Bad news…

Basically my funding application has been refused for my PhD. Which means that even if I am given a place I can’t go, unless there is a sudden influx of money or some other funding comes available.

Oh! Look! A flying pig and it’s wearing a purple cardigan with pink spots…

Okay – I’m being sarcastic – which, according to my brother, is the lowest form of wit. So I apologize. Still, it was a long shot for the funding.

So… What now?

Well, I had been using the possibility of doing  PhD as a buffer. ‘If the writing didn’t work then there was always the university.’ Except that is no longer the case so I have got to make the writing work.

I really ought to just write. If I don’t write then I find myself worried and depressed. Some people go to yoga, I write. So maybe I ought to not think so hard and just… well… write.

Writing for kids…

I have finished the adult novel. Well, I’ve finished the first draft and have started on the research for the next book. This one is for kids. I have written a couple of books for kids, but none have been published yet.

In fact, my dissertation for the masters was a kids book. Yet that hasn’t found a home. So this time, as I sat with my idea, I decided to start at the beginning – the age group. Okay, maybe I had some preconceived ideas about the age of the books. I mean I remember when I read…

Hold up! That won’t work. I didn’t learn to read until I was 11. I’ve got to do this research properly.

My dissertation is for ‘Middle Grade’ kids – so from 8 to 13 years. Except it isn’t.

This is what I found…

Children from 6-8 years old will read between 10,000 to 20,000 words. Some examples are:

  • The Enchanted Wood
  • Paddington
  • The Famous Five
  • BFG
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • The Worst Witch
  • Charlotte’s Web

At this point I’m panicking. My dissertation sits right in this group. If you had been there you would have seen me to a face plant. I wasn’t going to get it published because it was aimed at too old an age group. Duh! My book ought to be for 6-8 years.

The next age range, from 8 to 11 years, will read 30,000 to 60,000 words. And examples include:

  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
  • Skellig
  • Artemis Fowl
  • The Witches
  • Matilda
  • TinTin
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Goodnight Mister Tom
  • The Borrowers
  • Truckers
  • Swallows and Amazons
  • Harry Potter
  • Holes
  • The Hobbit

Some of these I would have thought were for older children, and my dissertation does not fit, in the least.

The teen group is from 11 to 14 years old. They will read between 30,000 to 70,000 words, and examples include:

  • Watership Down
  • The Boy in Striped Pyjamas
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Graveyard Book
  • Stormbreaker
  • Northern Lights
  • Ruby in the Smoke
  • The fellowship of the Ring

Okay, most of these I have read as an adult…

So, what have I learnt? Well, that kids are better at reading than I thought. That you have to be careful where you place your book and that you have to be aware that the age range you write for in your head, may not be the one you target to get it published.

Research! And then maybe you won’t end up like me, looking at six months of wasted time because you sent it to the wrong people with the wrong cover letter… Doh!

It’s an easy fix though, so maybe this time it might work. Everything is crossed. And the next project?

Well, that will be written for 6 to 8 year olds. 🙂

Blood and Oranges…

Although I haven’t bought any oranges today… But the title looks and sounds good. Might even be a short story there.

Today was/is Thursday… I am not keen on Thursdays. On these days I have to shop for my Nan, but this time there was some added stress. You may remember that last year I was affected by ZOMBIE DAYS… basically I was:

And the doctors found that I was anemic. So today, after 6 months of iron tablets and 2 months off I have been told that my levels are holding!

Yay! But I had to go shopping for my Nan before this news. All I managed to do was make myself worried and tense. By the time I walked into the doctors my smile had become a grimace. Luckily my doctor knows me well and he was able to put me at ease.

So as of today I am officially well; a normal, if over-weight, adult. I am so happy!

The only thing that has made me a little down is that I haven’t got around to writing. I’m just too tired now. It’s as if I have been living in a stress bubble and it has been burst. I feel happy but a little numb.

Still, tomorrow is another day.