Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Search for MG/YA SciFi: Definitions of MG and YA

What I decided I needed to do before I officially started off on "this soft of mission...quest...thing", was define the parameters. What is MG? What is YA?

It's doesn't particularly matter, a good book is a good book at the end of the day, but I wanted to see, in my own little way, if there is enough out there of each. If laws are going to be passed to make it so that SciFi needs to, awesomely, be incorporated into High School and Middle School curriculums, then we should by golly hope that there is some out there, and good stuff too!

As I started doing research to define YA and MG (I had an idea of course, but wanted to make it more official like by seeing what others had to say on it) I found that these terms were actually a lot more ambiguous than I had originally thought and much more all encompassing. That isn't to say there aren't definitions, there are, but it wasn't one handy little sentence as I had hoped it would be.

That crossover appeal exists (hello! Adult reading MG and YA books here!) goes completely and utterly without saying...though, this is kind of saying it....moving on!

NOTE: I reserve the right to arbitrarily adjust and change these as time goes on. They will never be perfect, and that isn't my goal. This is simply so that when, in a review, I say something is MG (or not), people can come back to this and see how I came up with that criteria.

Age of protagonist: between 8-ish and 12-ish (pre-teen)
Extreme content (profanity, sex, physical/emotional violence): minimal if at all, never graphic
Length: shorter (not a hard rule)
External vs. Internal: External, what happens outside of them is more important and drives the plot

Essentially what this boils down to is I felt the book could be made into a G or PG movie.

Age of protagonist: 12-ish and up
Extreme content (profanity, sex, physical/emotional violence): edgier, more graphic
Length: Longer (not a hard rule)
External vs. Internal: Internal, their growth and examination of themselves is what mostly drives the plot

And basically this one becomes a PG-13 or above rating.

And by all means, if you have different definitions or I have forgotten something, let me know in the comments!

Here are some of the resources that I used to come up with my above definitions. Hopefully they are useful to you as well! (just googling 'YA vs. MG' as well gets you on the right track).

Middle Grade? Teen? Where do you draw the line? - by Upstart Crow Literary

An Introduction to Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction, Part 1: Definitions - by SFWA

What is Young Adult and how does it differ from Middle Grade - on YA Highway

Theory: A definition of YA Literature - by Brooklyn Arden

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