Monday, June 14, 2010

154,000 Words, Give or Take

I recently had an agent tell me that "Loving Maribel" (my second novel that I'm currently querying) is too long and I should take out a few thousand words. I appreciate her opinion, especially because she's been in the business for quite some time, but I must respectfully disagree. For starters, there's no fat in this story. Every scene is essential to the progression of the plot. I wouldn't put in an extra twenty pages just because I felt like typing on and on or because I wanted the story to be Twilight-esque in length. What is there is there because it's integral to these characters and their lives and without it something would be missing from the story and the readers would know they'd been played.
Second, and I know I might be alone in this, I won't read a book under 250 pages. I don't understand the purpose of those books unless it's a compilation of poems or short stories or because it's geared toward seven year olds. "The Boxcar Children" are short stories because their audience has a short attention span. On that same token, I think being under the impression that teenagers wouldn't want to read a 400 page book is ignorant. Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling and Chris Paolini proved just that point. They proved that millions of children can handle a 700 page book and will very much enjoy it. In fact, they'll go crazy over it.
For me, when I choose a book it is because I want to fall in love with the story and the characters and I don't want to sneeze and have it be over. Anything under 300 pages is a sneeze - I'll finish that in a day or two. I want something to enjoy for a period of time. I want it to last. And so I must respectfully disagree with agents out there who won't take on a story just because of its length.
Speaking of which, I am currently reading "The Tea Rose" by Jennifer Donnelly and am loving it regardless of it's length. Maybe even because of it. I'm on p.226 of 557. I'll write a review when I finish but for now just know that it's about England during the terrifying days of Jack the Ripper. Loving it. Then again, I'm partial to historical fiction. I also need to get back to Jamie Fraser (sigh) and read the 6th and 7th books in that series.
No news on the agent front. I've now queried 84 agents. 35 have responded back with a "pass". What I need is an agent that is a 17 year old girl. She'd fall in love with Lucy and Maribel Hartley and be able to relate to the high drama of being a teenager and sell the crap out of it to a publishing house and then my dream would come true and I'd be able to write for a living. Anyone know of a teenage lit agent? Yeah, didn't think so.
On I trudge.


  1. Keep going keep going keep going!

  2. Robby - I think you're inching up to tie Molly for my biggest cheerleader!

  3. Yeah, I hear ya... my novel CHAMORHYN is the exact same length, give or take. But the reason they gave me for making my novel shorter was what the reader would be willing to pay for a novel. As it stands, hard back is around 30 and paperback is around 25. Even I have issues paying that much for a novel.


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