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  1. morningside
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    morningside Member

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    Young Adult Border...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by morningside, Jul 15, 2009.

    The manuscript I've recently finished is only about 49,000 words, therefore it's not exactly long enough to be considered strictly an adult novel, though when I put it into the young adult category, I feel funny. The protagonist is in her twenties, not exactly in the teenager realm, and the situations that arise might be a little too heavy for the younger teens category. Yet, with my word count, it doesn't seem right to be classified as an adult novel, either (and I'm sure most publishers wouldn't see it as one...)

    So I'm torn.

    I wrote the story, understanding 80k words was the base for first time novelists, but I also didn't want to fill the story with useless text. I wanted to complete the story when I saw fit, and I believe I did. Is my manuscript pretty much a lost hope, because it's not up to par with the word count, should I consider it YA, or are there exceptions and can I classify it as an adult story?
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The fact that your character is slightly outside the typical age range is the only thing that makes it iffy. If you think it's too heavy, you haven't had a very good sampling of what goes into books intended for teens. Generals Die in Bed is a WW1 memoir that was reprinted by a teen publisher. The author described very vividly what he did and saw in the trenches, and includes an affair he had in Paris. I just finished reading one that was about a foreign exchange student in Shanghai a few months before what happened in Tienamen Square. The author, who had been in China at the time herself, hid nothing about the kinds of things that happened there.
     
  3. morningside
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    morningside Member

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    When I think of ways to compare my story, I tend to mention Twilight (since they're both vampire novels), though the death that wasn't mentioned in Twilight is mentioned in great detail in my story. The sexual tension scenes described in Twilight, are multiplied in my story.

    I believe Twilight is considered YA, maybe I should accept the fact that, that's what mine is considered as well.

    That's not such a bad thing.

    It's good to know the spectrum of YA is larger than I originally assumed!
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It pisses me off when people act like it could be a bad thing, or that teen and children's literature are beneath adult books in any way. Because books like Twilight, which are crap, are the most populars ones, that is the perception that people have of those books. You might be interested in looking at what some independent Canadian publishers print. I know one American one that you might want to check out, too.

    These are two good places to start. Flux is the American one.
    http://www.fluxnow.com/
    www.annickpress.com
     
  5. morningside
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    morningside Member

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    Flux looks very interesting, and I'm definitely going to check it out.

    As for submitting my manuscript directly to the publisher. I'm currently working with an editor to get it properly edited, should I wait till I get the edited manuscript to submit it, or is it okay to have an un-professionally edited manuscript?
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since you usually have to pay to get something edited professionally, I would say not to worry about it. Most people can't afford to pay someone to edit it for them. Submit when you're ready. But I'm not the expert on this.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, length should not be used to decide the market, only the content does that... so, don't assume it'll be seen as a YA book, just because it's too short for an adult market novel... and anyway, novels for the older YA crowd wouldn't be that short, either, so with a main characters in the 20s, it's probably not written for the younger teens and almost-teens who'd be the market for such a short work...

    it's never ok to submit a ms that isn't polished, no matter who has done the editing [and that should be the writer him/herself, if at all possible]... are you paying a pro to edit it for you?... have you checked out their work, to make sure they can do a good job?... sad to say, all who call themselves professional editors are not worth the fees they charge, so what you get may still not be polished well enough to submit...

    that said, if you feel that your own writing/editing wasn't good enough to submit as is, then it would make no sense to submit the ms till the pro you're paying has finished the work, would it?... but you should still have someone knowledgeable take a good look at the finished product, before submitting it, to make sure they did a good job...
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You should edit your own novel professionally. If you're enough of a writer to submit for publication, you're professional enough to edit your copy. Never depend on someone else to fix it for you. Don't throw your money away.

    And never approach publishers until you have a manuscript that is ready for consideration, i.e. fully edited.

    EDIT: Ok, Maia, you posted first this time :)
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who said anything about younger teens? YA also includes 16-19-year-olds, which is how Generals Die in Bed is listed on Annick Press.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yippee!!!... finally made it...

    i didn't say anyone had, rei... i was simply pointing out that a novel this short wouldn't be marketable for the older regions of the YA range... and that from what the op says about her own book, it doesn't sound as if it was written for the 12-15 yr olds who buy the shorter books, anyway...
     
  11. morningside
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    morningside Member

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    So do you guys mean to say that because my protagonist is in her early 20's, I shouldn't classify it as YA?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Doesn't matter what your protagonist's age is. What matters is the target age of your reading audience.

    The content guidelines and word count that the publisher will consider your manuscript against is what makes it YA. If you submit the same story to a publisher for adult novels, the manuscript is considered against different criteria. That's what classifications like YA are all about.

    If the word count and the overall content don't fit any of the sets of guidelines you can submit to, you're SOL, so that's why you would want to research target markets in advance of writing your story. If the tale doesn't fit, there you'll sit.
     
  13. morningside
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    morningside Member

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    I feel my story is geared towards the age group 16-21, or so, which does lightly tread on the border of YA.
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Why not add a few more chapters to the middle? The middle of a story is never hard to extend.
     
  15. Kirvee
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    Please don't assume that all teenagers secretly want to be vampires (werewolves are better...). Twilight was not a good example of a YA novel.

    If you want a good example of a YA book, "Things Not Seen" is an awesome YA novel.

    I do have to admit though, your book sounds more like it's for either the older YA or adult. Depends entirely on the content.
     
  16. morningside
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    I'm not assuming all teenagers want to be vampires. I wrote the story that I fell in love with, in hopes that others will fall in love with it all the same. It's quite the twist to vampires, a species I've been fascinated with for many years, even before the fad spread throughout the world.

    And I agree that Twilight wasn't a fantastic YA novel, but to the general mass, I fell many people can understand a comparison to it. After all, it's widely known, even if you haven't read the saga.

    My story would be for the older YA crowd.
     
  17. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was saying the exact opposite. I said that it's not the most common thing in the world, but it certainly can be done. Generals Die in Bed starts when the author is 18, but it extends through the entire war. In a novel about a werewolf, the author doesn't even provide his age, and he seemed like he was older than 19. The Theif Lord is told as much from the point of view of the adult characters as the children.
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inserting additional words anywhere in a novel for the purpose of increasing word count--call it adding, inserting, padding, extending--will likely weaken the novel. If the content was important, it should have been included in the original version.

    Beyond that, adding chapters can have ripple effects througout the novel, requiring a lot of work to keep things consistent and flowing.

    In any case, with the novel being 49,000 words and Morningside hoping for one about 80,000 words, that's 31,000 words of 'adding chapters in the middle' or almost 65% based on the original word count (depending on how you want to calculate it).

    Terry
     
  19. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your manuscript is 49k words? That's way too short for a novel for older teens, let alone adults. I'd work on revising the story as a whole.

    And if you want to see examples of YA romantic fantasy novels, see:

    Blood and Chocolate - Klause
    Evernight - Claudia Gray
    Tantalize - Leitch
     
  20. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on the publisher, marina. The publishers I mentioned earlier will accept books of that length, and shorter.
     
  21. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Now I'm not expert in any of this, but do you think changing your novel into a novella might work? A novella is shorter than a novel, but longer than a short story or a novellette.
     
  22. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Doesn't really matter what you call it, Eve. Besides, though they do exist, markets for anything of that length for adults is very small. If it can work for either age group, might as well try both.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Novellas are a much smaller market to try to sell to.
     
  24. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    She's talking about a storyline that skews older than the book you mentioned. Amazon.com says it's for 9-12 year olds. Not sure if they have it right, but paranormal/fantasy/romance YA novels written for older teens has got to be longer than 150 pages to avoid the publisher's trash can, I would think. I wouldn't even look at a book that thin.
     
  25. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Marina, I'm the one who said earlier "Who's talking about younger teens?". Some books marketted to older teens are that short. And nobody has mentioned a genre, so I don't know why you're bring that up. You're missing out on some pretty good books if you're going to make judgements based on word count.
     

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