Monday, May 14, 2012


Quote for the Week:  Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can't get any better, it can.
Nicholas Sparks

I'm pleased to welcome Christine Henderson to my blog to start a new week. Chris has been a writer since she was a child when she made teeny magazines for her dolls. One of her friends once told her she would someday be a well-known writer, so she would keep all the letters and cards that Chris sent her. Chris may not be the famous writer her friend thought she would be -- yet. She's working on it! Learn more about Chris at her blog.

Christine would like to share some thoughts with you today. Go, Chris.


By Christine Henderson

When you start writing their first novel you can’t wait to get their words on paper to let the world in on your wonderful thoughts. Form and style don’t matter as all you can think about is getting your story out there for all to read. Then you may decide to take a writing class to just polish up your masterpiece.

Once in your class if you have a good teacher, you realize there is a lot more to writing than putting words on paper. Unless you plan on self-publishing what you write has to have a broad appeal to sell. If you talk to agents or publishers they can’t really give you specifics of what they are looking for other than something that will grab them. But what grabs them today, may not tomorrow.

For instance, in my childhood I read fairy tales and fables in children’s picture books. Today if you go to your local book store those books are few and far between. Those fairy tales of old are considered too wordy for today’s easy readers. One of the most endearing picture book author’s is Dr. Seuss but if an author today submitted his wordy style of writing the book most likely would be rejected. However, his books still remain perennial favorites.

Another example of something old is new again is the Boxcar children series which was first published in the 1940’s in a children’s novel format. Today they are being produced as a child’s graphic/comic book style which shortens the text and tries to give the stories more punch for today’s readers who have a lower attention span.

Classic middle grade books of yesteryear included the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries which have been replaced by the 39 Clues series. It’s not enough now to have a mystery series, that series included a special prize for the master clue solver. The other change has been book length. Where the words in children’s easy/first readers have been cut, now MG books could be anywhere from a couple hundred pages up to 800 thanks to Harry Potter books.

Last year’s top 5 best selling MG books included four in the fantasy/paranormal genre and one horror. According to Amazon’s current best sellers for this year, the top 3 are still in the fantasy/paranormal genre with a Wimpy Kid book and the book that spawned the movie, Hugo . Does that mean that book styles are changing? Or is there just an over-saturation of books in the paranormal genre that publishers are looking for something new. That “something new” in several cases now includes books by authors who wrote best selling adult novels but have moved down in scope to writing for the MG markets including John Grisham, Rick Riodan, and James Patterson.


Thank you, Chris, for the memories. Reading Dr. Seuss to my children was the beginning of my love for children's books. And one day, I'm looking forward to reading your books.

Have a great week.

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