Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Hope for the comic novel!!!!
I was delighted to read about Howard Jacobson winning the Man Booker prize for his comic novel, because it was precisely the combination of humour with a literary approach that made potential publishers nervous about "And the seas shall turn to lemonade", according to my agent. No marketing niche for such a book, apparently. And actually, it was Kate Grenville's hilarious novel "The Idea of Perfection" which gave me the courage to let go and be funny, in a literary way, and then I remembered she won the Orange Prize for Fiction for that book in 2001. It is a shame that it is so difficult to publish books which cross genres, but with any luck Howard Jacobson's success will pave the way for more humorous literary books to see their way into the hands of readers. And if you like such books, do look up Kate Grenville's wonderful tale of two unlikely lovers set in Karakarook, New South Wales. And for an update on my progress: I have now completed the final read-through of the manuscript before committing it to the formatting stage...sometimes it is hard to let the baby go. I had not realized that there were a number of small yet significant changes I wished to make before unleasing it into print, and I would highly recommend taking the time you need at this stage: preferably with a book at your side, Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass, which I have found enormously helpful for defining where there may be problems and fixing them.