Plotting a Middle-Grade or Chapter Book

When it comes to plotting a middle grade or chapter book, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind. People that are new to writing for children often think that they need to create a plot that gives moral lessons as often as it entertains. This is definitely not the case. You don’t want to preach to your readers. You want to entertain them. If you can remember this one simple rule, there isn’t a whole lot else to keep in mind when it comes to plotting. If your readers continue turning the page then you have done your job as an author. However, let’s also look at some of the other factors so that you have a full and well-rounded idea of how you can outline a novel for children.

When it comes to character creation, your heroes should be around the same age as the readers that you are targeting or just a couple years older. For example, if you are targeting the book towards seventh and eighth graders, then it is perfectly appropriate to have the protagonist in the book be 12, 13, 14 or even 15. Any older than that and your target audience is going to lose interest. The same goes for younger main characters. However, supporting characters can be pretty much any age.

You also want to make sure that you limit the themes and topics that you introduce. For example, it is perfectly acceptable in the industry to have children with a crush on each other and even a kiss at the end of the book in middle grade fiction. With chapter books, you may want to limit this a little because they are geared towards slightly younger readers. However, complicated topics like drug addiction, sexual abuse, violence and other adult themes should be left out of chapter books and middle grade fiction.

But that does not mean that you talk down to your readers. You always want to assume that your reader is extremely smart. Don’t change words because you think that they may be too hard for your reader. They can always go look it up in the dictionary if they need to.

You also want to make sure that it is your child characters that are moving the plot forward. For example, you don’t want to create a mystery where one of the kid detectives goes to his dad and his dad solves half the case for him. It should always be the kid characters that are moving the plot along. Often, the adults either get in the way or are not helpful at all. If you have any trouble creating it, you might want to look up some IT Consulting Rates.

Plotting for children’s fiction, especially middle grade or chapter books, takes just as much time and effort as plotting for adult readers. You definitely want to put forth your best effort and make sure that every single page is compelling and moves the plot forward so your readers will want to keep reading until the very end.