer those solid endings too where everything has been resolved. Much more satisfying.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Lynda! I’m so glad you stopped by.
Yes, Lynda. I need the story resolved. I just feel like the author has completed his or her job with the story if there’s a solid ending.
Thanks for your comment. Please visit Adventures in Writing again. Have a beautiful weekend.