I do wish they’d stop encouraging EVERYONE to write novels, as it makes it utterly impossible for the old-school novelist like me* to do one that’s like all those others that sell. Because everyone gets used to the “our new way is the ONLY way.” And nobody remembers how it used to be for inveterate readers who loved to know what was going on inside characters’ heads, what their philosophies were as they thought about them, and so forth. Many books that I pick up now are more like movies and much more distant as far as my mind is concerned. They’re books for people who don’t like to read. But anyhow, at least there’s SOMEthing. So it goes.
So you may remember my mentioning a YA that’s kind of silly. I had become a bookstore-reluctant because when I walked around, all I saw were books I didn’t like and books I couldn’t relate to written by people whose blogs I had read or whom I’d run across on various mailing lists (and they were always saying idiotic things and misusing words in their posts, so the clunky prose in the books didn’t surprise me–today, it is ALL about story, as readers don’t really have ears for cadence as far as I can tell, at least in genre). I never found much that I could love. Then I ran across an ADORABLE YA that reminded me of Roald Dahl and all the books I used to love. Looks like the sequel suffers from sequel-itis, but the original book inspired me to start working again on the book I’ve been screwing around with (but not cheating on! It’s only a VIRTUAL screwing) since last NaNo. Oh, and now Smashwords is allowing NaNo participants to publish as they scribble. This is bad news for me, as my first drafts are not for public consumption, but oh well.
_The Mysterious Benedict Society_ is like an old-fashioned BOOK book, with a Dahlesque tone/voice. It’s really cute, if you can still put yourself into the mindset of a youngster–and apparently that’s where I still live. That’s sort of what inspired this year’s NaNo entry.
Here’s my NaNo page blurb.
“APRIL, MAYBE JUNE. YA/paranormal adventure in the vein of all the books I used to love as a young adult and onward. April and June Bliss (no, REALLY) are sucked into their elder cousin Arlene’s troubles when Arlene is picked up by the police and bailed out by their parents–and before Arlene runs away again to escape being sent to BootCamp (one of those kid reprogramming/torture things), she leaves a journal-style book for April to use to “solve these math equations for me” (April has a Talent there, and these are Advanced Problems indeed, but there’s a hitch, as the journal is a magickal tome) and gives June a spoon ring to wear on her thumb that connects her to the same magickal movement that Arlene is working for. They’re going to try to steal April’s math talent and sell it (they do this) and they’re going to get June as one of their crazy lackeys, unless April can turn the tables on them. This romp takes the girls (14 and 13, as close together as their mama Lynwood and dad Gary could have them) on an Amtrak train to Chicago and then on a bus to NYC where they find their cousin, but can’t get the effects of the ring off of June (shades of “Help” and Ringo, eh?) and risk April’s mind and her talent when they confront the magickal group. It’s all going to be fun and written in the voice/vein of a modern-day “Harriet the Spy” or whatnot, for somewhat older readers. If you’re TOO old to enjoy it, whatever your chronological age, then I guess you’re limiting yourself (grin).”
I’m also working on a Sekrit Plan to go with Smashwords for a couple of my novels that don’t appeal to agents and editors (the ones I love and that are usually praised by contest judges and “regular” readers), because they feed into the Kindle/Amazon format and the Nook/Barnes and Noble format for e-readers, and maybe that’s the way for me to go with these. Let bored owners of a new Nook or Kindle run across them at a really cheap price and try them out. There are good-sized free samples of those books, as well. I know I’m getting into the “New York mocks you” territory, as MOST self-pubbed books need copy editing and many of them are full of The Crazy (people who can’t put together a sentence, let alone a paragraph, and whose stories reflect the disarray of their psyches and not much else). But I can’t take the dismissal any more. I think there’s a readership out there. More about this later. Perhaps my big accomplishment will be to blog about that. . . .
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”I’ve discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’”~Saul Bellow
(I love his _Henderson the Rain King_.)