When I read Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions, I fell in love. Here was a style, a genre, that I had never read before, especially in the Juvenile Fiction section of the library. Why? What made it different? After some research, I found that the Wrong Questions was classified as noir.
Noir is defined as several particular things:
- Something bad happened to the main character, but it was their fault. Totally their fault. Like not the villain’s fault. They made a wrong choice in their past somewhere and they’re paying for it now.
- The main character should be motivated by something possibly questionable. Or he/she is trying to make the end justify the means.
- There is darkness. In French noir means black. The darkness can be moral, literal, or mental.
- Noir can be funny. In a snarky, sarcastic, kind of dry way.
And most importantly:
5. NO HAPPY ENDINGS!
The question here would be: is it possible to write noir for children?
By all means.
It’s a very unexplored literary genre. Kids noir? A lot of writers (and probably parents) are suspicious. But you can make it work.
Read Lemony Snicket.
You can make it work.
Not only can kids’ noir be attractive to kids who love a good whodunnit or crime (or even drama), it can still be their favorite book for years to come. It’s hard to outgrow noir. It’s also hard to find a good kids’ noir. You could be the pioneer in the field. I imagine that if done correctly (and suitably for children), publishers would be excited to get their hands on your book. Finally, here’s a genre that’s practically never been explored!
I’m *trying* to write a kids’ noir myself. I think I need more noir and less Lemony Snicket plagiarism. It’s hard to write kids’ noir when it has no peers in the literary field. I guess that means that we get to define what the genre looks like.
Can you think of any kids’ noir books besides All the Wrong Questions? If so, PLEASE leave a comment and let me know!! I really want to read more of that genre but I can’t find any.
Thanks for reading! Again, leave a comment, like, follow, share, etc. Keep on writing!