I just finally finished reading Writing Irresistible KidLit by Mary Kole. First let me say that it's unusual for me to have taken so stinking long at reading a book this great, but moving from New Jersey back to Texas and whole lot of other upheaval was going on during the reading of this. Once things calmed down, I picked the book back up and started reading it again.
Second, if you are writing books for either the MG or the YA crowd then this book is a must have on your shelf. I can't believe I didn't buy it the second it hit shelves and read right through it then. But, I have remedied that!
Mary Kole, is a literary agent with Moveable Type Management and previously worked at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She also has an amazing blog that I highly suggest following. I don't think I've seen a post that isn't worth taking the time to stop and read, and doubt I ever will. They are all very informative. You can also follow her on Twitter for more great advice and links.
Thankfully she decided to write a book aptly titled, Writing Irresistible KidLit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers. And the ULTIMATE GUIDE is extremely appropriate in this title. I doubt I will ever be able to edit a single manuscript without using her advice.
Kole is straight forward and doesn't take her time in getting to the point. Everything included in this guide is there for a reason so pay attention. She gets right into the nitty gritty, talking about the KidLit market and the mindset of MG and YA readers. Then she delves into the meaty portion of the book: big ideas, foundations, characters, and plot. She finishes off the book by giving excellent information on writing queries and finding an agent. And I have to say I really like her approach to writing queries. It seems there is someone on every corner saying do this or don't do this with regards to query writing. She sets forth simple questions that give an agent exactly what they're looking for.
I also highly recommend keeping a highlighter close while reading. My copy is covered with bright green highlighter markings. I even created a word doc from all of the exercises listed within. Great helping points.
I pulled a manuscript I was working on back in January and February, and rather stuck on, off the shelf to work her magic on. Right from the start of the exercises I realized that I don't have a strong first line like I thought. Not only that, I don't need the first chapter at all. So I deleted the entire first chapter. Reworked the first line and voila, I have a much better opening.
Now to tackle the rest of the manuscript using her tips and exercises. You may see more in the coming months related to Writing Irresistible KidLit and my current manuscript. And hopefully, you'll go grab your own copy and use it with your writing. I'm so glad I read it.