Back in January when I attended the writer's conference, I attended with the hope of submitting and getting feedback on my books Voices In My Head and Sharing Strength. I sent the first ten pages of each off to perspective agents and editors with breath held and fingers crossed. I tossed and turned the night before my meetings and went in to each doing my best to hide the severe stomach pain and turmoil in my mind. After I sat down with the agents and was feeling thoroughly lost and rejected I went to lunch and had a wonderful lunch with a different agent / editor-in-chief.
That night during the networking dinner I again sat with that same man and we discussed both my books. He showed interest in Voices seeing as how he works with an imprint that represents darker stories. He did ask about Sharing Strength though. We talked about my connection to the issues of PTSD and I shared part of the inspiration behind the story with him as well as a few other authors sitting at the table with me. I could see the other writers were politely listening but also getting a little bummed out by the heavy topic of PTSD.
When we left the networking event and went to the bar in the hotel to continue chatting I decided to lighten the mood by telling silly dealer stories. After half a dozen anecdotes everyone began to relax and laugh. It didn't take long before they were hanging on my every word and telling me that was the book I should be telling. I even had an agent request to read the manuscript regardless of the fact I insisted it was not actually a book.
Along the same lines, a few months ago I came across a notice in a writer's group on Facebook inviting authors to submit a synopsis and set of character bios to a publisher. If they liked the idea they would assign a contact and deadline. If you met that deadline and got an edited draft to your contact person you would be given consideration for publication but at least feedback if not a contract. They were also going to be giving feedback on the pitches in order to help authors improve their pitching and query skills.
I took advantage of the opportunity to pitch a story I have not even truly begun to plot out. I had a truly random idea inspired by a conversation with my mom about people like my cousin that are treated differently by society simply because of the way they behave. I thought about writing a short story, perhaps a novel, with a character inspired by him where he could be the hero. I wanted to show that just because people are different or have a disability does not make them bad or worthless. I knew the story idea was completely out in left field but all I was looking for was the feedback on the pitch anyway. Instead I got a response with a contact and deadline saying the idea was unique and they were extremely interested. I am now deep in research mode to learn more about my hero and make sure I properly represent him.
As a writer I spend hours, days, even weeks trying to come up with an idea that is original. I want to share my own perspectives on the world and bring people into a world they may not be well connected with. However it seems like my best ideas come when I am not trying at all. When I simply step back and just let the world happen I find the stories that make other sit up and take notice. I am looking forward to sharing what will hopefully be a great story as I work simultaneously to write Fish and now work to create The Last Piece.