Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales) wrote,
Sarah Rees Brennan
sarahtales

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Well Played, 2010, Well Played

So when 2010 was rung in, my feeling was that this year would just have to be better than the last. It rang in very well, with a hairless cat in a tuxedo jacket and being a Cybills nominee!

Well 2010 I must commend you, you are holding up well thus far. In fact you are like a twinkly-eyed Santa Claus in January.

SANTA 2010: Ho ho ho, Sarah, have you been a good girl?
SARAH: Fair to middling.
SANTA 2010: Good enough! Let me see what I have for a fair to middling young lady...

Apparently it is a place for Demon's Lexicon in the American Library Association's 2010 Top Ten Books for Young Adults!

Holy wow, y'all. Holy wow.

This is something to warm me on the cold days with the blanket over my head hiding from my deadlines. (If they can't see me, they won't know I'm there!) I shall keep the window to look at whenever I have the squeeblies over my book.

I do not wish to tempt Santa 2010 by being a naughty girl and merely posting to yell 'Y'all! Come look!' and when the internet comes and asks 'At what?', answer 'Come look at how fabulous I am!'

So I was thinking of a thing. In the internet searches for Demon's Lexicon that I absolutely never make, because I am smarter than that, I have seen one thing, which startled me considerably! It was views that Demon's Lexicon was too short. Now though Nick is a fellow of few words, the book is in fact about 90 thousand words long. Which is not short. Edited To Add: Which is quite a bit longer than average, so you guys, stop telling me it's okay it's short - it isn't short! Which is what is interesting. (However, naturally I am complimented people wanted more!)

Holly Black's Tithe, Valiant and Ironside were all around 60 thousand words. Which our editor thinks is an ideal length for a YA novel. Editor puts the 75 thousand word length of White Cat down to 'bad influences.'

She says those words with a special emphasis, as if trying to make some sort of point? I really don't understand what that could be, though.

Maybe she means Cassandra Clare, whose books generally come in at 130 thousand words and are considered pretty long!

Margi Stohl and Kami Garcia's Beautiful Creatures got a lot of attention this year for being super long (and this did it absolutely no harm, as it is a delicious bestseller!) at about 150 thousand words.

And yet some people cleave to the old ways, as in Saundra Mitchell's Edgars-nominated (that means, super good excellent mystery I didn't guess!) Shadowed Summer, which is 50 thousand words long.

Looking at adult books, apparently in romance at least books have been getting shorter: Loretta Chase's books are now 20 thousand words shorter than they used to be, for instance.

A vague standard for adult novels seems to be around 90 thousand words, though of course there are giants around. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander/Cross Stitch is 294 thousand OH MY GOD HOW DOES SHE DO IT words.

What is with all these numbers, lady? you may be asking. Well, the thing is, I was having a conversation with a lovely agent lady, Colleen Lindsay, about how long YA books should be and how long they usually were these days, and I realised I had no answers! So I thought I would come to you guys.

But what is the standard for young adult novels? My wild guess is that the usual YA novel is about 80 thousand words, but I may be wrong. The crazy success of the Harry Potter series and the Twilight saga taught people we can write longer books, and now the people demand longer? (I would not mind hearing that they do. The Demon's Covenant is, um. 130 thousand words long. So I HAVE WORDS FOR YOU ALL.)

Does it not matter - the story should be Just the Size the Story Is? Do you guys crave meatier books, or does it all come down, as my sister's theory, to font size?

And in conclusion: Yay thank you American Library Association! Thank you, Santa 2010!
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