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Question
Dear Jannie, I am writing a fiction book that I hope will be popular with younger children and also older children and adults. I want to make my central character about 16 years old, because that is what it seems to me like she should be. There will be other main characters who are younger (about 14 and 11 years old), but won't this make it difficult for younger readers to identify and relate to the characters? How can I fix this? If I make the central character younger it just doesn't seem real, like someone that age wouldn't normally think and act like that. Thanks for your advice!

Answer
First I'd like to tell you that you can not write a book that is popular for young children, older children, and adults. It is one or the other.

You can't use a fictional character that is 11-14 and appeal to 5-8 year olds, but only to the pre-teen age group.

Writing for younger children K2-4 is a whole different way of writing. Writing for children cannot coincide with writing for teenagers, and writing for adults.

There are 5 methods of writing for your target: Little children not yet in school, Kindergarten through 1st grade level, 2-3rd grade levels, 4-5th grade levels, then 6th grade. Anything written for 7th grade and up begins the writing for teens and young adults. Adults are a class of their own, obviously.

No writer on the planet can write to cover all those variables.

Pick one and go with it, or write many books; same book, but on different age levels. Even that is near impossible because the content for one age group will not, and does not, appeal to another age group.

You'll have to study "writing for children" and decide the age group you intend to target.

Join a writers group Online for writing for children and learn all you can in order to help you through the process.

Good luck.

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Jannie Balliett

Expertise

I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.

Experience


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Organizations
Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Publications
Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Education/Credentials
Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

Past/Present Clients
I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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