Recently, I had the privilege to speak with Madeline Dyer, YA author of the Untamed Series. Speaking from her farm in England (she also raises Shetland ponies), we discussed differences between writing for middle grade and young adult audiences, and, in particular, writing darker subject matter. We also discussed approaches to structuring novels, whether to outline, and when to pull outside its constraints to follow the best story. I hope you get something from it — the parts with Madeline are really good! :)
If you're interested in learning more, here are a few good links I found insightful:
Reedsy: Young Adult vs. Middle Grade Fiction: Which Are You Writing?
SLJ: Middle Grade Is too Young, YA too Old. Where Are the Just-Right Books for Tweens?
Publishers Weekly: Navigating Middle Grade Books
Kidlit: Am I Writing Middle-Grade Fiction or Young Adult?
Writing Middle Grade: The Critical Differences Between Middle Grade and YA Books