My panic this morning is a carryover from last night and is entirely self-induced.
I recently finished a novel. I read the last three chapters at my writing class over the last two weeks and feel very happy with the ending. It's all about the ending, right? I'm confident about beginnings, but endings are harder for me. I really like this one.
It's time. Maybe. Maybe not. Time to think about trying to get it published. I need to remember Yoda's wise words: "Do or do not. There is no try." This is advice I would give to anyone about anything they want for themselves, but is a really tough one for me only for this one thing: getting published. Yoda would hit me on the head with his cane if he heard me say, "time to think about trying." That's not even trying and is definitely not doing.
Baby steps, Yoda, I need to take baby steps.
I have taken some small steps. I lined up two people I trust to be readers - to read it all the way through. I started reformatting the text and doing yet another round of very detailed edits. I am thinking about what I would say in a query letter. I purchased a market guide that has sent me into the full panic I have been experiencing since it arrived in the mail. I marked with colored flags publishers that might fit my style while I was icing my foot and was unable to run from it.
My husband apologized for butting in, but couldn't stop himself from going to the websites of the flagged publishers to get the detailed information. I hugged him. He offered to do all the research for me if I just tell him what information to look for. Thank you God for sending him to me.
We found two publishers right away that seemed to be potentially OK. However, one of the publishers stated on their website that they only accept novels with a minimum of 50,000 words. Apparently a novel that is less than 50,000 words is not a novel at all - it is a novella.
I am a writer of novellas.
This sort of fits me. I am exceptionally short and petite. And impatient. I like short novels. I prefer The Hobbit over any of the Lord of the Rings books - only because I can finish The Hobbit and have zero chance with the longer ones.
I write for adult women (not to exclude men, but the perspective is definitely that of a woman). What woman has time to read 100,000 words? If you do, I am completely in awe of you. At this point in my life, it would take me forever. I have a huge list of half-read books.
I cannot add another word to my novella without ruining it. In fact, I need to remove just a few. No where in the publishing guide does it mention publishing a novella. It has information on novels and on short stories. Nothing in the middle except a definition: a novella is a long short story or a short novel between 20,000 and 50,000 words. My stories are 42,000 words. I feel inadequate, like I can neither write a short story nor a novel, which is ridiculous. I love novellas - Call of the Wild, Of Mice and Men, Old Man and the Sea.
Novellas I write. (Yoda, please stop konking me on the head now.)
I told my husband I need to set all this business aside and just write. I am in the middle of a chapter of a new story. I should have finished the chapter instead of stressing myself out. He said with great kindness, "You don't need to worry about this at all." I agreed and set a deadline of July 31, the end of the summer term of writing class. I told him I will have my edits done, first draft of the new novella written (no way is it going to be longer than the last), and ten publishers selected by July 31.
He looked at me like I was a little crazy. He told me I didn't need to set a date at all. I should just set it aside.
I know myself better than that. Without a set deadline to hold myself to, it will never happen. Not a chance. So July 31 it is, which is very doable for me and is far enough away to allow myself to breathe today.