Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Friday, October 30, 2015

Got Form?

So according to one source, the major forms of literary fiction tend to fall into one of three overall categories:


Other sources set the overall umbrella a little differently to include:

Graphic Novel
(Narrative) Poem/song
Short Story

Some lists include novel, novella and short story as a subset of Prose.  Another list also includes Flash Fiction, Novelette and Epic as subsets of prose in addition to the previous three.  So, what is a writer to take away from all of this?  Well, I think if you ask more than one person you’ll probably get more than one answer.  Just try searching via your favorite search engine to see the results that your search yields.  I’ll even wager that if you use different search engines you’ll get a wider and varying range of answers.

I think a compelling reason for defining form in the first place stems from when books were primarily available in print.  Think about it – print costs determined not only how much to charge for a book but was also done in an effort to manage reader expectations.  With eBooks it’s still an issue of managing reader expectations because if a reader knows that they’re starting a novella, which is typically defined as 17,500 to 50,000 words or 60-170 pages, they expect a different reading experience than say a novel which is over 50,000 words and typically ranges from 170 pages on up.  An epic work is over 680 pages!

I would also argue that longer books still tend to be priced higher even when they are in electronic format because they tend to have higher investment costs even if they aren't actually printed on paper.

Of course, with printed books the reader can see immediately how “big” or “small” the book is whereas with eBooks you do have to pay attention to the specifications listed for the book, typically at an online vendor's site.

According to one Wikipedia entry ( the following is a breakdown of word and page count for some of the prose categories listed above:

Flash Fiction = less than 2,000 words or approximately 5 pages
Short Story = 2,000 – 7,500 words or 5-25 pages
Novelette = 7,500 – 17,500 words or 25-60 pages
Novella = 17,500 – 50,000 words or 60-170 pages
Novel = 50,000 words or more or about 170 pages
Epic = 200,000 words or more or 680+ pages

The above lends some insight into the concept of anthologies to house the smaller count work as well as the creation of category fiction such as romance and certain mysteries.  So, got form? And, if so, do you know where and how you fit in?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

All In A Day! by DL Larson

Thursday is my day off. Thursday is my day to blog. Thursday is my day to run errands. And Thursday is my day to take my grandson to his horse riding lessons. I usually end each Thursday with one of two things: a church meeting or going to the local tavern for their Thursday night chicken special.

Today, I added one more thing. I had a writers workshop for a group of 5th and 6th graders at their school. The 9:00 a.m. schedule had me fearing I'd over sleep. But I made it in plenty of time. I never know what I'm walking into with a classroom setting. Some kids are genuinely excited to see me, others think it will be boring and their faces convey that to me. I hope I didn't disappoint anyone, especially the doubting ones.

I learned something new today. The 5th and 6th grade kids were not familiar with Harry Potter. I usually use this story to break down plot, characters, setting, etc. When we started this section of the workshop, blank looks filled the students' faces. They didn't know Harry's closest friends. They didn't know the bad guys. I was surprised. As a children's librarian I shouldn't have been so shocked. Harry has not left the shelves for a while now.

I needed a new connection with the kids. The class teacher, Lori Safranek, explained they were in the middle of reading the book, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Thankfully I have read Wonder. 

We proceeded with Wonder, the story of Augie, a fifth grader who has physical deformities. He goes to school for the first time in his life. Every day he encounters many things, rudeness being one of the nicer things that happens to him. But Augie won't give up. He wants a normal life like a normal ten year old boy.

This book turned out to be a great example for breaking down plot, learning what it takes to make a character real, etc. The kids got involved and that's what counted.

After my workshop, it was time for Colton's horse lessons. Then back home to playing with Thomas the Train and watching Planes. After my grandson's visit, I was ready for a nap. It's cold and dreary out, and did I mention I have a bum foot these days? I should prop it up. I also have judging to do for the Four Season Writers Contest. Judging is due next week and I'm far from done. My church meeting begins in seventy minutes.

I've realized Thursday is my busiest day of the week. I always think I will catch up on my writing, get the laundry done and maybe some cleaning. Okay, no cleaning ... but the day flies by in blur. My list of Things To Do never enters my mind.

I've decided my priorities need re-arranging for Thursdays. From this day forward, I declare Thursday, my day to do what I want! I intend to scratch my expectations of doing laundry on Thursdays. Cleaning has already been booted off the list, and my writing may suffer neglect on Thursdays, but that's okay too. I will try my best to blog each Thursday, but if you do not see my post, know that I am out living my life, doing things I need and want to do. Like horse back riding lessons, playing with Thomas the Train and watching Planes.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Friday, October 23, 2015

How much do you really know about writing genres?

We are encouraged to know many things about ourselves based on categories and numbers.  Medical professionals want us to know our weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and family medical histories; financial experts what us to know how much we need to save for retirement, our credit history and credit score.  But, ask writers how to classify their work according to genre and you will be surprised at how difficult this question is to answer.  There’s also the question of form but we’ll get to that another time.

So, how many writing genres are there?  Well, it seems like new ones are being created every year, something I attribute to skilled marketing practices and techniques to sell books.  Although, whether you are selling your work online or via a traditional bookstore, categorizing by genre is important to the seller in terms of knowing where to “shelve” your work.

Many, many years ago, most people knew that genres such as mysteries, romances, satires, and drama existed and later on science fiction, but these broad categories didn’t always lend themselves to helping readers discover authors that didn’t quite fit so neatly into these classifications, or dared to cross lines and blend two or more genres together. 

I remember back in the last century (okay it was in the 1990’s) recommending reading material from the romance genre to someone and that person looked aghast that I would even suggest such a thing, declaring that she only read literary fiction.  I asked if she had read any of Jane Austen’s work and she replied that of course she did, it was literary fiction after all - AND it was required reading when she was in school!  It’s also romance.

How many of us of a certain age remember the first time we read Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower?  For those of you who haven’t, it was a ground-breaking book in the publishing world for many reasons and not just because of its titillating content.

The romance novel as a genre has a longer history in the UK but around the 1980’s this genre boomed in the US and the idea of category romance novels and romance sub-genres took off.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Think you know your genre inside and out?  Think again.  How many of us remember the classification wars of Romantica vs. Erotica?

Here’s a link to taking a journey on the writing genre express:

You can also click on the links to the different genres and explore those definitions and examples.  I think you’ll find it fascinating and you might just discover a thing or two about your writing genre – or sub-genre - that you didn’t know.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Staying In Touch With Readers! by DL Larson

Although I don't have a new book out, I was invited to the Oswego Literary Festival at the Oswego Library on October 3rd. I debated whether I should go or not. I've nothing new or exciting to add to my collection of books, but I went anyway ... to keep my name and face in view of the public.

Pictured with me is Luisa Buehler, a cozy mystery writer. I met Luisa many years ago at a Windy City RWA meeting. Luisa has sold a lot of books over the years. She is well known in the Chicago area and beyond! We had a great time chatting and I'm always glad to sit by someone so knowledgeable about the writing field. Check out Luisa's home page and her Grace Marsden Mystery Series at:

On the right, is NY Best Selling Author Denise Swanson. Visit Denise at: These gals are active members of the Windy City RWA as well. And it was great to see their smiling faces throughout the day.

As a librarian, I know attending Literary Festivals is great publicity for an author, but not the best in making sales. And that's okay. A festival gives readers an idea of the many talented authors in their area. Plus readers have the chance to discover new writers they may not have noticed before. They have the opportunity to chat with authors and better understand the hard work that goes into being a writer.

I'm glad I took the time to attend the festival. A BIG thank you to the Oswego Public Library and to the Village of Oswego Cultural Arts Commission for hosting the event.

Til next time ~
DL Larson

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Through Someone Else's Eyes

Last night I brought the first page of my thriller, with the working title of Wide Awake, to be critiqued by my RWA Chapter, and I'm glad I did. It's amazing how everything that seemed so clear to me confused the other members.

Fortunately, I now know what to do to remedy the problem. Goes to show, it really helps to get fresh eyes looking over a manuscript.

I suggest you find at least a few people who are willing to start you out in the right direction, even if they don't have the time to read your entire manuscript. It will make all the difference!

Find all of my completed books at and
also excerpts and links at
Join me on Facebook at

If you don't yet have your free copy of my first thriller, Two Wrongs, the ebook version is still available on Amazon at: and is also free at most other venues.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Biltmore Estate by Margot Justes

I just returned from visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, and I thought I'd share a few pictures with you. It is reputed to be the largest 'house' in the country with 255 rooms. The place is worth a visit, or two, or three...I'm heading back in November for their Christmas celebrations. 

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice