Hurrah for author James Patterson for paving the way to shorter fiction books. As some of you know, I too, write shorter books. (Note “Spirit Dog” on Amazon) .Patterson has just introduced through Little Brown Publishers the BookShot books for younger as well as older readers. As described on “Good Sunday Morning” they are 150 pages long.
As do many writers, I have been working on a novel for adults for several years and querying, etc. like writers do. But so many publishers request over 50,000 words and even 80,000. That’s a lot of reading and likewise writing. Some people like that length. (I wonder why newspaper stories have grown shorter?)
Anyway, one premise of these shorter books .is to appeal to younger readers who don’t like to read. Once my son did not like to read. In fact, the teacher said he was failing in reading. So I encouraged him to start putting together those plastic models, thinking that he would have to read the instructions. Guess what? He didn’t read the instructions but pasted together a complete dinosaurs collection. Eventually, he did become a pretty good reader by reading newspapers or at least the shorter items in them.
I grew up reading “Dick and Jane” and at various times in my newspaper writing jobs I wrote about reading situations. At one time I even bought the first two readers in the series. “My name is Jane,” etc. And, of course, we can’t leave out their dog “Spot.” Recite this paragraph to the younger set today, and they will give you a strange look. That’s probably why I liked the first “Tarzan” movies. Come to think of it I just saw a new commercial about a new Tarzan movie.
However, I still love the original Johnny Weismuller (spelling?) with Mia’s mother (Margaret Sullivan, I think). Once when living in Chicago I went to what was then the Intercontinental Hotel and just bought from Sheraton, and went down to the swimming pool. It was an elaborate Neptune’s pool with giant shells all around it. Beautiful! That was one of the places, they said, where Johnny had trained for the Olympics. In later years I lived in Arlington Hts., Ill. and the next town over was Elk Grove Village. A story ran in the suburban paper that Johnny lived in retirement in one of the home developments there. I drove by the area. The homes resembled mine. Of course, in his day, Johnny had not made a great deal of money, so he was then living on a modest income. I wonder if Neptune’s pool is still there?. Michigan Avenue and that hotel has changed many times since then. Oh well!