I called my friend Christy last night to whine and kvetch.
Because I'm such a good friend, I let her whine and kvetch first. Thirty-two seconds later, we moved on to a discussion of our mothers' feet.
We could have talked about toes forever, but I cleverly shifted the conversation back to me by whining and kvetching louder. I explained that with the mood I'm in lately, I was concerned the Thursday afternoon brainstorming session with my editor would consist of all storm and no brain.
Christy and I proceeded to have a heated discussion about whether fish could survive those dagnab volcanoes (she claimed ash on the water was a not good thing). Apparently if we put her mother's toenails and my mother's toenails in the ocean, we could destroy the world fish population, but that's a whole other problem.
But then Christy and I worked out a basic third book plot. Maybe my editor will hate it, maybe she'll love it, maybe she'll think it has possibilities but needs lots of work (well, even if she loves it, she'll think it'll need lots of work).
The very basic setup (since I tell you everything, usually before I tell my editor) is that a couple of months have passed and the LAWKI family hears from Dad. Don't ask me where he is, because I haven't decided. West of Pennsylvania somewhere, but with an address. Miranda, Matt and Jon decide to go out west to stay with him, because, among other reasons, they've heard the food deliveries are going to stop.
If you're wondering where Mom is...well, that may depend on my editor. All I know is she's not going on the road trip. I've got too many problems with my mother's feet to want to take any mom along for this book.
Somehow somewhere Miranda separates from Matt/Jon. Christy suggested that Miranda get a job as a nanny, but I decided to make her the companion to an elderly woman instead (ooh, a toenail scene). I figure the old woman can be a big figure skating fan and Miranda says she skated once with Brandon Erlich and gets the job that way.
Also somewhere on the road, Miranda hooks up with Alex and Julie, who are (I think) making their way to their brother Carlos.
While I don't want a tearful reunion scene at the very end, I do want Miranda to make it to Dad's all in one relatively unscathed piece. As of the moment, the book'll end with Miranda knocking on the door and hearing someone say, "I'll get it."
The book would be third person, in the episodic style of the dead and the gone. I loved writing diary style for Life As We Knew It, but I just can't see using it. There've been a lot of toenails under the bridge in the past three and a half years, and I don't feel comfortable slipping directly into Miranda's brain again. Besides, it's hard to keep a diary while you're on the road.
So that's where things are right now. I've been following the poll semi-obsessively and I thank all of you who have participated and all who have e-mailed me.
Now if any of you want to give my mother a pedicure...