I’m supposed to be working on my Camp NaNo novel right now, but as always I found other shiny things on the internet to distract me, like talking to you guys.
So here goes.
Somber, slow pacing, I’ve heard it all before. It seems like no matter how epic I think a concept of mine is the finished product is always the same: a fairly quiet novel. And it’s easy, you know, to get discouraged when loud novels with high-concept plots and speedy pacing are the ones that are being ogled by everyone even yourself.
Cinderella as an assassin, time travel romance, Alice in Wonderland retellings! Sign me up as heck yeah.
Like a lot of you I entered The Writer’s Voice contest a few weeks ago and was pretty disappointed when I wasn’t chosen as one of the top 40. It’s all subjective I tried to tell myself, but deep down I knew that wasn’t the case. So like any sane writer would do I asked for help and boy did I get it. It came as a shock to me when I was told that my beloved novel seemed a lot slower than other YA novels. I’d done it again. I’d written another quiet one.
But thank God for Google. I stumbled across a very lovely post by the author of Water Balloon, Audrey Vernick, who talked about her experiences subbing a novel that was considered quiet, and how by raising the stakes a little she was able to give it that spark it needed. You can read that article here if you wish. Later I came across another magnificent post about quiet books and how to make them sparkle. You can read it here. I got to brainstorming. How could I make my quiet book a little less quiet?
I remembered reading somewhere that a sweet romance was always a plus. Perfect. I already had one, and with some tweaking and rewriting I was able to push it to the front a little. I read that adding an element of wish fulfillment, like in Anna and the French Kiss or The Princess Diaries would be a perfect way to kick you quiet book up a notch. Let’s face it, most girls would love to fall in love with a hot European guy or be a princess, even for a day.
I gave my main character hopes and desires I thought other teens would be able to relate to, like wanting to travel to London, and France, and eat Victoria sponge cake in Kensington Palace where Kate and William live. She has a major sweet tooth. I made her feelings for her childhood sweetheart more clear because what girl wouldn’t want to relive those years of being awkward and innocent, especially when you were in love for the first time.
I even ended up renaming my main character and the novel itself. At the end of the day it may still be a quiet novel, but I’m content with it.
Sorry this post was so long, but does anyone else out there write quiet novels? Curious minds would love to know.