Dear Miss Snark:
I know you are very busy with the crapometer contest, but I still need to ask a question:
What is the difference between middle grade (chapter books) and narrative, upper grade fiction? (aside from YA), where both are fiction adventure? (besides the obvious in age differences).
I asked the below question to a different agent (I know, I didn't ask you first, but you ARE busy) and received the following answer:
Q: When writers write chapter books for middle grade readers, is there such a thing as too many scenes within each chapter? Is there any writer's guideline for maintaining their scenes within each chapter? Or doesn't it matter?
A: "Unfortunately, chapter books for middle grade readers are akin to children's
picture books for me and I don't handle them. I only do narrative upper
middle grade and YA. Sorry, I can't help you with that question." --Agent.
Without this answered, I pose the same question(s) to you.
Thank you for your information!
Mostly it has to do with vocabulary and themes in the book. However, the only way to truly understand this in your bones is to read a LOT of it. If you intend to write for this market, you need to invest three solid months in reading, at the very least.
I was reminded of this when a friend of mine who is a very serious composer told me he'd been working really hard. I asked him what he was writing. He told me he wasn't writing at all. He was listening. He went to the Performing Arts Library every day and listened to every CD they had in the new music category. Every day for a month. Ten to twelve hours a day. He took notes on everything he heard. That's a serious committment to knowing the field.