Monday, January 23, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - A Critique

Today for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I don't have a published book to review, as I've been spending my reading time critiquing a critique partner's middle grade novel.  Obviously I'm not going to share any of it except to say that it is a great story and someday you should all have the chance to read it when it's published!

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!