So. I officially have an agent! The contract has been signed!
No, seriously! WOOOOOOOO FREAKING HOOOOOOOOO!!!
Her name is Bethany Buck, and she's with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in New York. She seems awesome and I can't wait to work with her!
So, yeah. I'm super excited, but I know this is only the very beginning of the process. There will be manuscript revisions, submissions to publishers, rejections, things that get my hopes up, things that shoot them back down. Hopefully not too terribly far down the road there will be an offer from a publisher. Hopefully we'll get a book deal and go from there.
But ... now what?
Now there are doubts. Now there are fears. What if no one is interested? What if I miss the window, the market is oversaturated with my type of book? What if it doesn't happen and I have to start all over? AGAIN.
So ... now is the time to start writing. I need a distraction. Something new to focus on. Plus, I can feel the desire growing. I miss the words flowing and the story building in my head. I miss the pieces of the puzzle coming together almost magically. It's time to write!
But what do I write? Unlike most other areas of my life, with writing I tend to tackle one project at a time until it is done. (Too bad I can't do that with cleaning out the basement!) I don't usually have multiple in-progress manuscripts on my computer. So now it's time to think about the next project. Problem is, I haven't had that "ah ha" kind of story idea yet. I've had some little thoughts, some inklings, but nothing that's made me go "YES! THAT'S IT!" I can tell it's coming, though. It's out there ... or maybe rather IN there (my brain). I just have to nurture it and coax it out.
Sometimes people ask where I get my ideas, and usually I can pinpoint something that triggered the story. I'll give you a few examples (descriptions of these projects are to the left -- click on the links).
THE SOLDIER'S WIFE: This is a story that came from my family history. My mom was born in 1945, while my grandpa was serving in the air force during WWII. She was 9 months old before he finally got to see her in person. He saw pictures, got letters from his wife, but there was no Skype. No email. Things were so different back then. I thought of all those war brides -- those young women who got married so quickly before their guys shipped off -- and I wondered how well they really knew each other. I thought about the idea of trying to get your new spouse solely through letters. But ... what if the letters weren't actually written by your spouse?
THE SWAILING: I remember the exact moment the seed for this story was planted. It was July 18, 2011, and I was waiting for my car to be serviced. I was writing in my journal and listening to some morning "news"/entertainment program. They were talking about a proposal to remove obese children from their homes and place them in temporary foster care as a way to remedy their obesity. The very next story was about Jennifer Hudson and how she had lost weight since her days on American Idol, and they were discussing whether she was now TOO thin. I remember thinking, "What the hell? We can't be fat, but we can't be too skinny, either!" At the time, I was very involved with health insurance decisions at my work, and companies were moving towards "consumer-driven health care" and I wondered ... what kind of society would take overweight kids from their parents? As the parent of one very slim child and one huskier child, would a society like that let me keep the thin one, but take the other one? This was before FitBits were even on the market, but I thought about how a very healthy society might want to monitor our activity and diet to make sure we were making good decisions. Could things ever get to that point? At that time, like today, the government could not seem to reach ANY compromises, and the country was becoming more and more partisan. I thought, what if the government just fell apart and states or regions could do their own thing? What would that look like, eventually? What would the different regions become? That chain of thoughts grew into The Swailing.
PREGNANT PAUSES: In 1998 I was vacationing in Michigan and I went into a shop where a young guy -- probably 18-20 or so -- rang me up. I was 29 at the time, not OLD by any means, but I was SUPER pregnant. He was polite, but did not give me a second glance. I felt invisible. At around that same time, the show Dawson's Creek was popular. I never watched the show much, but I do remember seeing an episode where Pacey (Joshua Jackson's character) got involved with one of his teachers. I thought ... Hmmm. What kind of kid would find an older woman attractive? Or an older PREGNANT woman, for that matter? What kind of older pregnant woman would get involved with a much younger man?
I'm not sure if this is how every writer's mind works, but that's how mine works. I get an inkling -- something that triggers a chain of thoughts. I hear about related things repeatedly, and the idea sort of blossoms in my head.
I am currently reading a book called LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell. I'm not very far into it, but I think the landline phone at her mom's house is going to serve as some sort of time machine for her to mend her broken marriage. I've also been reading about technology's effect on the current generation of teens: from the proliferation and access to pornography warping their views of sex, to their disconnect from nature. As an adult who grew up without computers and cell phones, I often forget what that was like, and I know my kids have NO idea. What would things be like if all the technology we use every day was no longer available? Not because of any kind of dystopia, but maybe a long-term massive network disruption? How would kids function? How would WE function? How would it change us and our relationships? This is where my mind is wandering today. We'll see if anything comes of it.
Feel free to comment below with your ideas! I promise I won't steal them ... unless you want me to!