1. Z.W. Van Kleeck
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    Z.W. Van Kleeck New Member

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    Mid-Grade literature & Murder/Killing

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Z.W. Van Kleeck, Dec 1, 2014.

    I am brand new to these forums and, in fact, joined to ask this question.

    In mid-grade literature, how much Murder/death and what level of detail is acceptable?

    I want to include several scenes where people are killed, but I don't want to guild the Lilly too much with details that will need editing in the future.

    Most books that I would read in this age group do contain death and murder, but it would seem to be most acceptable in historical accounts. Murder and death seem to be less prominent in mid-grade fiction.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi, welcome to the forum.

    JK Rowling got away with quite a bit of murder in the "Harry Potter" series. Roger kills Piggy with a large boulder that pushes him over the cliff in "Lord of the Flies" which I read about that age. But I must admit the description of his brains splattered on the rock was disturbing and some people would be cautious about just how old is the right age for the book.

    I think it's fine as long as it belongs in the story and it's written for that age group.
     
  3. Z.W. Van Kleeck
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    Z.W. Van Kleeck New Member

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    Thanks,

    Harry potter was one of the examples I had in mind, but I feel like she was allowed to break most of the rules due to her incredibly success.

    Lord of the flies is kind of a jacked up book, you're right that it was pretty rough though. Lord of the flies actually didn't do so hot when it was first published. Wikipedia says it only sold 3,000 copies in the US (Which would be awesome to me if it was my first novel), but I want to make sure I put the effort into it right now to get the best response possible.

    I think I will use death, murder, and tasteful gore to some degree.

    thanks for the feedback. I'm trying to get a good grip on the social boundaries that are put on this mid grade reader group. One step at a time I hope to get to something of a masterful understanding of communicating interesting concepts to that age group.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lord of the Flies is about children, but I never thought of it as a children's book. (It is studied in schools, but so are a lot of not-children's-books.)
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You do know Lord of the Flies has sold millions of copies, right? o_O
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "Children" is a wide age range. As for middle grades, I think that's about the time I read it, and I loved it. I can't say the same for the other books I had to read in my primary years.
     
  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    What Wiki actually says is: "Although it was not a great success at the time—selling fewer than 3,000 copies in the United States during 1955 before going out of print—it soon went on to become a best-seller."
     
  8. Z.W. Van Kleeck
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    Z.W. Van Kleeck New Member

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    What I was getting at in mentioning that it sold 3,000 copies before going out of print had nothing to do with it's large success. The fact that we are talking about the book all these years later implicitly covers that area of discussion. I am talking about immediate reception, not posterity.

    Publishing of today is very different. If a book doesn't sell, it doesn't get shelf life, you end up forced to self-publish on Amazon, you probably get a second printing unless you spent money on a marketing campaign and re-brand the book or yourself somehow. Things are just so different today than they were in the 50s.

    I didn't communicate with clarity about why I was mentioning it. I can see that I came across somewhat ignorant. I'm unsure what gave Lord of the Flies it's amazing second wind, but I imagine I cannot rely on such an enormous success. For me, writing in this age group presents several known unknowns that I would like to explore prior to having a 35,000 manuscript that is written for both YA and MG at the same time. With a little research and investment of time right now, I feel like I can avoid SOME of the editing that will go into trying to get my manuscript published. Most of what I read, however seems to culminate into "Just write it and see if people like it."

    I have bad success on writing forums; communicating with other writers. There usually seems to be something I mention that muses another to set the record straight. In this case, I somewhat understand, you need to protect your community from pseudo writers who get the itch and join an internet forum and ostensibly become trolls.

    I appreciate the comments. I'll continue looking into this topic and reading other MG books and... "Just write it!".
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry Z.W., I simply wanted to give the Wiki reference in full, since I felt that your OP on it misrepresented the facts - I have an issue with inaccuracy!

    Am I right in thinking that you're Dutch? I mention this because I can't think of an occasion when I've used the verb to muse.
    In fact, I had to google it to find that it means to reflect deeply on a subject. If you just replace muses with reflects deeply on a subject in your sentence, it doesn't make sense to me.
     
  10. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Americans say it, they talk about muse and musing quite a lot.
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose that I've never really thought deeply about anything! But are you saying that muses makes sense in this sentence?

     
  12. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am mused by your question. I shall muse with my muse and return at a later point in proceedings. But yes, certainly I am prepared for a good fight on the issue of muse.
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am reflected deeply by your question?

    Not fighting, just confused by the context.
     
  14. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stop, stop. You're right of course. Although when I write I quite often attempt moves such as the one you cited, thinking I've bust down a new frontier of language with my phrasing. It disappears in draft sixty.

    Presently even, I can't read any book where the writer has 'ing' verbed as opposed to the 'ed', without the sharp intake of breath and,

    'Such an amateur, this King, tch,' etcetera...

    The OP man wants to know about killing in books for mid-school. My only knee-jerk was the suggestion that Lord of the Flies was not a children's book, my fogey mind perceives the infant's spoon that hovers before the lips of the pre-adolescent in his romper suit:

    'Read this Harry Potter, it is so very nourishing.'

    The poor lad yawns into his beaker. I mean schools never taught 'Famous Five' or 'Biggles' or 'Secret Seven.' I'll stop.

    Teachers are equally as bored with teaching LoTF as, I've forgotten what I was talking about.
     
  15. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    This is a bit off topic, but I would just like to point out that you can kill kids in movies but not in television shows XD

    Personally I feel you should be allowed to have what ever you want to happen in your book. I mean it is your book right? If you want someone to be grinded to death by metal gears I say you should be allowed to do that. I read "Touching Spirit Bear" back in 7th grade and damn that book was more horrific than murder, so yes you should be able to include murder. Why not just ask your teacher though?

    Also if she/he says no just use the example above and then say "Books are like Movies" mindblown XD
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I thought a muse was a person (usually female :) ) that inspired you.
     
  17. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    You inspire me GC
     

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