Not only is Alan Gratz a talented author, he also makes a spectacular table-topper! (as pictured above. (sorry Alan. I couldn't resist.)
In Lieu of Alan Gratz's new release, I thought this also might be a good time to bring up Alana's break out session at the SCBWI Carolina's conference this past September. His subject: What makes a book young adult VS. middle grade?
His answer was pretty simple:
1) Age of protagonist: MG is usually 8-12 an YA is 12 and up.
2) subject matter/ The nature of the conflict
After 2 mintues he was ready to dismiss. ;0)
Actually, he did have some great advice on what concerns MG have VS. YA, but here's one thing he brought up. Alyssa Eisner Henkin brought up the same thing. They both said that while we want to be original we should be familiar with what is on the New York Times Best seller list and what is on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles. These places will tell us what is selling. What's hot.
As a preface, I must say I completely agree. But here's the thing. The buzz question around the conferences was "WHY?" if you want to be original why care about what is fad?
I have my own theories, but I want to hear it from you. What good does it do to be up to date in current trends?
Personally, I think it's good to know what publisher are into what topics. Who is publishing what. In addition, I've been shocked at how few original idea's there are. There have been at leat 3 changes I've had to make in my current WIP because I've read a book and somebody already wrote something similar to it!!!!! Can you believe it! They stole my idea before I even wrote it!!!! So I had to change it so I could seem more original. So, being up -to-date not only lets me know what is hot, but also helps me realize that I'm not as clever as I would like to think. :0P
What's your take on it? Why does it help you to be up to date on current MG and YA trends? Inquiring minds want to know!