The Children of Midian

Alrighty then. The Children of Midian is my first novel and it took me a couple years to write and fully revise. It's a story about a fourteen-year-old army brat who passes through a portal disguised as a deserted shack in the woods. Elliot is his name and he winds up in Midian, where he finds a whole mess of kids living on their own in a makeshift camp. No adults at all, except for the evil dude who runs the place. Oh yeah, he's also got minions. Every super-bad guy has to have minions, and in this case, said minions are werewolves.

Elliot, being a really excellent but wise-cracking kid joins forces with the children of Midian to fight back against the bad guy, who goes by the foreboding name of Lycaon. Things get really bad when Elliot's parents follow him through into Midian and wind up captured by Lycaon's lycanthropic army. Lycanthropic - is that even a word?

In the larger scheme of things, this is really part of a larger story, originally conceived of as a trilogy, in which Elliot saves the world after nearly causing its destruction.

So there you have it, and you can click the link in this posting or on the cover image down on the bottom right of the faulty brain. If you do, you can read chapter one.

When I wrote this puppy and then went through, oh, let's say two or three major revisions, I wound up at 98K words. That's long for YA. I began to cut. I got it down to 95k, then landed at 84k. Better, right? It's fantasy, so it can get a bit longer than non-fantasy. I still needed to cut more, but it was a start.

Then I pitched Midian to a series of agents and the BEA/Writer's Digest conference this year as YA. In all my research, I'd read that YA was for ages 13-18, and Middle Grade was 8-12. But once I began pitching, I received an education.

  1. Elliot may be fourteen, but he's in Middle School. Middle School = Middle Grade
  2. Elliot may be fourteen, but that doesn't mean most fourteen-year-olds wants to read about him. Younger readers want to read about older characters. Once again - Middle Grade.
  3. Middle Grade = 50K words or less, esp. for debut authors.
  4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe = 36k words
There was no way I could cut Midian down to 50k words or less and keep the story coherent. There's too much plot. So, I'm breaking it apart. It'll be two books, split a little less than halfway through, with additional goings on in book 1. It's not a bad thing, necessarily. It's actually allowing me to add some storyline to the first book that helps with the overall series.

So now I've got two complete Middle Grade fantasy books - The Children of Midian and Return to Midian. And the third book, tentatively titled Abeo, is well underway.

By the way, if you want to know how many words are in one of your favorite children's books and whether it's YA or MG, Renaissance Learning has a great site to help you.

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