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 Millions4 min read
Must-Read Poetry: November 2019
“how simple it is to see / in the dark, like an ember glowing wild — / losing a child means always losing a child.” —Shimon Adaf, Aviva-no The post Must-Read Poetry: November 2019 appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions6 min read
November Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated (This Month)
There are a whole lot of books in our Second-Half 2019 Most Anticipated list—here's a refresher for the month of November so you can keep up. The post November Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated (This Month) appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions6 min read
Tuesday New Release Day: Starring Machado, Pico, Sexton, Tariq, Older, and More
New titles from the likes of Carmen Maria Machado, Tommy Pico, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Malcolm Tariq, Daniel José Older, and more. The post Tuesday New Release Day: Starring Machado, Pico, Sexton, Tariq, Older, and More appeared first on The Milli