When That Pesky “But Maybe. . .” Comes Calling
Last month I submitted a proposal for a new series to my editor and agent, both of whom liked it. A lot. How lovely.
Whether an editor and agent like a book is not the first hurdle an author experiences. To begin we must come up with the germ of an idea, then expand it into something resembling a novel. And if that idea is the catalyst for at least several books, the series idea must be explained, as well. A proposal, by the way, can be different things, depending on where a writer is in a career. In my case, I submit a synopsis of my story idea, essentially what I might say if you and I were sitting down together and I asked, “Hey, wanna hear an idea I had for a new book?” Of course, it’s better written and better thought out (hopefully), with fewer “umms,” and “what was I sayings?” But you get the gist. Kind of the “once upon a time” of the publishing process.
The powers-that-be have yet to make a decision, but they’ve had a lot of questions. That’s part of the process, too, and the hurdles are always mighty and not evenly placed along the field. I jumped, they measured how high and took notes, and now they’ll talk among themselves. If you have no tolerance for ambiguity, writing may not be the best career for you.
While I’m patiently waiting for my future and livelihood to be decided, I traveled to Florida for a week, as close to Happiness Key as I could get. I walked on the beach, and sat in the sunshine, and ate vats of seafood. I also woke up one morning with a brand new idea. A very different one, too.
I always think best on vacation. If you don’t “push the river” it flows faster, clearer, and sings a little song as it meanders along. Demand that I come up with an idea and I will probably pull one out of the ether, but truthfully it won’t be very good. Make no demands, in fact remind me I already have an idea being considered, and watch out world. There’s a creative stampede.
Ideas are never a bad thing. Choosing among them? Ah, that’s the difficult part. In this case after some serious thought, I’ve decided to stay with Idea Number One. The concept is better thought out, has limitless potential if I can pull it off, and is just different enough to be a challenge. But isn’t it nice to have another idea in my pocket? It’s the road not taken–but not so far back that I can’t retrace my steps if I need to.
I like the thought of Idea Number Two waiting for me, growing, changing, and perhaps one day asserting itself and saying “Hey, now it’s my turn.” Who knows, maybe it will be, too.
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