They say that the best way to market your first book is to write a second. I don’t know exactly who THEY are, but they need to realize that there are a lot of emotions wrapped up in the previous
relationship work. It’s as if when I clicked “publish” on Createspace we had broken up, we were drifting apart. Now I was in need of a new story. And it is hard to let go. I wrote this little dialogue after I finished The Truth About The Sky (which will be released this fall). I’m in need of a new story. Finding one, and sticking with it, is a lot like dating. * This is a metaphor, people. I’m happily married to a flesh and blood husband. Please do not take this the wrong way.
Forgive this sadness. Just ignore the tears. I had to say good-bye and I’m still fragile.
See, I feel like I just broke up with my Manuscript and now I’m out in the world, seeing a new Work In Progress.
My Manuscript (The Truth About the Sky) and I were together for
four five years. It was a relationship full of highs and lows, laughs and tears. We completed each other. Perhaps we’ll bump into each other in the future, you know, the Genesis contest, or at a conference or during a talk with publishers, but for the most part, except for a few changes here and there, we’re through. (Unless of course, I get a three book deal with Zondervan because of dear MS, and if that’s the case, we’ll grow old, famous and most assuredly rich together. We’ll gather all the reprints around us someday at the family table and remember the days when we fell for each other. Excuse me, I’m getting choked up.)
But that hasn’t happened yet. So now, sniff, sniff, it’s time to lay aside my Manuscript and move on to the Next Big Story.
Since December 29th, here’s a new Work In Progress in my life. We’ve spent some time together. We’re make pretty good progress — not too fast, not too slow. But, there’s a part of me that wants to break up. I mean, it’s just not the same.
One night last week, my WIP, ( I HATE calling him that. Do I call him “Whip?” “Double-You-Eye-Pee?” Ick. Instead, I’m going with Skippy.) Skippy and I sat down over a nice dinner and discussed our troubles. Skippy’s real nice. Brought me flowers.
SKIPPY: I know you’re questioning our future together.
KATHARINE: Well, I’m going through the Snowflake method, see, and I think I’m attracted to you. At least a little, but I’m not sure you’re the one.
SKIPPY: I suppose that can be expected. I like you a lot. What do you like about me?
KATHARINE: You’re set in a different state, Massachusetts. You’re current, in the year 2010. No scandals this time, just family angst. A love triangle. And football. There will always be football.
The WAITER approaches the table. May I get you something from the bar?
SKIPPY: Nothing for me. But she’s a writer. She needs something strong and brown. A Coke?
WAITER: Very good.
SKIPPY: Well, what can we do differently this time? You had two funerals in the last one. I think you should avoid death. I mean, that alone will change everything.
KATHARINE: No. I think I’m going to kill the dad, Kenny, either with a stroke or a heart attack. Simply because I can’t spell aneurysm.
SKIPPY: Oh my God! You’re going to kill Kenny?
(KATHARINE rolls her eyes)
SKIPPY: You wish I was funnier, don’t you? I’m trying. That some of my best work.
KATHARINE: I hate to say it, but right now, you’re not funny enough. My Manuscript was very LOL-worthy. My beta-readers said so. And they know their LOLs, because I’ve never met most of them in real life. I’m sorry, but funny is important to me.
SKIPPY: Don’t you see? I’m a Work In Progress. The funny will come. I think the more time we spend together, the more the wrinkles can be ironed out of the story and the jokes will be there. The jokes will always be there.
SKIPPY: And you hardly know my characters. Right now they’re dull, lifeless, two dimensional. Once you put the time in with them, then you’ll see . . .
KATHARINE: Do you really think so? I was with my manuscript for four years. Do I have four years with you? Can I reach the same depth in half the time? Am I ready for that kind of committment?
SKIPPY: This is what writers do! They stick it out with the new stories until something blossoms between them.
WAITER bring a glass of Coca Cola.
KATHARINE: (Sighs) To Waiter: Nope. I’m taking the Hemingway path to surefire success. Please bring me a whiskey. (Sighs again) To Skippy: I’ve heard what you’re saying before.
SKIPPY: I mean, really, do you want a story to come in, sweep you off your feet and then bolt when the revising gets rough? Wouldn’t you rather not know what happens, and plow through, page after page, word after word, learning with every second invested? Falling in love slowly? Over time?
KATHARINE: (Takes a big drink) I know I’ve heard this before.
SKIPPY: It’s better to jump into the unknown and grow stronger together that to know too much in the beginning.
KATHARINE: Now I know! Charlotte Lucas said this to Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice! And she wound up with Mr. Collins!
SKIPPY: Mr. Collins is so underrated. He was solid and stable. He would never been tempted to be with other women. He gave her everything she asked for. I’m quite confident that Charlotte grew in love for him.
KATHARINE: That’s fine for her. But she didn’t have a previous love, like I did. She didn’t have a MAN-uscript.
SKIPPY: I hate it when you call it that. MAN-uscript? Really? I bet your husband wants to hit his head against a wall with that word.
KATHARINE: Let’s not bring my husband into this. HE buys me margaritas. (Blows her nose into her napkin.) You don’t understand. It was so special back then. (Sobs into napkin) Recently I tweeted that my manuscript was my baby and my new wip was like babysitting the kid next door for two dollars an hour. I also, (sniffs) feel like in some ways I hit it out of the park with the last one. How can I succeed again?I don’t love you. I’m afraid I never will.
SKIPPY: First of all, you’ve got to stop mixing your metaphors. Who are you, Snooki? Secondly, we’ve been seeing each other for less than a month! It can be special between us too! I know it can! All it takes is time and work, and your kids leaving you alone to write, and a lot of thinking. Now that your dishwasher is broken, you’ll have all this mental play time you can devote to me! We can have something magical! And thirdly, (takes her hands) you have to promise me, we will never discuss our pasts. Ever.
WAITER brings next drink. It smells like kerosene. Madam, your drink. Are you ready to order?
SKIPPY: Yes. She’d like your special. A big honkin’ plate of courage. Some chutzpah and a side order of Moxie. On the salad put determination and extra perseverance. And some tenacity. And leave that self pity in the kitchen. And you, young lady, are going to sit down and eat every single bite of it or no cake for you!
SKIPPY: See, I’ve got what it takes to be a MAN-uscript!
KATHARINE: No, that didn’t impress me. I said wow because, because . . . . I didn’t know there was cake.
*This, sadly, is not the first time I’ve had conversations with invisible people. In this entry, I drilled Hacky McHackyton on his career. Here, I discussed what it took to be great with an imaginary greatness counselor. And even here, I probably slipped into the schizophrenic.
Maybe I should lay off the whiskey.