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Word choice

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#1 Tanya Reimer

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 02:04 PM

Let's discuss fantasies upper mid-grade. I tend to be blunt in my first drafts but while editing for my upper mid-grade, I'm faced with a problem. Are words like heaven and hell, or demons (biblical or other) acceptable in an upper mid-grade novel? I'm not finding much for answers. It seems to fall between the YA and the mid-grade leaving me confused.
How much should I tone them down? Does a demon become an ugly fairy or a shapeless monster? Does hell become Hades, the afterlife, or something I'll have to recreate?

I started this topic, but if others have questions about word choice in other genres, please join in.
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#2 Mary Kole

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:26 AM

Hmm. This is an interesting question that I haven't seen before. I wouldn't tone down the Biblical stuff in MG, but that's me. I've read plenty of MG about religious kids (especially those sweet, Southern MG books) that talk about God and Jesus. The converse should be true. "Hell" may be a different matter because it's a swear word, and I don't think you should do angel/demon romance like the YA world is doing (obviously), but I don't know. I could be totally wrong on this, but that seems like a question an editor at a particular house would be able to cater to. The big obstacle with any swearing or "edgy" topic in MG (and religion does get people riled up) is the school and library market. If something is controversial, it may not sell into schools and libraries and your audience will be severely diminished. But, again, that's more of an editor/author decision, not an agent/author decision.

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