Sunday, April 26, 2009

Novel Length

Kelly found a good post on novel lengths, which he linked to below. A bit discouraging to me. As I age, I want to write shorter and shorter novels. Less is more.

I clearly need to switch over to YA and middle school. I have the beginning of a YA fantasy, which I dropped because my job was eating my life. Maybe I should take another look at it.

There is much to be said for writing a science fiction YA, since these are as rare as hen's teeth, while YA fantasies are as common as teeth in therapod dinosaurs.

I'm currently working on a science fiction novella, not YA, which has gotten out of hand and is 38,000 words. This is an almost unsellable length. But I may be able to sell it to a small press as a chapbook. Anyway, I realized that -- at 38,000 words -- it is eight pages short of the Nebula definition of a novel.

Novella is a better category to be in if I am going for a Nebula, since it tends to be an underpopulated category. However, if I want to go for the Philip K. Dick Award, it ought to be a novel. I don't know if the P. K.Dick has a lower limit for length.

So I will finish it, and if the editor who wants to see it takes it, we can decide whether to fatten it up or slim it down. I think the ending needs to be a bit longer;and there are still places where I could trim in the first 50 pages.

I know it sounds arrogant to talk about awards, but I know my work is not commercial; so why not aim for critical acclaim?

1 comment:

lydamorehouse said...

Why not, indeed.

Though I have to chime in generally and say that I seem to write shorter and shorter novels the older I get too. I'm having a hell of a time getting my latest Tate book to clear 65,000. I feel like I told the story I wanted to and am now mostly looking for filler. It's a frustrating feeling.