And because middle graders appreciate goofiness in a very special way, it's super important, I think, to have an element of goof in middle grade writing, even if--or maybe especially if--the story contains serious issues. But in my own writing, goofiness doesn't come naturally. A story builds. Characters show themselves. A setting is clear. But the goof? I have to work on the goof. And since I have to work on it, I have to REALLY work on making sure the goof isn't forced or stupid. Because if it is, a middle grader will say (because generally middle graders are honest as well), "This is dumb."
What do you think? Is goofiness necessary in middle grade? Is it possible to overdo goofiness in middle grade? And . . . what awesome examples do you have of an author weaving the super serious with silliness and humor?