November 18th, 2003

A Pocket Full of Murder

I am an Idiot, Fit the Second

In case you missed it, Fit the First, which explains a lot of the background to this post, is here (though I've had to screen some of the comments because they were spoilery -- wonderful, but spoilery).

Anyway, just to confirm to the world my complete and utter stupidity, I'd like to announce that after ten years of living in denial for absolutely no good or sensible reason, I have finally broken down and admitted to myself that Knife is fundamentally a Young Adult novel. I didn't write it with that intention in mind, and for a very long time I resented and resisted all the suggestions made to me that it was or might be better marketed as a juvenile, but now I've been given a very good practical reason to reconsider that view, and once I stopped struggling the whole thing suddenly made a lot more sense.

The good practical reason? A couple of days ago, after I wrote the previous LJ post, I received an e-mail from a Real Live Editor at a major children's and YA publishing house, saying she was impressed by the first reader's report I quoted and liked what she'd seen of the sample chapters, and if I didn't mind the idea of having the book promoted as YA instead of adult fiction, would I like to send her the rest of the manuscript?

So after I finished running around the house pulling at my hair and squealing (hubby and the kids were pretty confused, I can tell you), I sat down and started thinking about what I would need to do to get the manuscript whipped into shape for the YA market. And what did I conclude?

Not a whole lot.

Ten years ago, when I first wrote the novel, things might have been different in the YA market -- or maybe they weren't really that different, I just imagined that they were. But it seemed to me then that the themes and concepts in the book were too adult for a younger readership. Now, however, I realize that it's really quite the opposite -- the book's central concerns and themes are in fact the typical preoccupations of adolescence. Feeling like an outsider, wondering who you are and what to make of yourself; sexual awakening, first love, questions of gender identity; questioning authority, choosing between tradition and conviction -- it's basically your classic coming of age novel.

Which is not to say that there aren't novels dealing with the above-mentioned themes which are decisively adult in nature, but when your book is about faeries and the approach is fairly straightforward, plus nearly everybody who's read the book has used the phrase "reads like YA fiction" at least once, it's kind of a no-brainer.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I am currently at work cleaning up messy bits of prose, over-wordiness and florid phrasing and such left over from ten years ago when I first wrote the book, and getting it ready to submit to the aforementioned major YA publisher. It's not a sure thing, of course -- nothing is -- but it's a fantastic opportunity, and at the very least, an encouragement.

I hope to have the book ready to mail out within the month. Here's hoping!

P.S. With her usual thoughtfulness and speed, friede has kindly created some fan art based on the chapters I posted in the previous message. Go look!
A Pocket Full of Murder

(no subject)

There's some exciting news in the follow-up to my previous post about the status of Knife. By rights I should have posted both those entries here, since they're to do with original rather than fannish writing, but oh well... they're over there now.