The Millions

The Burden and Necessity of Genre

When you write a book, there are certain questions you can expect: How long did it take you? Will you write a sequel? And—the inevitable—what is it?

What it is: thousands of hours tapping away on a keyboard between swiping student IDs at the Sarah Lawrence gym, months of crippling doubt, dozens of rewrites, maddening rounds of edits, the culmination of years of dreaming and plotting condensed into a 300-page manuscript with which I’ve imbued the emotional vulnerability of a pubescent diary.

No, they will persist. What is it?

I rehearsed this answer in my query letter, tweaked depending on the interest and need of the agent addressed: Complete at 80,000 words, this

Sometimes it was a literary novel. Sometimes a literary commercial novel. Sometimes a literary novel with commercial appeal.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Millions

The Millions18 min read
Translation as a Condition of Life: The Millions Interviews Aron Aji
One’s proficiency in a language has little to do with one’s birthplace. Proficiency requires training, study, and practice. The post Translation as a Condition of Life: The Millions Interviews Aron Aji appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions2 min read
The Millions Top Ten: August 2019
Major shakeups led to half of our list being populated by newcomers. Welcome J. Robert Lennon, Téa Obreht, Yoko Ogawa, Helen Phillips, and Olga Tokarczuk! The post The Millions Top Ten: August 2019 appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions4 min read
The Time I Opened for Bon Iver: On Allowing Failure to Flourish
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a fleeting hint of pride. Not for what I’d done, but for what we’d done together. We took a risk and the risk paid off. The post The Time I Opened for Bon Iver: On Allowing Failure to Flourish appeared first on Th