Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bye Bye Luke. Bye Bye Eden.

Even writers interviewed by Newsweek get rejected.

Okay, maybe I'm the only writer interviewed by Newsweek to ever get rejected. It's not like I've done a survey. But no matter what the actual percentage is, I got rejected.

Harcourt turned down The World We Live In. My editor e-mailed me yesterday to let me know. However, my editor made it clear that Harcourt wants a third book. In fact, she and I have a telephone brainstorming date for next Thursday, to try and determine just what that third book should be like.

Here's what I know has to be in the third book (whether my editor knows this is a whole other issue): What happens to Miranda and her family. What happens to Alex and his family. And ideally, what happens to Dad and Lisa and their baby.

Whether all this happens fifteen minutes or fifteen years after the action in Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone is up for discussion. My editor, it turns out, likes single viewpoint stories, so I'll need to pick one character to focus on. If it's Matt, Miranda or Jon, they'll have to interact in some way with Alex or Julie. If it's Alex or Julie, they'll have to interact with Matt, Miranda, or Jon. If it's a completely new character, then there has to be a reason why that character knows one of the LAWKI characters and one of the d&g characters. I tried that in Since The End Of The Time Before where Caitlin the drog works alongside Julie and casually meets Jon. It seemed forced to me when I wrote it, but there may be a better way of handling the convergence.

Meanwhile, since I haven't posted a poll in a very long time, I'm going to post a non-binding, more than one choice, one to get some guidance from you. Maybe if you have a clear preference for one storyline approach over another, it will help my editor and me to figure out just direction the third book should take.

After all, why should I be the only one to get rejected!


Ronni said...

Oh boo! So sorry to hear about the rejection. :( Although I know that whatever you come up with next will be amazing anyway.

Mrs. Corbett said...

Maybe too simplistic, but I would like to see Matt and Miranda meet right after the events in Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone.
Could Dad and Lisa and their baby provide the introduction? Is Lisa Catholic? She did want Miranda to be the godmother. Maybe they ended up at the same place as Matt.
As far as single viewpoints, I vote for Miranda. She's an awesome character.

Linda said...

Damn! That means it'll take longer for the next book and I want it NOW!

I guess because Miranda and Alex were the main characters and I really like them, I'd like to see them get together. How? No clue!

Happy imagining!

Dawn said...

Well that stinks! The only thing that is comforting about the idea of only going a couple of years into the future is that perhaps this means a 4th novel down the road.

My favorite character in D&G was definitely Julie, although I liked Alex as well. Julie, seemed the most real to me. I think I am more of a Julie then an Alex. Alex was so emotionally stunted at times.

I loved all of the characters in LAWKI. I can not even pick a favorite. Miranda and Matt would have to be my top two though.

I kind of like the idea of it being a few years later. Mostly because then you can write another book even further into the future after this one. :)

(**Spoiler alert for D&G**)

I have one minor request. Please, do not kill off any more Morales's. Poor Alex & Julie are already orphans who found their sister's dead body in an elevator. It would be kind of nice if Carlos was alive and somewhat nice?


Mrs. Corbett said...

Oh, how could I? I just read my earlier post and realized I mixed up Matt's and Alex's names:{
Just take out Matt's name and insert Alex's--how embarassing.

I certainly agree with everyone that it stinks, but I also with Dawn in hoping there's a fourth book!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Ronni and Mrs. Corbett and Linda and Dawn-

Thanks for your sympathy and your suggestions. I'm always open to both!

I've really been enjoying following the poll results. Right now there seems to be a strong sentiment for the book taking place a couple of years after LAWKI/d&g.

I set the poll to end right before my editor and I are scheduled to talk. I see it kind of like those cartoon books where you take the head of one drawing and the torso of a second one and the feet of a third one and create different looking people.

So as of the moment,according to the poll, the book is about Jon a couple of years after LAWKI, told in episodic style (Miranda, two years later, is nineteen, and by me that's too old for a YA main character).

But who knows what head and torso and feet will join up by Thursday!

Anonymous said...

I thought this third book was going to be told from the viewpoint of Carlos, Alex's brother in The Dead and the Gone. By being in the military, Carlos could be sent to help any of your characters, right?

Linda Goff

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Linda Goff-

I did write a blog entry about all the different fates Carlos met in the previous six versions of the third book. The first idea I had was a series of interrelated short stories, and one of them would have featured Carlos in his role as a Marine.

But I never planned on using Carlos as the main character for an entire book.

I hope I've cleared up any confusion (without creating more!).

Booktalker said...

I would love to see the story told from yet another point of view. I really want to know what happened to all the characters we know but it would be really interesting to see the story told yet again. Maybe a character living in the south that is seeing an influx of refugees from the north. I'll be waiting for what ever you come up with. I know it will be great!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Booktalker-

There are so many different approaches that one (i.e. I)can take with the material.

My recollection is that version number 3, with its completely new character (the one my friend Christy didn't like because it was too dark) was set in the south.

I have yet to come up with a version where characters are happy and life is easy. That's the problem with ending the world. There's just so much grief and misery (just the kind of thing my friend Christy doesn't like!).