Friday, November 4, 2011

What Kids Demand in a Novel

I came across an interesting article in the October 29 Weekend edition of the WSJ, by novelist, Maile Meloy, "What Kids Demand in a Novel." I've been asking myself this question for years.

The article answered this question. I have condensed the points she made:

1. Don't worry about what category the book belongs in. Just write it.
2. Don't write down. Kids read up.
3. When you do have to explain things, it can't feel like an explanation. Try to tell your story through mentors or other characters, preferably while "on the move."
4. Stuff has to happen. Right from the beginning. Kids are highly critical and they lose interest quickly.

Thank you Ms. Meloy. I'm keeping your list taped to my computer.


  1. I saw this article also. Excellent.

    I like her point that you shouldn't worry about publishing while you're writing.

  2. Sometimes the simplest advice is the best advice.

  3. Great, simple and true. I especially like the 'don't write down; kids read up' part. I find I have to keep in mind that even though my character is 12, readers might be 10 or younger, and that's okay. The story is a new world to younger kids, which makes it interesting. I also watch my eight-year-old tear through the fifth Harry Potter book with great passion -- and he's not worried about the few words he doesn't know. He just loves the story.

  4. These points could apply to picture books as well. As Meloy stated in point four, a PB must start with a bang, both in the writing and the illustrations. I like how Meloy stresses the importance of telling the story "on the move" in point three. We need to keep the the action flowing and the pages turning. Thanks for sharing!