So, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. I was talking with some friends about the recent weather. One of them mentioned that the forecasters in St. Louis are right more times than anyone else in the region. The conversation drifted to how everyone else had said something different.
A story concept popped into my head.
What if fortune tellers were in the same business as the weathermen? They all come out with their bold claims of what's going to happen and what people should do to avoid disaster in their lives, but each prophecy is wrong.
It made me chuckle.
On to new business.
This morning I was roused at 4 am by a terrible dream. Unable to go back to sleep, I got up and wrote a few lines. The WIP stands at 147 pages as of this morning. By the old-school 250 words per page algorithm, I'm somewhere around 35,000 words. It's probably way off, but I can't get this far without wondering how much I've slogged out. The ink ribbon in my Remington Rand Model 1 is starting to run dry.
At first I wasn't happy. My output was slower over the last week for a variety of reasons. It's the end of February and I was hoping to be much farther along. Most adult contemporary fiction is at least 80,000 words long. By that standard, I'm not even halfway done.
But then I realized something: this isn't a contemporary adult book!
That's right. My protagonist is only 16, so technically it's a YA novel. According to Writer's Digest, the ballpark for this genre opens at about 50,000 words and caps off at 80,000 (Harry Potter and related series notwithstanding; there are exceptions after all).
So, awesome! I'm over the halfway point!
I never thought I'd see the day when I was inadvertently writing a story for younger people. When I first began my journey I was dead set on writing "serious" books. No kids' stuff. When I began the current WIP, I didn't stop to think about how I would market it. Now I know.
And knowing is half the battle!
I'm having a lot of fun with this story, and the fact that it's YA opens up new possibilities I never thought about. I don't have to make a point to delve into all of the deep, disturbing social issues of the historical period. Since the action takes place in 1894, I could go into gender roles, racism, economic inequality, fallout from the Civil and Indian Wars, etc.
Sure, I've mentioned a few things to help build the setting, but that's about it. After that was established I just told the story. Off the top of my head, I think I've inserted three of the above themes into the novel.
That's when it clicked. I've liberated myself (at least with this project) from talking about all of the "serious" stuff that some adults expect from their fiction. It really is ok to write something for pure entertainment.
It's my hope that when the current WIP is finished, I'll be able to get it accepted by an agent or editor. Maybe it will inspire some young person to enjoy books more. That would make up for all those years I wasted on TV and video games.
This little revelation of mine came after I did something else rather unusual: I took a nap.
Methinks this author should establish a new custom for himself.
Power to the pen!