Posted by: nancyisanders | August 29, 2011

Middle Grade Novel: Brainstorming

Once I made the decision to write a middle grade novel, I spent time brainstorming ideas for the kind of middle grade novel I wanted to write.

Since I had just read Sid Fleischman’s books Jim Ugly and The Whipping Boy, I felt like I wanted to write a book that was also set in a specific time period and a specific setting.

I considered historic England, the wild West, pioneer days, etc. Those would all require a lot of research from the get-go. I didn’t like that idea because I have a book deadline I’ll be working on over the next few months that’s due in January. I’ll have plenty of research for that deadline, so I don’t want this middle grade novel to involve a lot of research.

Suddenly I had an idea…I could write about my own childhood. I wouldn’t have to research ANYTHING for that (hardly). I mean, it would include everything I already knew from dialect to idioms to clothes to inventions to setting to…you name it!

So, here’s the first step you’ll want to take if you’re going to write a middle grade novel, too. Brainstorm ideas and make the decision on what kind of middle grade novel you’d like to write.

And if you’re not quite sure where to get started with brainstorming, I’ll give you some tips on how I brainstorm in my next post.


  1. I’m drawn to historical novels, so I’ll try to write one. The research is the fun part, and I don’t have a book deadline to worry about!
    I finished reading Jim Ugly. Will start the other today. Catching up!

  2. Hey, Nancy (-: This will be my greatest challenge. I don’t want to dive into extensive research. Time & other things won’t permit. HELP!

    • Just pick a project that doesn’t require any research, Sherri! That’s what I’m doing. Any time I get an idea that requires research, I toss it aside. I’m only writing about stuff I already know. You can do the same.

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