Friday, April 13, 2007

Thoughts on the novel

What with everything else that has been going on here recently, I have rather taken my eye off the ball in respect of the novel. It's mainly a matter of time pressure, but also feeling uncertain about how on earth I can expand my writing style to novel length and wondering which genre the book might fit. How would you categorise Jodi Picoult's books, for example? Just in the catch-all of women's fiction perhaps...

I don't see my story as being chick lit, or even hen lit. Some elements of the plot are just too dark and although I am using a first person narrator, I don't write in that light, witty voice of chick lit. Anyway, I am far too old to write chick lit. Heavens I'm old enough to be the mother of a chick lit heroine, and I don't think even Mum lit is supposed to refer to the heroine's mother!!!

I have been told that I do have a distinctive voice in my writing so, since I seem to have found it by accident, I don't want to try to change it just to fit in with current trends. It doesn't really matter to me what genre my novel would fall into as I know what I want to write about and roughly how I want to do it. But should I ever be lucky enough to finish the manuscript and send it out into the big wide world, that is what publishers and agents would be looking at.

To give myself another boost I have subscribed to a magazine called 'The New Writer', which I hadn't even heard of until last week. The first one arrived a couple of days ago and today my copies of Writers' News and Writing Magazine popped through the letter box. With son 2 at home it is too noisy in the house to concentrate on actual writing of any kind, so I think I shall just have to content myself with reading about writing for a few more days.


Yvonne said...

Hope you find your inspiration soon. I also hadn't heard of that magazine, thanks for the link.

Anne Brooke said...

Whatever you do, I'd say stick with your writing voice! If you've found it, don't change it - and enjoy it, come what may!



Jan said...

Hello Cathy. I fell into your blog from elsewhere and read this 1st post with interest.
I know exactly WHAT you mean re the problem of expanding your style to novel length but it's brilliant if folk say you have your own " voice" ; hopefully the "voice" will accomodate the novel,catch on to the language, the tone, pace... THIS is the Pot Calling The Kettle Black, by the way and I do get what you're saying.
I also reckon you shouldn't have to alter YOUR style to fit in with "what other folk want"

Cathy said...

Jan, thanks so much for your comments, especially as I see from your profile that you are a creative writing tutor! I do agree with both you and Anne that it is best to stick with my own voice and themes rather than try to write something formulaic which would probably have gone out of fashion before I'd finished it anyway. I can already see that I am never going to be the sort of writer who can knock out a novel in a few months!

Jan said...

I wish I was good at listening to my own advice though..I hear myself saying stuff that sounds "sensible" but do I take the advice m'self?? No.
I wrote a novel 2 yrs ago ( my 1st) which an agent was interested in but then she " let it go" . Then a yr ago, I was very " into" something but crazily, I deleted 20,000 wrds of it by accident ( while talking to someone on the phone at the same time!!)
Instead of pushing forward, Ive got disheartened which is silly, I know.
Hopefully this summer I'll proceed again...!