Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group - September

Today it is time again for the Insecure Writer''s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. In my opinion, this group is one of the best things that has happened since I started blogging in 2009. Thank you Alex, and all the writers who participate month after month, sharing their angst and their wisdom and strength.





I have a dilemma about how to categorize my manuscript. Not only is it not considered long enough to be a novel, I'm not sure what genre it fits. This makes me feel very insecure. Right now, at draft two stage, it is only 32,700 words. Most novels are a minimum of 50,000. It fits the novella requirements, but novellas are very difficult to market to agents and publishers. I did some research and discovered that Animal Farm, considered a classic novel, was only 29,000 words. So maybe mine can be considered a novel as well. Oy!

All during the several years it's taken to complete this book, I have been afraid of this stage of the journey. I am older than most of you out there who are writing and marketing their books. I don't have the drive and energy and stamina I once had. But I still want my book out there. I want it to be read. I want people to like it.

I think I just need to stop and take this one day, one step at a time. First, I will find an editor who can help me figure out how to classify the book. I don't have to worry about the rest until after that step is done.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

36 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

Shall be joining this large group today, Karen. Should be interesting. I agree, one step at a time. Regards, Carole.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I always write too short to be considered a novel. And I never know what genre I fit. I can't give you any advice, but you're not the only one. Good luck in sorting it out :-)

JL Stratton said...

Solid plan and advice, Karen. I should certain prescribe to this myself, although, deep down in the dark recesses of my fractured heart, I know I will not. I've been in the same boat as you, and for my own reasons, decided to go the indie and self-published route. I'm also older but was able to manage the multitude of tasks. I only regret is I wish I would have invested more into a good editor or three. I'm suffering the consequences of that decision now in pulling stories, re-writing, and trying to get them back online.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You know I write short novels and it's always a challenge to add enough to make it novel length. I bet that editor will have some good suggestions for you. Maybe it is already the perfect length?

Diane Burton said...

Good luck figuring out how to classify your book. Suggestion--if you can find books similar to yours, see what category they're in. Wishing you the best.

Karen Walker said...

Carole Anne, welcome. You have joined a phenomenal group of people.
Annalisa, wonder why it's so helpful to know one is not alone, but it sure is.
JL, good luck with all of that.
Alex, that's what I'm thinking...
Diane, thank you - yes, I've looked at similar books - some aren't categorized at all.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You have the drive, Karen. I know you do.

Baby steps. Worry about things one at a time. Most of those other worries will never come to pass anyway.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Thanks so much for joining me, Karen.

Carole Anne Carr said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
L.G. Smith said...

I wish I could relate, but I'm always tipping over the 100K mark. I don't know when to shut up. :P

But I do relate to the part about not knowing how to categorize your story. I've always worried about how to label my novels. They don't fit neatly into one category sometimes. I like your idea about going through a story editor though. I'm thinking I may do that this time as well.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Lately books are tipping the scales at a rather heft length. And I feel it's nearly impossible to keep a readers interest with a novel that long unless its full of fast action. You're close keep going a little a day will go a long way. Try and reach the 50k mark, and you're there.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, baby steps are all I can do at this point.
Carole, you are so welcome.
L.G., yeah, it's all I can think of at the moment.
Cathrina, not sure that's the right thing to do at this particular moment, but there are some things I might add to flush it out a bit more. Thank you.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

My novel Lighting Candles in the Snow was under 30K when I finished and I thought about going the novella route. I'm so glad I didn't. I just went in and fleshed out the story where it seemed to call for more and I liked it so much better. I'd suggest letting yours sit for awhile, then going back in and seeing if there's parts that call for greater treatment. I bet there will be! And you'll have fun filling out the story. btw, I already follow you under my new email--it's the one where I was blogging on From the Shadows to the Page, which is the blog where I first met you :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I am sure that the editor will have helpful and good suggestions for you Karen regarding the length of your ms.

Liz Blocker said...

I agree with you - get some new eyes on your manuscript, someone who is a professional and knows the business AND the craft. Someone you trust! It's possible that you're missing a lot of important information and will need to fill in a lot of holes, and end up with a more typical length, but it's also possible that you've got it about right and you just need someone to help you figure out how to market and classify it.

I know this fear on both ends - too long and too short - and it can be hard to resolve. But it WILL resolve, I promise!!!

Karen Walker said...

Karen,thanks for sharing and for the clarification
Rachna, I think they will, whoever they are
Liz, thank you for getting it!!!!

Julie Flanders said...

I've had this same issue with both of my books. Not the novella or novel problem, but the genre. I still don't know which genre they belong in! It can be intimidating and confusing trying to get it straight. There's so much that goes into all this beyond writing the book!

I so agree that this group is the best thing in blog-land. I look forward to it every month.

Suzanne Furness said...

One step at a time seems an excellent plan. Hope you find an editor to help you along.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

Good luck with your progress, one step at a time as Suzanne says is always a good train of thought.

Yvonne.

Laura Eno said...

I tend to write short. There's nothing wrong is a novella. Like you discovered, some of the classics were very short. As for genre, I think publishers pidgeonholed books too much but I write across genres so I don't like labels. :) An editor would have good suggestions for you.

Mary Aalgaard said...

It might not matter. I don't think a book has to be a certain length. How long is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night?" It's a fast read, and definitely a novel. I think it might actually be a good sell considering people's attention spans these days!

Thanks for your encouragement on my blog.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Don't feel insecure. It doesn't matter how long or short it is. Just how good it is! I'm sure you'll do fine!

We're not all spring chickens around here. Age is not an excuse if you feel passionate about it!

Take care,
Heather

Karen Walker said...

Julie, nice to know I'm not alone.
Suzanne, thanks so much
Yvonne thank you
Laura, I think so too
Mary, you are welcome
Heather, you're right - and I won't use it as one.

Robin said...

I hate deciding on genres too. It has gotten very complicated lately.

kimlajevardi.com said...

As other posters have mentioned, fleshing out what you have until it's closer to 50-60 k is a solid idea. Good luck!

Great IWSG post!

Kim Lajevardi
(This Writer's Growing)

Julie Musil said...

I had no idea about Animal Farm! Karen, I'm no expert on these things. I think you have a great plan.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Karen,

I think you have amazing energy and spirit! Your voice will be heard... Another author friend published her first book in her 70's... It's never too late!

I feel like i started too late as well. BUT a younger author friend told me my life experiences ADD to the depth and soul of my writing. I believe her. Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have my current voice.

Thanks for your kind words at my blog earlier...I really appreciate it...




Suze said...

Karen, did you ever watch 'Contact?' This post reminds me of what the protag's dad always told her, 'Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.'

Just don't stop. I know you won't. I'm excited to see how this continues to unfurl!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. perhaps the time away from the book .. ie your travel plans to new realms will give you time for thought and things to 'bed down' .. then you'll have more of an idea for the book's progress ...

Cheers Hilary

Shannon Lawrence said...

Good luck as you figure out the length thing. My first novel ended at something like 48,000 words. I've yet to flesh it out, but I figured at that point I should probably try to get over 50,000. I hope an editor can help you figure it out!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Karen Walker said...

Robin, yes it is confusing and a bit overwhelming
Thanks, Kim
Julie, I hope so
Michael, thanks for this - and you're welcome!
Suze, I did see Contact - thanks for that reminder
Hilary, brilliant idea - set it aside till after Africa - thank you!
Shannon, I sure hope so - thanks

K. Nowinsky said...

Writing is no easy task - as we all know. I ran into this same or similar issue - I thought my first draft was too short - so, after reading a couple of popular books - I figured out I needed to include more day-to-day activities = fillers. Something that can tie the reader to your story. As far as genre - what is your book about?

Arlee Bird said...

Getting the outside advice should be of help. I think the bottom line is marketing. How it is presented to the buying public often shapes their perception of what it is in the end. The most important consideration? Is the product good? If readers like what they've read then if there has been some misrepresentation as to genre or classification then they will probably be more forgiving.

But get the advice from others and see what they say.


Lee
A Faraway View

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Writing too few words isn't a problem for me, but I don't know which pigeon hole my writing belongs in, either. But ya know what? I say we just write the story we want to tell as best we can, and let others worry about its genre. Who cares what they call it... as long as they read it.

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

Determining genre is one of the hardest things for me. I had no idea where my first book should go, until finally I'd heard of Christian speculative fiction.

I'm sure you'll find where yours belong, and I hope you'll find a great editor that will help you sort it all out. Good luck with publishing and marketing, and I pray many will love your book! Writer’s Mark

Tonja said...

I'll read it. :)