So as soon as Feb. 16 started showing up on 15 day weather forecasts, I began looking. And once I saw those cute little snowflake pictures appearing on the date, I let Janet know about them.
After the second time, she e-mailed back, "STOP OBSESSING."
Janet is an incredibly nice and easy going person, but she simply didn't understand. I guess I couldn't expect her to. Her birthday is in September.
However I do intend to follow her Stop Obsessing advice when it comes to what I'm going to hear from my poor beleaguered (and very smart) editor about the Possible Third Book. Because I already know what I'm going to hear. Forty years of being a freelance children's book writer have taught me many tricks, including reading between the lines. My poor beleaguered (and very smart) editor doesn't like what she's seen of P3B, and at some point is going to have to tell me so.
Here's how I know. I sent her a quick one paragraph e-mail to let her know the basic direction of P3B Wednesday night. Thursday morning she e-mailed me back to ask what conditions would be like in this post Life As We Knew It book and why would any sane person want to read it. She didn't word it quite that way, but as a between the lines reader, I knew that was what she meant.
I promptly responded with a multi-paragraph (more than three, less than twenty) description of P3B, stressing what the world would be like and why sane people would be interested. I also mentioned my plan to write an outline of P3B that afternoon. Which I spent many happy hours doing, while checking e-mails every five minutes.
Finally that evening, she e-mailed back to say she hadn't yet had a chance to read my multi-paragraph response. She'd read it that night.
When I hadn't heard from her by mid-afternoon yesterday, I e-mailed in a charming, yet forceful, manner to let her know I was waiting to hear. Her response was, she didn't know, she wasn't sure, could I send her the outline.
My poor beleaguered (and very smart) editor hates reading outlines.
I sent it to her anyway, and haven't heard back, which, theoretically since all this happened Friday afternoon, could mean nothing. But I know what it means. It means she doesn't like this approach for the P3B. My guess is she finds it unsettlingly different from LAWKI/d&g. And even though I worked hard to keep the bleakity bleak under control, in a twenty page outline, that's what's most prominent. You can't see the subtle gradations when you go from attack in the woods to cholera victims to threat of hanging. It's all high points in a twenty page outline.
As it happens, I feel a strong moral obligation not to take responsibility for my failures. Last night I watched Walking With Dinosaurs and at the end, poor Mama Tyrannosaurus died in a volcano poisoned world, only to have her ill tempered but adorable babies killed by one nasty meteor (don't tell Mike Huckabee any of this). Suddenly I felt better. Three years after LAWKI/d&g, the world would be pretty darn bleak. My vision may well not be what Harcourt wants, but that doesn't mean my vision is wrong. However P3B turns out (and just because this go round didn't work doesn't mean I won't be making other tries), it's going to be the world I created with characters I care about.
Either that, or I really will be retired.
Meanwhile I read an article on msnbc.com that said people who were sad and self-absorbed were more likely to spend money. So I plan to stay that way until Monday, when I'll go shopping for a new outfit appropriate for ALA/FAME (black with red pinstripes is too winterish). And I'm determined to find a pair of red earrings. If I can't find red earrings right before Valentine's Day, I really will be sad and self-absorbed.
If by some chance I've completely misread my poor beleaguered (and very smart) editor on the subject of P3B, I'll certainly let you know. But I have a feeling my next few blog entries will focus on bragging and shopping and not on writing.Be prepared, oh poor beleaguered (and very smart) readership!