So I have been plugging away on my new novel, a young adult science fiction currently called The Castle in the Girl (it's an eerie sci-fi with a bit of an M. Night Shyamalan feel to it). It's been going pretty well so far with very few hiccups (knock on wood!), although there's still a good deal of the first draft left to be paved. And of course that's all before another human being - be it a beta reader or critique partner - even lays their fresh pair of eyes upon it and lovingly rips it to shreds.
In any case, I am just encroaching on the 20K-word mark, and it has suddenly occurred to me (although I admit I suspected it all along) that this is going to be a pretty short book. In fact, I'd be surprised if it ebbs its way much past 30K.
[a collective gasp]
Wait - was that just a collective gasp from all of you that I just heard? I'm pretty sure it was. After all, I know what you're thinking - "A young adult book - only 30K words long! That's madness, I tell you. Sheer madness! Is that even......possible?"
Well, I believe it is. Sure, YA books run between 45-80K on average, and can even push a bit beyond that, especially in the speculative area. Heck, my own debut YA dystopian novel, The Fourth Generation, clocks in at a hearty 76K. But YA books can also run on the slimmer side as well. I did a little research just to be sure (and to stop myself from freaking about the marketability of my book) and discovered that some published YA books have indeed been as low as 30K or even somewhere in the 20Ks. And it looks like my new book is going to join that very exclusive, very celebrated (at least in my eyes now that I'm writing one around that length) crew.
The thing is, my book's not nearly as epic as The Fourth Generation. It's a lot quieter, though still packs a punch, I think (I hope!). The bottom line is the story really doesn't call for more than 30K words, and, really, it's all about what the story calls for, right ("Yes, it is," I can hear you all say collectively).
So, there you have it. A short YA. (See what I did there? I just put the post title right in the middle of the post - pretty cool, huh?) Of course, now that I've said that, the story will probably completely surprise me and demand to be much, much longer and more epic, but I severely doubt that. But, as we all know, stories have a way of both surprising us writers and telling us what it truly needs. So, well, I guess I'll be figuring that all out for sure before long. And, on a side note, I plan on posting its working back-cover blurb soon on the blog to really whet the collective appetite.
Until then, have a very collective day!