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Is it okay for adults to die in middle grade fiction?

Poll closed Nov 24, 2020.
  1. No

    50.0%
  2. Yes

    50.0%
  1. StoryWeaver

    StoryWeaver Member

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    Middle Grade fiction -- can adult characters die?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by StoryWeaver, Oct 25, 2020.

    Writing a middle grade (mg) fantasy/scifi time travel novel. Is it okay to have an adult character or two die, or is that something publishers do not want to see in a MG novel?
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Well, the parents of giant peach James were eaten by a rhinoceros on page one, so there's that.
     
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  3. StoryWeaver

    StoryWeaver Member

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    Are there other examples of adults dying in MG fiction? I think at least in the movie, adults died during the major battle scene in The Golden Compass?
     
  4. CrimsonAngel

    CrimsonAngel Banned

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    I don't think it is ok, I am re-writing a MG Fantasy novel so it has to be kid friendly.
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    I read a bunch of WW2 and Holocaust middle grade novels when I was a middle grade lad. There were adults and kids dying in droves. Kids aren't immune to death. The quicker they learn reality the better.
     
  6. HulkingElf

    HulkingElf Member

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    just look as stuff like inside out, they literally have an on screen character death, in bing bong. but if your asking about ways to do it without it being gruesome you can have it be implied or off screan. like the base is self destructing (scifi) and they have to defeat the villain and they knock them off the platform and escape then the base explodes at last second, obviously killing the bad guy. or something simialar like fighting near a large cliff or in a space ship and the villain falls off or gets sucked out into open space. ways to kill them but not traumatize the young reader.
     
  7. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

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    This here. The most famous MG (classic) literature piece from Hungary features the main character dying in pneumonia and slews of nationalistic imagery (and critique). It's compulsory literature in grade 5 - which I think by definition makes it a MG book.

    That, and the fairy tales my grandparents used to tell me + the folk tales on television. They included death in all forms; there is one in specific that featured the beloved of a soldier beaten to death by her abusive mother, only to be chased to the "afterlife" by the soldier so that they can be together again (and on the way he kills the mother who is revealed a witch). Whether you accept the Grimm tales and their various adaptations as "children's literature", they still are pretty ... well, grim.

    You are right, however, that I feel like modern publishing / pieces seek to avoid or dance around the topic. I don't think that is reasonable or justified and I do not know how much this can affect publishing per se.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Adults and children can die in MG novels. There are a lot of misconceptions around not being able to deal with certain subject matter in children’s literature.
     
  9. Le Panda Du Mal

    Le Panda Du Mal Active Member

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    The answer is yes and there are quite a few commonly read MG books where the body count is quite high or atrocities are in the background if not center stage. Off the top of my head, Number the Stars, Avi's Crispin books, Narnia.
     
  10. Le Panda Du Mal

    Le Panda Du Mal Active Member

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    Also Brian Jacques' Redwalls books. Yes, they're about talking animals, but this seems to give Jacques license to revel in buckets of gore. I think the books are bad for a number of reasons but they certainly sold.
     

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