Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Middle Grade + Sentence Clarity

2015 releases! I'll be a 15er!
How's everyone doing? I'm writing gung-ho on my new middle-grade novel, back into the swing of it after abandoning it for 5 months while I moved from California to Oregon in the fall and did some artwork for my website-programmer brother.

I've read MG novels are generally 20,000-55,000 words. For upper MG like I'm writing, I'm aiming for somewhere around 35-55K. So far I have 36K and am nearing writing the final climax scenes. Should be about right! Anyway, I've been doing that writing instead of *coughcough* stuff like blogposts.

At this rate, I've written half my MG novel in 4 weeks, and will finish the book within another 4. (Helps that it's a shorter novel, though.) My usual speed for rough drafts is 3-4 months. I haven't ever tried NaNo, attempting to cram 50K words into one month of writing. That's a bit TOO fast for me, and I like to have a semblance of a life and sanity while I work.

I was recently excited to find my contracted YA novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It's available for preorder, and not only that, I discovered it had a release day set for September 1 instead of October 6 like I'd thought! I confirmed that with my editor, and plan to do launch parties and blog tours around September 1, 2015. Woo! I've seen my cover mockup too, people, and I like it!

I caught myself writing a sentence similar to this a few days ago:

Kara bounced and smiled in her high heels.

Not sure about the clarity of this, so I decided to reword it. Someone can BOUNCE in high heels, but can someone SMILE in high heels? I'm thinking not. The "and" sentence structure implies she's doing both in her high heels.

Is this anyone's pet peeve besides mine? Snuck is NOT the past tense of sneak. Sneaked is. I constantly see this word in printed and published books. I'd definitely be okay using it in dialogue—because people really do talk that way—but…the narrative?? Eeek. (Sorry, Grammar Queen peeve, here. Although if you look it up, I suppose you'd find "snuck" is becoming more widely accepted.)

Do you find it difficult to get back into a project after you've been away for a while?
How long does it take YOU to write a rough draft of a novel? (no wrong answer, here)
How do you feel about the word SNUCK? :)


  1. Congrats on the releases dates.
    First question - It depends on the project.

  2. My rough drafts always feel like they take forever. I'm impressed by your speed. Congratulations on your release dates. I'm sure you must be floating. Hope you are enjoying Oregon.

  3. Congrats, Carol! I do sometimes find it difficult to get back into a project that I had let stew for a time. I just force myself to sit down and pretty soon it's going good.

  4. That's fabulous that your release was moved up! Woo hoo! And good luck with your adventures in middle grade.

    I am no fan of snuck nor of alright, but my friend the lexicographer with M-W says language is fluid, and with enough published sources of a word, the wonky impostor will be added to the dictionary. That's already the case with both of these words.

  5. Although I consider myself a B+ in the grammar department I think I've used snuck before, as in, he snuck in the back door - but it is underlined in red here which means dammit, it probably isn't a real word. As for how long a rough draft takes me...I'd say around 9 months. I'm slow.

  6. I've looked at several sites that differ in word count for MG. My current MG draft is 20k, but I'd like to beef it up. My published MG book of last year was around 35k.

    I can't wait to read your book.

    1. I need to correct my post--MG is 20K to 55K, but what I'm writing is UPPER MG, for ages 10-13, so it will be on the longer side. Your 35K was probably just fine, and depending on your current manuscript, 20K might even be okay. :)

  7. Maybe snuck is the new sneaked ;) Language does evolve afterall ;) giggle...

  8. Happy happy happy for you Carol!! I love that you are getting so close to publication and you are moving forward on a new one. Thanks for the tips and examples!

  9. Congratulations, Carol! It's so good to receive an update on both your projects. I seem to like to have multiple manuscripts going at the same time. I'm hoping to release a MG novel this year, but my W.I.P. is another picture book with the hubby. Keep in touch. I'd love to feature you on my blog when you're up for some promoting. Have a great weekend!

  10. Congrats on wrapping up the MG soon and getting an earlier release date! My fastest first draft was 75k in 6 weeks. But usually it's 3-4 months. I like snuck, sorry :) I think sneaked sounds awkward, even though it is technically correct.

    Have an awesome weekend!

  11. Way to go with your writing! That's Awesome!

  12. Oh, wahoo! So excited for The Body Institute! I like snuck better too, just because I agree with Alexia that sneaked does sound awkward - not sure if I've ever used it but maybe. hee hee


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