Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Young Adult

A few of you have inquired as to the status of The Novel.  Ugh.  For an update, I must refer you to Amy MeyPfan (a literary genius) who is the only person to have read it.  One of the major things I needed to figure out about the novel was to determine its genre.  Honestly, I had no idea.  Amy provided me with the shock of a lifetime when she informed me that it was "Young Adult."


I had thought there was no way that this book could be Young Adult.  Granted, I was aware that it was about young adults, but these young adults occasionally do bad things, so I had assumed that actual young adults (ie, teenagers) should not be reading it.  Then Amy pointed me to a list of current Young Adult books on the market, and I was all whoa. Life has definitely changed since Are You There God, It's Me Margaret was controversial.  The kinds of trouble that my Young Adults get into seem very, very tame compared to what's out there these days.

It has been very helpful to define this book to a genre, but it has also been problematic.  Mainstream publishers (if I even want to go that route, which is a whole 'nother story, and one that will involve a lot of gratiutous swearing) seem to have a smaller word count limit for Young Adult novels.  For me, this means I would probably have to cut out about 3-1/2 chapters to even get close to this limit.  In addition, a lot of the research I did for this book now seems to be a moot point.  Young adults do not care if I have depicted a realistic scenario of how many days you wait after cutting down the pasture to bail hay.  Young Adults would probably also find the entire second half of the novel to be boring and uninteresting.  I could just cut that whole part out  (that would help with the word count limit), except that then the end wouldn't make any sense.  The reader would be going, "Wait a minute, who's Shannon?" and the book would suck.  Maybe the book sucks anyway, though, I don't know.

If I'm going to move forward with this, I need to make some major structural changes.  Major.  It is amazingly depressing how un-creative the writing process gets when you even begin to consider publishing.  It is like the antithesis of creativity.  It makes me want to scream or throw or burn or break something.

All of this would be a lot easier if I were not working full time, caring for a young child, training for my 11th (or is it 12th?) marathon, grocery shopping, making dinner, cleaning up the house, and writing a howler paper for Mt's edited volume.  I sleep so little that I feel sick all the time.  In fact, I am sick right now.  Something's got to give, you know?

The logical thing would be to stop the presses and abandon the novel.  I should work on the howler paper in all my free time (ha!) so that I am less stressed when the deadline draws near.  Maybe someday when things are more settled down, I could return to my badly-behaving rural teenagers and figure out how to make this novel work.

I should do that, shouldn't I?

There is laundry to fold, lunches to pack, words to rewrite.  And I promised myself I would get more than 5 hours of sleep tonight.

Thanks for reading.

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