When is a novel finished?

The University of East Anglia course with Adam Foulds is over. I’ve sent in my final, assessed submission and short essay, and I’ve written the last words of the last chapter. And I’ve added in new episodes, descriptions, explanations and improved the wording etc etc etc as result of my tutor’s and classmates’ critiques.

But no matter how many times I do a count, it is still fewer than 60,000 words. I don’t want to pad it or invent irrelevant musings or adventures for my protagonist. What I really want to do is get on with my next novel.

Adam’s advice: to put the thing away for 3 months and then look at it again.

But then what?  My novel is too short. ‘They’ don’t like slim volumes – apparently they don’t look appealing on the shelves of bookstores. Why can’t they just use big print and include a few blank pages?

Nor do ‘They’ like older authors with a first novel. But that’s matter for another blog, or maybe a rant.

In the meantime, does anyone know a nice independent agent who isn’t young and therefore doesn’t mind an author with only a handful of masterpieces yet to come? An agent  who would love to look at a ‘coming of age’ novel about a lonely retired woman seeking love on the Internet and trying to find fulfilment in her later years?

Don’t all speak at once.




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