Now that my middle grade novel is off and sitting cozily inside Secret Asian Man's electronic reading device, I have turned my attention back to my young adult book. I wrote the first draft last August and September and have reread and tinkered with it off and on for the last year. I always hesitate to label it as "humorous" because that seems a little too self-assured. Yes, I think it's funny, but that doesn't mean anyone else will. (That last sentence pretty much sums up how I feel about this blog. Good thing I write it mostly to entertain myself.)
So let's say it's a "supposed-to-be-humorous young adult novel about a seventeen-year-old boy on vacation with his parents."* (Hyphen Alert!) It has many warts. The largest wart is that it's often episodic, especially in the early going. The family's in a car for twenty hours, and to make that part interesting, I wrote in some supposed-to-be-funny scenes that don't have a whole lot to do with anything else in the story.
So I need some advice. (Although be forewarned: I may ignore it.) Should I:
A. Take out the offending scenes and replace them with something more plotty?
B. Try to find a way to make the scenes that are already there more relevant to the rest of the story? (Most likely by adding things later in the story that impart significance on the earlier scenes.)
C. Say the hell with it and leave it as is.
And what are people's opinions on episodic novels anyway? Do they bother you? When you read, do you feel that every scene (no matter how unbelievably hilarious) must contribute something to the plot? Must every scene move the story forward? Are these expectations lowered at all for a supposed-to-be-humorous book?
And one more thing: I'll be needing readers in another few weeks. This one won't be as polished as the middle grade, but it's close to being presentable right now. I'll mostly be looking for the answer to these questions: Does this story work for you? Should I continue working on it? And because in real life, I'm actually insecure: Is it funny?
*It's about more than that, but this post isn't about my pitch.