Monday, September 20, 2010

PB vs The Novel

For those of you who came looking for a post about peanut butter, I'm sorry to disappoint you. However, I've used the word "book" in the last two out of three post titles. And I do hate to be redundant because being redundant is something I hate. Now, because I think I'm soooooo smart...

1) PB's are a lot shorter than novels. Who would have known? Significantly shorter. I'm thinking my novel will end up with at least 75,000 words. My children's book...293 words.

2) PB's take less time to write than novels, but more time to write than novels. I spent a good three or four hours on 293 words. Less time than my novel, right? However, it's relative. If I invested that much time into each word of my novel, it would take me a total of 61,443 hours. Really, I did the math. That is seven years of nonstop writing (absolutely no breaks for eating and sleeping).

3) I can read my PB to my son. I can't read my novel to my son. No matter which way I spin it, he's not interested in my novel. "Once upon a time there lived a girl named Tess who suffered from feelings of intense loneliness..." Not exactly bedtime material.

4) Your character and plot arcs are infinitesimally smaller than in novels. Your problem needs to be resolved pretty quickly, and your character needs to figure him or herself out even faster. It's the reason a lot of my PB attempts have fizzled out. I've just shaken my head and asked, "Where is this GOING?"

5) EVERY WORD COUNTS. There is absolutely and under no condition never ever any extra superfluous word usage. Okay, technically there shouldn't be extra words in your novel either, but those can slip a little.

Now onto my secret: I did send out my PB to some dream agents. I want to play this awesome game called Query an Agent! that everyone keeps talking about. And a girl can hope, can't she?

Note to my critique group: I did remove the chicken eggs.


  1. Yay!!


    Wishing you the very best on your PB.


  2. Query an Agent - it's really just a game of stress...
    Congrats though! That's cool!

  3. Shelley took the words out from under my fingers, so I'll cross them for you instead. Best of luck!

  4. :)

    I've spent the last few weeks re-working a pb with my agent. I was stuck on one stanza for days. Grr.

  5. Congratulations on getting into the query game. Good Luck on you picture book.

  6. Finding you fit a new niche is so exciting! I hope great things come of this!

  7. Good for you! I wish you all the best with your queries!

  8. Gah! You're taunting the rest of us with those eggs. So cruel. And good luck with the game. It's a stressful one.

  9. I hope you put in the cowpie! I loved that line. Good luck with the queries. I can't wait to hear how this goes. It has to do well. It's fabulous.

  10. Great list! And the fact that writing a 293 word book takes as long as a novel is exactly why I don't write PB's.

    Good luck with the agent hunt!