About five years ago I wrote a science thriller. It had a lot of sex in it. I sent it off to agents and was stoked when two really, really famous agents (and dozens of regular agents) agreed to look at the manuscript. The famous ones even gave me some valuable advice--along with their rejections. I was flattered and grateful. Ultimately nobody wanted to represent me, though. All except for the one lady who offered me representation halfway through reading the book. When she finished the novel, she said, "never mind".
Over the years I've been trying to make the book less of a "never mind". I started by reading and analyzing a bunch of science-type thrillers. I deleted a lot of the sex (sadly). Then I devised a mystical Dan Brown type subplot (not involving the Vatican or the Masons, thank you). I also toughened up my female protagonist. I finally finished refining the final draft of this lean and action-packed novel a few weeks ago.
When I'm close to finishing a story, I always have a recurring dream. I dream about packing stuff into boxes. In real life, filling up boxes for a move is an exhausting pain in the ass. But my packing dreams are anticipatory, pleasurable--a metaphor for the excitement of moving on to another project.
Unfortunately, this time, my packing dream was premature. When I collected all the chapters, and did a word count of my thriller, I discovered it was only 66,000 words! That's way too short for a modern thriller. I tried to tell myself a short novel was okay. After all, Michael Crichton's debut, The Andromeda Strain was 66,000 words too.
It's a bad idea for a writer to make up excuses for why it's okay to buck trends, or to compare oneself to some long-time, bestselling author. So after a day-long delusion, I gave up on pretending I was the new Crichton. It's back to the computer to bulk up my novel. I'll invent a few more characters, add a bit of fluff. I'm hoping to finish up my thriller in the next couple of weeks.
Then I'll return to writing some sexy (and short) BDSM novellas. I can't wait!