Australian Aborigines say that the big stories—the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life—are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush. —Robert Moss, Dreamgates
I had an editor request pages from me this weekend, after a pitch. I am very excited at the prospect of submitting and getting a response, good or bad, from a professional.
I started off pitching my current WIP, First Lady and the Dead Presidents, but that project is not in the traditional mold of romance. It’s more chick lit/women’s fiction, which wasn’t what the editor was looking for right now. FLatDP is a first person story, which I don’t usually even like to read, much less write myself, but I’ve got a story that my brain is convinced that I need to write so I am. And it isn’t this editor’s thing, at least right now, but it could be LATER.
So I threw out The Drake, a wild pitch that I hoped would connect and it totally did! She was interested in the world, the fact that Jack is a shape shifter, and that it’s written as a traditional romance (third person, balance POV with hero and heroine, etc.).
The only problem here is that I haven’t looked at The Drake in over a year. When I left the story, it had a beginning, a middle, and an end but there were a number of story points that I wasn’t thrilled with. I’m hoping that I can figure out how to fix those bits so that I can get out a revised synopsis and the first three chapters that were requested, in a timely manner.
She asked to have them in July, so I think I have a good stretch of time in which to polish and correct. And all I really need is for her to want to read the whole thing, right?
After the OCC meeting this weekend, I am under the impression that every book that gets purchased has editing done. Nothing goes out on the shelf without at least a little nipping and tucking (or implants) here or there. What they’re looking for is a solid voice and a story that shines, even if it needs a little buff and polish.
That’s not to say that I’m not planning to make this the best synopsis and three pages she’s ever seen. No, I understand that. What I really need to remind myself of here is that there is room to maneuver and that I shouldn’t worry myself sick over the whole thing.
My plan for the next week is to re-read the entire manuscript and try to spot the weakest points. There is a “highlight and flag” method that my girl Christy Finn has used in the past that I need to get more info on, so I can determine where I’m strong, where I’m weak and where I need to shore up the walls to survive the hurricane.
Once I’ve got that done, I’m going to pull out Carol Hughes’ “Deep Story” class notes and really dive in there. I think that could really help me re-lay the foundation of The Drake and make sure that I have a strong enough world and characters to support the kind of story that I’m telling.
I’ve really been thinking about my plot and I think some of the problems that I was having when I left the story before have been worked out in my head. I was playing around with the idea of my hero and heroine as soul mates tied together through time, which is something that has come out in my fan fiction in the past as well. I think its part of my story, so I’m not surprised to see it come up here.
When I say “my story”, I’m referring to the basic story that every storyteller tells. Steven Spielberg’s stories are about fathers and sons. JAWS, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, Schindler’s List, even Jurassic Park- they’re all about the relationships (or lack thereof) between fathers and their sons.
Tom Cruise, if you break down his roles to their simplest form, tells the same story from movie to movie as well. He plays the talented man who has to prove that he deserves his place in the world. Top Gun, Far and Away, The Firm, even Magnolia has him fighting to prove to someone other than himself that he deserves what he has. And maybe that’s a part of it- outwardly he’s trying to prove to others that he has earned his place but really, it’s all about him proving it to himself.
It’s something about us, as individual people that comes out in the tales that we spin and weaves its way through everything we put down on the page. We all have something that has shaped us as people and we try to work that out in our art/craft.
I think the idea of soul mates, of being destined to be with someone, is something that comes out in my work. I might be wrong- I’m a notoriously bad judge of my own work- but I think that’s at least part of my story. The rest of my story, I think that’s better saved for a different post but I can already tell that The Drake has the potential to really get all of my stories out and on the page in one text.
I’m excited to see what this editor has to say and the prospect of selling to her and her publishing house is just an amazing opportunity. Here’s to not screwing it up.