What’s the difference in writing between a Middle Grade (MG) book and a Young Adult (YA)? Author/Literary Agent Marie Lamba explains.
MG At A Glance: Age of readers: 8–12.Length: Generally 30,000–50,000 words (although fantasy can run longer to allow for more complex world-building). Content restrictions: No profanity, graphic violence, or sexuality (romance, if any, is limited to a crush or a first kiss). Age of protagonist: Typically age 10 for a younger MG novel, and up to age 13 for older, more complex books. Mind-set: Focus on friends, family and the character’s immediate world and relationship to it; characters react to what happens to them, with minimal self-reflection. Voice: Often third person.
Ya At A Glance: Age of readers: 13–18. Length: Generally 50,000–75,000 words (although there’s also a length allowance for fantasy). Content restrictions: Profanity, graphic violence, romance, and sexuality (except for eroticism) are all allowable (though not required). Age of protagonist: Ages 14–15 for a younger YA with cleaner content aimed at the middle-school crowd; for older and more edgy YA, characters can be up to 18 (but not in college). Mind-set: YA heroes discover how they fit in the world beyond their friends and family; they spend more time reflecting on what happens and analyzing the meaning of things. Voice: Often first person.