Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Novel-Writer in Sheep's Clothing

I did it.  I came up with 30 ideas in 30 days, and boy, some of them are stinkers!  A few, if held up to the light, have a glittery sheen (and they have nothing to do with vampires), but many will never see the light of day.

It was harder this year, without a doubt, because I am at a crossroads with my writing.  I seriously do not know what kind of writer I am.  Actually, I think I do know what kind of writer I am, and it scares me.

I have been writing short stories and picture books for these last few years, not because they are easy (see many previous posts about how hard writing a picture book really is), but because they are, in a word, short.

A couple months ago I attended the KS-SCBWI conference and had a critique session with Diane Muldrow of Golden Books.  I had sent her a picture book manuscript.  It was a very unusual picture book story.  I was, in fact, not entirely sure anyone would consider it a picture book.  It was more along the lines of Bink and Gollie, a picture book/chapter book hybrid.  But I wanted an industry person's perspective.  Being a publisher of books for the very young, Ms. Muldrow very professionally and very politely questioned it's characterization as a picture book.  She even went one step further: "You're obviously a good writer [whew!].  Have you ever tried writing in different genres?"

Oh no...she spotted me, I thought.  She thinks I'm a novelist masquerading as a picture book author.  I should have brought my dog PB instead! 

Novels are so darn long!  How in the world do you finish one?  Do I have what it takes to birth pages in the hundreds, not dozens?  I stew over it to this day--afraid to take the plunge in the pool that is writing a novel.  How do you know?  Is it a gut thing?  Should I just do it?  Huh?  Huh?  I'm open to guidance...