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Literary vs upmarket?


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#1 Old guy on a bike

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:57 AM

After finding a link in another post describing the difference between literary, commercial and upmarket fiction I feel my novel falls into upmarket, but would like other opinions.

This is long but so is my book; 1161 pages.

 

The book I have written is not a faith based book, but it does deal with people of faith, and those that are lacking in such or deny as such. It parallels our world such as it is right now and many of the troubling elements plaguing us.

 

It follows Kelly;  an impoverished, embattled eighteen year old girl from Brooklyn who is fleeing from her past and in the hopes of a brighter tomorrow.

Her hopes all ride on the money she has scraped together and plied towards a year’s tuition at a university in Louisville Kentucky. But in her haste to leave the hell she has endured, she comes to Kentucky long before classes start with nowhere to stay.

She meets Tracy, the daughter of a wealthy philanthropist in an odd chance encounter and discovers she is a seasoned student at the same university.

 

Tracy and her parents take pity on Kelly and offer to give her shelter.

They discover quickly that Kelly has been sorely abused by her father and carries the scars of that abuse; both physical and emotional. They also discover she is a talented artist with an exceptional gift.

A friendship quickly develops between Kelly and Tracy and they discover they each possess something the other sorely needs.

The Higgins’s have the wherewithal to relieve Kelly’s financial distress; Tracy, an effervescent and markedly affectionate person pours out her affections in an attempt to heal Kelly’s deep wounds.

 Kelly for her part has a deep faith; polar opposite of Tracy.

Tracy harbors bitter resentment towards God following a past tragedy. It is Kelly’s unwavering belief in God that slowly begins to turn Tracy’s heart around.

 

The girl’s friendship and circumstances seem like a Godsend to each other.

Everyone but Tracy believes that their chance encounter was not chance at all but the product of divine intervention. This belief becomes more entrenched when Kelly is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

 

During the last months of Kelly’s life, Tracy and Kelly’s friendship evolves and at times tested. In a series of amazing happenings involving Kelly and her fraternity brethren, it becomes more and more believed that Kelly’s encounter with Tracy was divinely wrought. As Tracy begins to rekindle her belief in God, she also comes to believe God is using Kelly to influence others who may have turned their backs on God as well as those who may have faith, but are afraid to express it due to ridicule and persecution.

 

Tracy’s regained belief is then tested when she is faced with Kelly’s moments of doubt.

It becomes obvious that Kelly is not going to survive her ordeal and her belief in the almighty is shaken and the hopes of a miracle they harbor seem unlikely to come to fruition.

 

So what do you think? Literary? Upmarket? Something else?

Also; do you think that synopsis is to wordy to use in a query letter?

This is my first attempt at getting something published so I am a genuine neophyte.

 



#2 mwsinclair

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 01:36 PM

My first comment is about the length: at the very least, break it into multiple books. I seriously doubt any agent would take on an unknown author whose manuscript clocks in at nearly 1200 pages. The cost of the paper alone would make the book unsellable in paperback much less as a hard cover. Even if your writing is masterful, an agent would advise against making it a single book, so do yourself a favor and reshape it in the way you want before you even worry about a query.

 

Reading your synopsis, however, leads me to believe it doesn't need to be anywhere near that length anyway, regardless of what you think its genre should be. The manuscript will need revision to trim the fat. Although I obviously have not read the manuscript, you could reduce it by half and still have the story you want to tell at its core. Less is more, as they say. Too much, however, is often unpublishable.



#3 Old guy on a bike

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:07 PM

Oh, it is masterfully written; my ego told me so!

 

Seriously, point well taken.

I have thought about the length. My logical side said it was long, my creative side always argued otherwise.

One thing I will say in defense is that it is 85% dialogue. Most of the paragraphs are short; some only one line so there are a lot of spaces. It does read quickly for it's size.

But I did not think about the page count and a sellable product.

 

It has also been suggested I make it a two book project, but for all the times I've thought about it I just can't imagine where I would split it.

 

Also, I am giving serious thought to having it critiqued.

Is that something you would advise doing?

 

 



#4 mwsinclair

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:36 AM

Absolutely. At any size, get additional perspectives from people who will give you honest feedback. You don't want people to say, "Oh, I loved it" and not explain why or where their attention fell into an abyss. You can post a "help wanted" thread on this site to see if you can find someone here who's willing to help. If you have writers' groups near where you live, they can be a good source for like-minded types. But without a doubt, get a critique -- and give one to others.

 

As for the battle between logical side and creative side, that is familiar territory to many of us on this site. Writing and publishing require different skill sets. But a successful writer these days needs to have at least some business sense, and part of that is knowing your audience and what it wants. It's fine to shoot for an audience that likes looooooooong books, but I'm guessing that self-publishing a 1200-page paperback will cost upwards of $18 a copy, before factoring in the cover, editing, and marketing, much less any profit margin. That's simply untenable for an author who no one knows. I mean no offense, but one of the most accurate criticisms of us creative types is we never consider the practical aspect of our endeavors. Labors of love are wonderful ways to pass our time, but if we're not even earning a penny an hour on the effort, methinks it be a fruitless endeavor.






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