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...
Posted by Kristen Hilty at 2:54 PM