The piece of writing advice one hears constantly is “write what you know/ are interested in”. The other point that always springs up is “know your market”. Experience has shown that these useful hints can be incompatible.
I’ve recently finished a short MG story told from the POV of the family cat. I’ve been interested in how our companion animals perceive us and negotiate the human world for a long time, so this clearly fits the “write what you’re interested in” school of thought.
To summarise: Jack’s human gets married and he acquires two unwanted housemates: his new stepmother’s (step-human’s?) cat and a hyperactive puppy. The animals can understand human-talk, and communicate with one another, but cannot speak to the humans. The story describes the upheaval associated with step-siblings and parental re-partnering, and their journey (literally, they get lost and have to find their way home) towards acceptance. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s close to the stage of query/ submission.
Now for the research part of my tale: I came across a tip-sheet on a writers’ association web-page said the following about writing for the children’s market:
What’s not hot? The ‘granny topics’ - anything with talking animals, old-fashioned language or heavy topics.
Great! It looks like two strikes there already – talking animals dealing with parental re-partnering. (Granny topics? Humph! My children are under 10, I’m nowhere near being a granny).
So, do I query and submit and risk looking completely out of touch/ too slack to have researched the market, or shelve the project, roll up my sleeves, and get stuck into the next one?