SCBWI Recap #2: Courtney Bongiolatti Talks Boy MG Fiction

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Given my current and future projects, I decided to attend Courtney Bongliolatti’s Boy MG Fiction 101 breakout session.

Her key pieces of advice for writers of boy MG fiction were:

  1. Know your genre
  2. Write the character your kids want to be like
  3. Observe MG boys to see how they act and interact; as readers, they’ll throw the book down if the littlest thing is off
  4. Write with the understanding that series potential in MG is huge

Courtney also provided a breakdown of the different areas of MG fiction.

  • Action = nothing paranormal; just crazy, out-0f-this-world experience (ex: Alex Rider)
  • Adventure = kid falls into situation, but based in reality (ex: Holes)
  • Fantasy = call to adventure in a fantastical setting; MC often has destiny to fulfill for greater good (ex: Harry Potter)
  • Mystery = classic mystery model with kid protagonist (ex: Encyclopedia Brown)
  • Humorous Mystery = cross-genre of adventure and humor (ex: Belly Up)
  • Sports = uncomplicated, classic plot involving sports (ex: Matt Christopher)
  • School Stories = wide open genre that speaks to smarter kids, kids who want to rebel against authority (ex: Frindle)
  • Historical Fiction = story involves historical event or time but with kid protagonist (ex: Al Capone Does My Shirts)
  • Blended Genres = combination of pictures and text (ex: Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
  • Relatable = story that appeals to the kid who doesn’t fit in, kids who get picked on (ex: Loser)
  • Out of the Box = stories that address what’s missing in the other MG categories (ex: Fat Kid Rules the World)

3 thoughts on “SCBWI Recap #2: Courtney Bongiolatti Talks Boy MG Fiction

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ingrid Sundberg, Amy K. Nichols. Amy K. Nichols said: SCBWI Recap #2: Courtney Bongiolatti Talks Boy MG Fiction #amwriting […]

    S. C. Green said:
    August 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    My eight year-old son LOVES the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We have them all and have taken him to the movie. The pictures drew him in, but the story captured and kept him in.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      August 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      My 7 year old is begging to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I need to read at least the first one before she does. I’m glad to hear your son loved it. 🙂

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