It’s kind of one of those days. There are fruit flies in the kitchen, a Wild Child home sick from camp (with malaise, not actual sickness), and a number of unpleasant deadlines tickling at me. I realize that no one will be calling the Amnesty International hotline to report on these inhumane conditions anytime soon; I never said I wasn’t whining.
But anyway, to top it off, there have been, in fairly quick succession, two blog posts by two smart agents that basically speak to big challenges I will face in trying to sell my novels.
So one post was about the fact that boys don’t read young adult novels (they move right into adult sci-fi/thriller stuff) and therefore a male protagonist is hard to sell. The other post was all about how hard it is to successfully write in the present tense, and how even talented writers generally screw it up and therefore we likely should not attempt it.
These are not encouraging facts for a novice writer who has invested many hours in two novels: one with a male protagonist and one written in the first person present tense. Note I said novice writer – obviously there are dozens of exceptions to these rules, but said exceptions do not change what publishers think. And I am too much of a marketing geek not to want to at least try and create a product for an existing market. I had a brief frenzied moment of thinking about turning my main character into a girl, but that just felt like cross-dressing, and not in a good La-Cage-Aux-Folles kind of way. Maybe I am just being stubborn and it would work beautifully. But…no, I don’t think so.
Anyway, before I let myself drown in the sea of Monday misery I decided to procrastinate a little bit and drink my coffee while reading my current LUUUURRRVE-IT read.
I am reading The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak*. And here’s the thing. It’s narrated by Death. Like, the guy telling the story is Death. And I’m guessing that Mr. Zusak was told that wasn’t really going to fly. In fact, if an agent had bothered to think about it, she might have blogged about how not to have your book narrated by Death. But he did. And it’s UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME.
Now. I know this sounds like a rationalization to do whatever the hell I want without paying attention to smart agents who know a lot about selling books. (Thus discounting my comment about about the exceptions not really mattering). But really, it’s not. It’s more like a reminder that right now, I am supposed to take risks.
No one is waiting for my books right now. This is my time to try different things, play around, have fun. As the old song goes, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I would like to get my books published. But right now, as I curl up with my iced coffee, my fruit flies, and my lovely friend and narrator Death, I don’t think I’ll worry too much about those blog posts.
* This link is The Book Thief on Amazon, not because I get any money from them or because I want you to buy from them rather than your fabulous local bookstore, but because I am lazy and it was the first site that came up when I googled the book title.