Congratulations, Kat! Expect an email from me asking for your mailing address.
I've been querying my second novel for about a month now and some of the very kind personal rejections I've received have said they prefer funny boy books for MG, as opposed to dark and serious contemporary stories.
Ahem. So... I've written a lot of messy notes and character sketches and about 35 pages of a new middle grade novel. Yes, I'm attempting a humorous story this time. Go ahead, make all the jokes you want. I'll wait.
Yeah, I knew I needed lots of research. So for a month I've been re-reading every funny book on my shelves, from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (strangely, not as funny this time around) to Flush by Carl Hiaasen (he can be over-the-top funny), to Wendy Mass's books. I'm a big fan of Wendy Mass. So I re-read 11 Birthdays (paperback published 2010, hardcover 2009, from Scholastic, for ages 9 to 12). And I'm happy to report I enjoyed it just as much as the first time.
Amanda and Leo, best friends who happen to share a birthday, have to repeat their 11th birthday until they get it right, a la Groundhog Day, the movie, or Help! I'm Trapped in the First Day of School by Todd Strasser. I love the town Wendy has created, Willow Falls, where unusual things sometimes take place. It's the real world, with a touch of magical realism. And this is exactly the sort of thing I'm going for.
I love this kind of research!
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger. See her blog for the links, or visit my sidebar.