Friday, March 27, 2009

Sex change for Nikki?

Those of you who know my friend Nikki, this is not who I'm talking about!

I have a character, an important character, in my manuscript named Nikki. I like her and I like what she brings to the story...but her presence has pushed my story into the realm, barely, of YA and that is making it difficult for me to imagine how this book would be received by any publisher. I hear they really want to know, "Where would this book go on a shelf in a bookstore?" I don't think they want to hear, "This is older-middle-grade-younger-YA."


If Nikki were to be Nick, and the sub-plot was allowing Brian to finally trust a friend for the first time in his life, I think the book would be solidly middle grade, even though the ending might be pushing things. But with Nikki in there and the attraction between her and Brian, even if it's not really acted on, I'm suddenly wondering if I need to up Brian's age to 15 and up the tension in areas to make it more YA. Yet in my heart, I think Brian's age is important to what he's wrestling with and that is is, truly, an upper-middle grade novel, if such a thing can exist.

I've also read there is a new genre developing, one that fits between middle grade and YA. I think this story fits right in there. I just don't know if that genre is going to bloom anytime soon! In the meantime, I've got to decide: Nikki...or Nick?


  1. Maybe you're book would help make the genre "bloom"?

    And too bad about IRL Nikki got getting a sex change. Would've been one more thing to talk to death. Not that we're running out of topics. Yet.

  2. Um, I'm not volunteering for anything any time soon.

    Amy, can you rework a section of the manuscript and just see how it feels? Maybe just rework the part where they meet and see if it is beliveable/workable/what you are after.

  3. Ack! I tried to comment earlier and couldn't. You would think I would know how to do this. Anyway, I don't think a bit of sexual tension will bump it up. Read Gregor. There is even a (gasp) kiss. And it was definitely not YA. And it was madly popular.

  4. Thanks, ya'll! Carol, I've finished the first two Gregor books-- very good! No kiss yet, though! I think in mg they tend to build up to that first kiss a lot longer than in YA.

    Nikki, yeah, I think I'll try reworking it before I change her entirely...I do like her and would hate to see her go!

  5. By the way, Carol, I do really enjoy the Gregor books and now that I know there is a kiss somewhere in the future, I'll have to keep reading! On to book 3!

  6. I love the Gregor books for so many reasons, but the biggest is the atypical roles cast. Age, gender, species - the characters are cast as to who they truly regard for their physical forms and stereotyping. A grandmother leads an army, her male partner is the pacifist diplomat, a 12-year-old girl is the queen - and then such a wonderful job is done when orchestrating the preconceived notions the species have regarding each other...racism/bigotry and also the hard to look at relationships among "enemies" and even pacifism versus force...the author does no preaching and offers no clear solutions or opinions - the intelligence and throughtfullness of the reader is respected (and that is often hard to find in children's books but don't get me started on society's lack of respect for what children have to teach us). Later on, you will see genocide addressed, as well - toward the end of the series.

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