A middle grade television script and a novel look very different, but they do share similar traits. A beginning, middle, and end for sure. There’s also a problem that must be solved in 30-60 minutes on TV and by the last page in a book.
I finish a ton of MG books every year. Well, at least a few hundred pounds worth. On the TV side not so much. So I was curious. Would watching these shows make me a better story teller?
I went right to MG students and asked them what their favorite sitcoms were with kids near their age as the stars. I wasn’t familiar with several of their choices so I tracked them down and watched an episode or two.
If you’re writing a novel, watching these programs can be a real eye opener. Some of the plots are downright dumb, but you can get a sense of facial expressions and movement from the characters. I haven’t found much from the dialog side that I can use, but there are certainly quite a few superb kid actors.
Want to watch? Here are a few clips of shows with MG characters recommended by a class of sixth graders:
HENRY DANGER (Nickelodeon)
KIRBY BUCKETS (Disney)
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE (Disney)
Also receiving votes: THE THUNDERMANS and GIRL MEETS WORLD.
Okay. End of experiment. Watching middle grade problems come to life is making me a bit dizzy. It’s time to return to the safety of writing books.