Trying to Pinpoint Right Age Group
by Susan Colgan
I just can't figure out what the appropriate age group my book is geared to. It's about a real character of a granny told through the eyes of her granddaughter.
Granny McGrath is on a quest to find love and has asked Polly and her mum to help her. It's quite a funny book (I hope) but my problem is that I don't know whether to bring in teenage angst subplots (I think Polly is around twelve) or to concentrate mainly on Granny. Any ideas? Would be much appreciated. I've included a small description of Granny just for you to get an idea of writing style. Outside, leaned my pint-sized Nan, bony hand on hip, string of garlic around her neck and bright red beret on her head. She swung her long silver plait over her shoulder like a scarf. "Ooh la la, ees Granny McGrath!" she said in an atrocious French accent.
©Susan Colgan April 2015o o oWebmaster replies:
Susan, you don't give us a lot to go on, but I have some thoughts for you nonetheless.
Children like books about children. Books about twelve year olds are usually of most interest to children a bit younger than twelve.That's the rule of thumb. Kids want to see where they're headed next.
So your character Polly is much more likely to be of interest to your likely audience (younger than teenaged, by the way) than is her granny. That's not intended to suggest that Granny doesn't have a place in your book, but kids don't pick up books to read about grannies!
So yes, I would suggest that Polly needs a plot (not just "subplots"), though that plot can certainly revolve around Granny. I'm a bit put off by your notion of "teenage angst subplots," as though one subplot is as good as another; you just pick them up at the subplot store (Subplots R Us) and plug them in as need be. All of your writing should be heartfelt and important--and important to your viewpoint character--not just serving some sort of marketing purpose.
Let me put this bug in your ear: maybe Granny McGrath's love quest is the subplot, one that just happens to lead Polly on her own age-appropriate, front and center adventure.
Just a thought!