Connecting, Disconnecting, and Reconnecting

Heard back from one critique partner (Mary) and my agent (Amy) regarding the first chapter of the new proposal I'm writing. Both wrote back that they loved it. (Where's a happy dancing smiley face thingee when I need one?) Both said they laughed out loud. (A most excellent sign!) Amy suggested I embellish on some family background, which I did. Good call as it helps the reader to connect even more fully with the heroine and her personal crisis. It helped me, too. I had it in my head but it helped to put it on paper.

Then my sister Barb, one of my biggest fan--hee--and a avid reader, called and asked, "What are you doing?" A dangerous question if she was strapped for time, because I was deep into chapter two and on fire. I proceeded to tell her my new story idea and the more I talked the more my ideas blossomed. She kept saying things like, "Oh, that's funny" and "That's good" and even named my mobster for me. Yes, Barb, I'm going to use your suggestion in your honor.

I already feel the characters. Future scenes are blipping in my head. I can't wait to write them. My gut says this story is going to be a blast. Here's the thing. Once I get to the third chapter I'm stopping and who knows when I'll write the rest. That's how it works when you sell a book on a partial. You plot and research and connect with your characters. You get in the zone and write the first three chapters, submit, and then . . . wait and hope. Hope that the story sells so that you can write the rest. And if it does sell, the publication date could be anywhere from a year to two years out. I still have two other contacted books to write between now and February 2008. So realistically, even if this blast of a proposal sells, I may not get to write it for another whole year! It's killing me. I love this story!

The upshot is that the next contracted book is a tale that I sold on partial almost two years ago. I remember connecting strongly with the characters and the plot and thinking I love this story! I can't wait to write it! And now, almost two years later, I can. Thankfully, those characters burn as strongly in my heart and mind as this new cast. Another most excellent sign.


"If a book is not alive in the writer's mind, it is as dead as year-old horse-shit." ~~ Stephen King

Comments

Jordan Summers said…
Beth, Selling on partial is a weird thing, particularly when you can't write the book. What I try to do in that instance is write as many notes as I can. Sometimes I even write out the whole book start to finish. It doesn't have to be detailed. It just has to be down on paper. I have two to write also with nearly the same deadlines. My second book isn't due until a little later in 2008, but that doesn't remove the pressure or the fear that I won't be able to do it again. *ggg*
Anna Lucia said…
Ah Beth, I'm sure they'll burn bright and beautiful!
Roni said…
Beth, it must be so hard to tear yourself away from a project you're excited about! Can you interrupt your "scheduled" writing once in a while to write more scenes of the new book? Then, when you get the contract, you'll have more of it already done.
I was going to start planning a certain book last summer and another idea popped into my head and I just went ahead with it. It seems to be one of those books that's coming more easily to me, so I just zoomed ahead. I'm not selling on proposal yet, so I had the luxury of dropping other projects to work on this one.
I say keep working on your new one to keep it "alive" when you can fit it in. In the meantime, back to your next western (can't wait for the second one to come out!)
Beth Ciotta said…
Jordan, I can't write start to finish without stopping and going back. I've tried. And tried. Can't. Do. It. But jotting down as many notes as possible would work well for me and make sense down the line. Will. Do. :)

Ack! on the close deadlines. But you'll tackle them both with enthusiasm and grace. I have no doubts!
Beth Ciotta said…
Thanks, Anna! You're the best. :)

Hi Roni. Hmm. You've got me thinking. You know I used to do that when I was writing with Cyndi (the co-authored books). When I turned a hapter over to her, I'd work on a different project. Back and forth. Stop and go. But it worked for me. Perhaps I can do as you suggestd when I'm stuck on the contracted WIP. Spend a couple hours on this story, a way to keep the creativity flowing plus making progress on another work. Thanks for the thought!
Barb said…
Beth,
It is always fun talking to you and I am thrilled that you like my mobster name. Happy writing to you!

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