Writing for middle graders (8-12) is such an imaginative age to capture. Kids this age are eclectic and curious.
I've recently started a book that I feel the 'need' to write, not only the 'want'. I just finished listening to a panel discussion that included Rebecca Stead (author of WHEN YOU REACH ME).
Her comment on a question of voice was so succinct and eye opening:
"Kids at the ages of nine to about
twelve don't talk about their
emotions with their peers.
Books are where they connect."
I'm just paraphrasing, but I suddenly realized how true this is. I read prolifically as a kid and I can see this to be very true when I consider the books I read over and over and wanted to never end. Books were an escape, but also a way for me to see that others had problems too.
Writing characters that make your readers care has been drilled in my head and in my WIP, I really thought I was accomplishing that, but Rebecca's comment really hit home for me. I want to take my WIP that much further and that much deeper.