Tag Archives: genre

Would You, Could You, Read a Fiction Book?

dr. seuss 2I was at a party last night when the topic turned to the latest “must read” books. My ears perked up as I listened to the discussion. They happened to be works of fiction and a few people chimed in with comments like:

“Oh, I can’t read a book if the story’s not real!”

“Why would you read about something that never happened?”

“They’re a waste of time!”

“I learn so much from those self-help books. What can you possibly learn from fiction?”

Really? They have absolutely no idea what they’re missing.

As typical, my thoughts on this subject swirled with another post I recently read. I wish I could remember who wrote it but my brain seems to have filed away that bit of information. Anyway, it was about finding time to read and the author asked for responses in the poetic style of Dr. Seuss. The next thing I knew, this little ditty started to form in my head. Hope you enjoy it.  Happy Friday!

I need to read.
I need to read.
Read, I need.
Fill my need.
I beg and plead.
But don’t make it that
fiction, you love to read.

Do you like
to read a book?

I do so love to
read a book.
But I don’t want fiction
on my nook.

Can’t you read fantasy?
Why must it be reality?

I do not like fantasy.
Realism is the only way for me.
Fiction has no legitimacy.
If it’s not true, then I won’t read.

I do so like
to read a book,
but I can’t have fiction
on my nook.

Could you read
Catcher in the Rye?
Could you read
The Sheltering Sky?

I cannot read
Catcher in the Rye
I cannot read
The Sheltering Sky
I cannot read such
subliteracy.
I can only read
Non-fiction, you see.
I do so like to read a book.
but I won’t put fiction on my nook.

Would you read
Sophie’s Choice?
Or something else
by James Joyce?

Not Sophie’s Choice.
Not James Joyce.
Not Catcher in the Rye.
Not The Sheltering Sky.
I cannot read it if it’s not true.
No made-up worlds will ever do.
I do so like to read a book
but I won’t have fiction on my nook.

Would you? Could you?
Read Animal Farm?
Or Hemmingway’s
Farewell to Arms?

I would not,
could not,
read Animal Farm.

Or Hemmingway’s

Farewell to Arms!

You may like them.
You will see.
Try Ironweed,
Fifty Shades Freed?

I would not, could not read Fifty Shades Freed.
Nor Ironweed! You let me be.

I would not like Tales of the Beadle Bard.
Or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
I would not like Stephen King’s The Stand.
Or any book by that woman Ayn Rand.
I would not like Melville’s Moby Dick.
Or that strangely titled book, Ubik.
I do so like to read a book.
I just don’t want those on my nook.

Twilight! Wuthering Heights!
How about At First Sight?
Could you, would you try
Tender is the Night?

Not Twilight! Not Wuthering Heights!
Not at First Sight or Tender is the Night!
Please tell me, you got that, right?
I would not like An American Tragedy.
I would not like The Guide to the Galaxy.

I would not like Sense and Sensibility.
Not even The Studs Lonigan Trilogy.
I would not like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Or anything by that guy Salman Rushdie

Say!
Emily Bronte?
Or Charlotte Bronte?
All Quiet on the Western Front?

I would not, could not,
Read a Bronte.

Would you, could you,
Read Pearl S. Buck?

I would not, could not, read Pearl S. Buck
I’ve already told you, I don’t give a –
Not even a book by Harper Lee.
I do not like fiction books, you see.
Not Lord Jim. Not Lucky Jim.
Not even Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. Not even on a whim!
I will not read a fiction book.
I do not want them on my nook.

You will not read
a fiction book?

I will not
give them,
a second look.

Could you, would you read
On the Road?

I would not,
could not read
On the Road.

Would you, could you read
Tobacco Road?

I would not, could not read On the Road.
I will not, will not, read Tobacco Road.
I won’t read a world that’s fantastical.
I treasure my books that are biographical.
I will not read a mystery.
It must be truth from history.
I will not read a work of science fiction,
where alien creatures are the main depiction.
I will not read a silly romance.
It’s hardly worth a second glance.
I will not read a romantic suspense.

Reading illusion doesn’t make sense!
I will not read
a fiction
book!

I do not want them
on my nook!

What is this aliteracy
that you claim?
Read them! Read them!
You’ll never
be the same.

Damn!
If you will let me be
I will try them.
You will see.

Say!
I like to read a fiction book!
How many will fit on my nook?
And I would read all ever wrote!
And I would read them as you gloat!
And I will read them in the rain.
And in the dark with severe eye strain.
And in a car until I get sick.
They are so good, what’s a little ick?

So I will read them at the doctor.
And I will read them while I proctor.
And I will read them in my house.
And I will read them with my spouse.
And I will read them here and there.
Say! I will read them ANYWHERE!

I do so like
to read a book
Now it must be
FICTION
on my nook!

Word Count Guidelines for Novels

Seems simple enough, right? You finish writing your book and then glance down at the word counter at the bottom of the screen and voilà: there it is! Uh, no, it’s not that easy. You need to make sure the word count is right for your genre. What?

Yes, there are guidelines about book length and they are specific to each genre. I thought I had confirmed this by doing {alert: key word coming} a little research on the internet. Okay, in my defense there is not a lot out there, thus the reason for this post. What I read indicated that my novel should be about 120k words. If it were any less than that, an agent wouldn’t even look at it. What’s that? They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true? Oh, I guess I didn’t mention that I’m a French model.

These guidelines are especially important for those who have never been published before. New authors need to develop some “street cred” before considering going beyond these word count boundaries. For example, you shouldn’t write an 800+ page YA novel (well, unless you’re J.K. Rowling). What publisher would take such a risk on an unknown? BTW, JKR’s first novel was just over 300 pages (about 75k words). It all comes down to numbers, people. It costs more to print a longer book which can eat away at the potential profits (and I thought I’d left my nerdy past behind me).

There are many ways to confirm the word count that is suitable for your novel. Take a lesson from me. Look at more than one website for guidance and consider the source. Is it reliable? Can’t find anything online? Study books that have sold in your genre. Can’t convert pages to word count? Use an estimate of 250 words per page to get a general idea. Look at the success stories on querytracker.net (a wonderful little tool, by the way) which lists the genre and word count for each success story in the website’s database.

Biggest take-away? Don’t just read what I’ve learned about word count or any other topic I post. I’m a newbie, remember? There, that’s my disclaimer. Do your own research! I’m not an expert. I’m just providing some food for thought. Here are some helpful posts to get you started.

http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/word-count-for-novels-and-childrens-books-the-definitive-post

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2009/07/word-count.html