This experience has led me to wonder, for the writers out there, do you find it easy or hard to critique a manuscript for middle grade, or even young adult? This was my first critique of a full middle grade manuscript. I've read plenty of picture books, short stories and shorter works, but never a full manuscript. I found that for me, when reading an entire ms, it is much easier to read and jot thoughts down as I'm reading and then make comments at the end. When I tried to critique and catch everything, it took much too long (I think she wondered if I would ever finish reading the ms:) ) and I wasn't able to focus as well on the big picture and themes as they ran through the book. About 3/4 of the way through, I switched methods and was able to really focus and enjoy the story more. Granted if a writer wants a more detailed critique, then I would be more than happy to oblige, but I also need to realize that it may take me longer than usual.
The other thought that has occurred to me lately is how much I have been missing when I wasn't reading middle grade books. When I was young I loved to read, but the time just wasn't there as I got older and went to college, got married and had kids, etc. But when I decided I wanted to be a writer and follow the advice of reading in your genre, I fell in love with middle grade all over again. I rarely read adult literature, and I have found I don't miss it that much. Yes, I will read new Debbie Macomber books, women's fiction or the occasional classic, but middle grade is just as satisfying a read and most of what is in my to-read list.
So what do you guys think? Any critiquing comments or middle grade love to share? Comment away!