On Wednesday I turned in my next novel, which will be published by MTV Books in July 2011. This is the one I’ve been referring to as THE BOOK WITH THE TITLE SO FABULOUS THAT I DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME. Actually it may not have that fabulous title after all. My literary agent doesn’t like it. I am always taken aback when I find out I am not as brilliant as I thought...although it happens pretty often and I ought to be getting used to it by now. Anyway, I came up with a title that’s less fabulous but also less likely to scare the children.
Assuming my editor likes the book and accepts it (see above re: finding out I am not as brilliant as I thought), soon all will be revealed to you: the not-fabulous-but-less-frightening title, the back cover description, the glorious cover itself...and I will get a revision letter. But that’s not the hard part! I love revisions.
Okay, there was one time when I didn’t love revisions, but that’s because I didn’t agree with them. Five times out of six I have agreed with the revision letter, and it hasn’t taken me long to use the editor’s advice to create a version of the book that’s better than the one before. If writing a novel is like cooking from scratch, including grinding the fresh spices and other stuff that does not actually go on at my house, revising a novel is like popping a frozen dinner into the microwave. It’s all right there for you and it’s easy!
The hard part—for me, the excruciating part—is coming up with the next book. I’ve had so many ideas for books rejected during my little baby career that I second-guess myself, and I’m afraid to start anything at all. I did get an idea while I was on vacation in Myrtle Beach in June, and I did a lot of research for it while I was there. But I'm afraid it’s not good enough.
So I will clean the bathrooms. I will clean the garage. I will organize my closet. I will cook gourmet dinners--I mean, I am not grinding spices or anything, but it's better than the frozen chicken fingers we've been having while I was trying to finish this book. I will read a lot. And then one day about two weeks from now, my husband will say, "Why are you so grumpy? Have you stopped writing? Can you please go write something and cheer up? Jesus!" I will start writing the new book before I really think I'm ready, and that's how the hard part will end.