Friday, 8 June 2012

My Novella Can Be Stretched...

I don't mean length-wise, though that's a possibility.

If you haven't seen Sally Quilford's post today about the new My Weekly Pocket Novel guidelines, then follow the link here.

I think the addition of a Medical genre will prove popular and I know one writer friend who will certainly be encouraged. Personally I spend enough of my life dealing with the medical fraternity so don't want to use my spare time writing about them in any form.

My Nottinghamshire novella set in 1802, with my delicious hero Hugh, was hopefully destined to be a pocket novel submission, but despite all my groundwork something just wasn't right; as I had my other writing projects I decided to put the novella on hold and let my brain work on it in the background.

Since the MW (My Weekly) pocket novels have been updated (a much more attractive cover design) there's been a lack of pre-20th C settings and I did wonder if this was just scarcity of submissions or editorial preference.

Personally I thought the extended length- moving from 30,000 to 50,000 words may have been too long for some stories, but not long enough for others.

And with the expanding e-book market there's a lot more options available - without the restrictions the writer needs to be aware of for a PN (Pocket Novel).

I think it was those elements that blocked me because I was too aware of them as I wrote, rather than just getting on and writing it, even with the no-nos in, and editing them out later...

With the guidelines making a strong reference to specific times: " Pocket Novels can be set in any time era from the Second World War onwards." My novella certainly won't fit...
I'm not sure what I will do with it when it is finally completed, but I can look at potential markets in the meantime.

In some ways knowing it will no longer fit means I'm not restricted in the way I was previously, so my baddie can be punched in the jaw by my hero, because said baddie has almost caused the heroine's death.

And if the intimacy between Hugh and Sarah goes beyond a stolen kiss, that is no longer a problem-which I'm fairly sure will make my characters a little more cooperative.

Yes, I know there are the conventions of the time, but records show pre-marital sex did actually happen- social and economic histories are not totally boring... :-)

Will the latest PN guidelines be encouraging you to try this market?


Rosemary Gemmell said...

I read the PN guidelines the other day, Carol, and was surprised to see no mention of historicals. I'd still quite like to try my modern story there, but there are lots of other options too now.

I think you'll find it liberating to write your book the way in which it wants to proceed!

Carolb said...

You're right, Rosemary, there are a lot of other options available to writers now, and I think My Weekly will notice this in their submission numbers.

I've got renewed enthusiasm to tackle my novella now, as I want to write it. :-)

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind giving this a go Carol. I've only ever written short stories and poetry but this might be the next step for me.

Maisie said...

As a reader of Pocket Novels (not a writer!), I'm disappointed that the editors have decided to do away with historical pre WW2. I loved reading PNs set during the Civil War, Restoration, the Regency and the Victorian age, and it's such a shame that there won't be any of those in the future.

Carolb said...

Good luck with your efforts, Marion. Sally's blog has quite useful information.

Like you, Maisie, I'm sorry to lose the PN's set pre-20th century, as I always enjoyed them.

Perhaps they may want them again some time in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.