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Author Topic: MG Word Count  (Read 277 times)
Spat
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« on: April 18, 2017, 10:48:33 PM »

I know MG ranges from 20-55k words, but 20k seems so short. Plenty of lower end word count MG are hits, Diary of a Wimpy Kid for example is just under 20k.

Anyone writing in lower word count MG with success? Or have agents been saying that's too low?
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gushags16
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 11:17:18 PM »

I don't write MG, but I think Diary of a Wimpy Kid might not be the best book to compare. It may be 20K, but you can't discount all the drawings. It's basically an MG graphic novel, so I don't know if it's in the same category as a standard MG novel.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 07:34:20 AM »

gushags16 makes a good point. Graphic novels could be different (the first one I checked on Amazon actually has 224 pages). Not to mention that using Diary of a Wimpy Kid for a low word count comparison is almost like using Harry Potter for an excuse to write a high word count in MG.

I think the best way to decide word count for MG, is to consider your target age group. My son was reading Wimpy Kid in third grade. if your target age is on the upper ages of MG, you want it to be longer. I've seen more than one agent suggest 35k is too short.
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Spat
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 12:48:17 PM »

This is true about Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My comp title is from Goosebumps, and several of those are in lower 20K words. I'm not looking for an excuse to aim low. I'm looking for a reason to pursue or hold off on querying my ms. It's just under 30k (I was able to add a bit during revisions) and getting more words in there is not possible with where the story is at. So, my concern is should I query at this point or hold off until I can fatten up the plot and hence the word count? Writer's Digest in Dec. 2016 and many agents from last year to early this year (very recent info) have said 20-55k is acceptable and a few agents have said 30-55k is acceptable. This is my first MG, and I'm used to writing 80-100k words in YA and adult...so the low end word count makes me nervous.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2017, 07:16:53 AM »

You're right, it's perfectly acceptable to write within those lower word counts for MG. If Goosebumps is a comp title for you, I imagine you're right where you want to be. Even though Goosebumps is listed 8 - 12, many kids are reading them when they're fairly young.

Basically, as long as 20k covers a full plot and doesn't rush the ending, I wouldn't worry about it based on just the word count number. You could start slow and see what kind of responses you get.
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