It’s only a little over three months before I publish my first novel. I’ve known from my other writings that people can vary widely in their response to any given set of words. Even calling my next book a novel has varying reactions. It will top-out at about 45,000 words. Many people will tell you that a “novel” has to be at least 50,000 words.
Well, as it seems to be with all things written, there are exceptions to the “rules”. One famous author, Samuel Beckett, wrote a “novel” called Mercier and Camier that’s 128 pages long. That’s only about 34,000 words (in the 8.3 x 5.4 inch edition).
And, when it comes to the content of the book, opinions start to veer off in multitudinous directions. A case in point:
I have a prologue in my novel. Many folks have told me they liked it and it helped them get into the story. Many other folks told me to get rid of it…
In that prologue, my co-author breaks a “rule”. She gives the reader a chance to decide if they want to believe she’s real or treat her as a fictional character. Some people like it, some don’t. Here’s that debatable excerpt:
“What I say next may or may not be believed but, either way, this story is true—true as fact or true in the way fiction can rise to heights unattainable by mere facts.
“I am a woman from a star system about twelve light-years from Earth. If you choose to believe me, my story is a history lesson—how to achieve unity and peace—a lesson that Earth desperately needs. If you choose to not believe I’m real, my tale is a science fiction story about how to achieve unity and peace—a lesson that Earth desperately needs…
“I’ll proceed on the premise that I am real.”
Would that kind of disclosure bother you?
Do you think it adds reality to the character even though she presents the opportunity to deny her reality?
What are your thoughts/feelings about how wildly varying readers’ responses can be??