Friday, November 6, 2009

So Many Words

Today was a weird day...I took my roommate to the oral surgeon's office for some wisdom teeth fun, drove her home, went to class for an hour, then came home and edited. I've been doing a lot of editing lately. This is due to the fact that I've done a lot of writing lately. And here's where my love of numbers comes in...

In 2009, I've written an official manuscript count of [...calculating...] whoa. A lot. I don't know if I should be embarrassed or proud that I've used so much of my time in med school to write fiction. Let's see:

Novels: 463,590 words
Short Stories: 95,364 words

And who knows what else...

I haven't queried all of the novels, and the ones I did query, I did so half-heartedly. I gave up easily, I guess. I've developed a thicker skin over time, but I also think my writing has improved. And by improved, I mean scarily, tremendously, mind-numbingly improved. My first draft had so many adverbs it doesn't even sound like English to me anymore (can you excuse me those three?). But that said, my first novel remains my favorite. I think it has the best story of anything I've ever written, and I hope at some point it sees the light of day. I'll hold out hope until it rots in that trunk.

As for genre, the sad fact is that writing whatever the hell you feel like writing is nice if you're writing for yourself. But I got to a point where writing for myself felt like a wasted effort. While I don't despise reading my own writing, I'd like someone else to pick up a book with my name on it, escape in it for a few hours, and consider the whole experience time well-spent. That's all I want. I'm not going for a Pulitzer here. I just want to write a good story, maybe even a popular story, which more than one person (ie. myself) can enjoy.

Anyway, I got off track. My initial genre (the self-indulgent one) was something along the lines of women's fiction with a philosophical/medical theme. The closest comparison I can make in terms of genre is something like The Time Traveler's Wife. And then I read about the market, realized I have no publishing credentials, got more than a few rejections, and decided to switch gears.

Now I'm writing YA, and whoa, the rumors are true. This is the genre to be in right now. I don't have a problem writing to the market - in fact, I think I'm probably better suited for the YA crowd. But to get so many requests for partials/fulls in one week was eye-opening for me. There is definitely a lot of truth to the publishing trends.

I'm technically between projects at the moment, but if I find an agent for my YA novel, I'll work on the next book in the series. Until then, I'll continue to edit the first book. One agent gave me tremendous advice about the manuscript, and I'm trying to work in her comments. I'm always grateful for an agent's advice, however brief. If only I had more betas...

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