Well, there’s killing your babies, as I discussed a couple of posts ago. Then there’s burying them, and that’s what I’m doing with my Work-in-Progress. Some of you voted on titles for it (I was, for the time being, calling it The Glimmer Child), and you know how excited I was about it as I worked on the proposal. I realized a couple of days ago, however, that I was going to have to let this story go. I still love the concept, but as I worked on the outline, getting down to the nitty gritty details, I knew the story was too “out there” for me to write right now. I’m not abandoning it forever; it will be tucked carefully into the basket where I keep other proposals I’ve set free for the time being, to be revisited at a later date. The reason for this decision is career-related rather than emotional. Thousands of new readers discovered me with The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and Before the Storm, and I’m afraid of disappointing them with a story that’s too much of a departure from what I’ve written in the past. After helping me weigh the pros and cons, my terrific agent left the decision to me, and I knew she’d support me regardless of my choice.
Even though the decision had to be made dispassionately, it wasn’t without emotional ramifications. I’ve worked hard on this proposal and the idea for the book has been with me nearly a year. It’s hard to let go of something you love–a story that feels like your baby and characters you’ve come to know and care about like family. I spent most of Friday night grieving the decision, and I still feel a twist in my heart when something reminds me of a treasured aspect of the story. But I woke up Saturday morning feeling strong and resilient and ready to create something new.
I’m at the beach for a week with Bren Witchger, and there is no better place for me to be as I go back to the drawing board. Bren’s at work on her current WIP, so we’re brainstorming, scribbling, and popping chocolate-covered espresso beans. We’re on the marsh side of the beach road this time. We can see the ocean between the houses across the street, but the view of the marsh is soothing and evocative and I love watching the water shift between low tide to high, when it comes through the grasses nearly to the stilts of our beach house.
I’m going back to work now. Some new folks are worming their way into my imagination, and I’m looking forward to learning their passions and fears and secrets. I’ll let you know how I make out as the week progresses.