Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Book in the Drawer

Last night, I got the idea for a new story. More like, I was inspired to tell a story that I desperately love. Immediately upon coming home from work I set to work ironing out scenes, finding the names to the main characters, and roughly began building the world that they inhabit.

My excitement was indescribable.

But see, I think it's somewhat silly also. Not the idea. No, no, I'm quite in love with the idea. The silly factor for me comes because I am agentless. Ultimately, at this very moment, I am no closer to being on your bookshelf than a person who has never written a book. An ugly truth, but true nonetheless.

Further along the silliness train: this story has nothing to do with my MG Fantasy work that I am querying at this point.

See, if you remember from one of my previous posts. An agent advised me that there's no guarantee for a book series. Not in the querying phase. You can have the idea, the story, and the desire, but there are no book 1 sales to merit a book 2. There is no editor certain of your story's marketability to contract a book 2. So don't try hanging your hat in a closet that doesn't yet exist.

My MG series is near and dear to me. Since November 15, 2011 that has been the focus of every stray thought, and where every ounce of my storytelling talent (if any - I don't believe one can be described as talented without legitimate validation) has been directed. It is the world that I created, and the world that I live in when my eyes are closed.

So this story feels kindof like I'm being unfaithful to Bianca, Scarlett, and Oliver (My MG main characters). I haven't put their story aside; not by any means. My MG Fantasy is still being queried, but book one is complete. There is no tweaking, fixing, changing that I will make outside of editorial changes that come from a source higher up than me. It has seen 7 drafts, been edited from 113,000 words to 52,000 words, and the beginning has been completely re-imagined/re-written countless times (I'm terrible with beginnings - I always see how my stories end first). At this point, I can only query until I find an agent who loves the story as much as I do.

But I can't just sit and twiddle my thumbs. I want writing to be my career, not my hobby.

I always get story ideas, sometimes from dreams, mostly from things I see going to and fro day to day, but last night's was different - it's a story that I already love.

Did you know that Stephen King's Under the Dome originated in the early 80's? He started working on it, realized it was too big and messy for him to tell at that time and put it in a drawer. It was titled The Cannibals. Years later he came back to it, updated it (fixing this and that, I'm sure) and now all the non-readers will get to enjoy it as a mini-series on CBS this summer.

Stephen King is known for writing books and sticking them in drawers. Many authors probably do it. Publishing is a slow process, but stories come on the fly at all times of the day or night, and as quickly as a bolt of lightning. During those months or years when the gears aren't turning, and when the Muse is getting her beauty sleep Mr. King recommends having a "book in the drawer" to please the publishing gods.

So this project will be my "book in the drawer".

My Fantasy (series?) has been plotted....and re-plotted...and plotted again. In fact, my world-building grew even more from the changes I had to make in shortening the first story. Now I could write books about Faerie until I die...but I won't...because as much as I hope you enjoy them someday, I know you really wouldn't want me to - the overall story arc will satisfy you, I hope.

For now I'm working on the Non-Fantasy Story. The Tragedy. And someday (hopefully soon) when I'm chatting with my agent, I can say "Well I have That, but also I have This...and this other story that I want to get to work on too..."

Do you have a book in the drawer? I hope so, because I'm just discovering how much fun it can be.    :-)

Until we meet again!

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