My editor hated what shall forevermore be known as Christy's Idea.
Actually the first twenty minutes or so of what was an hour and a half, starting at 5:30 not 3:30 brainstorming session, pretty much consisted of what my editor doesn't like.
Okay, a certain amount of that time was spent on what I don't like, like coming up with idea after idea only to have my editor not like them.
Then we went to work.
We danced around sequel/not sequel. We finally agreed on not sequel. So we'll never know what happens to Miranda and her family, Alex and his.
I didn't want to go through what I called And Then The Volcanoes, And Then The Flu again. My editor didn't want to go much past where Life As We Knew It ends. We compromised (quite satisfactorily as far as I'm concerned) on starting the action somewhere around mid-February (the dead and the gone ends at the very end of December; LAWKI ends on March 20, but there aren't that many diary entries in Feb. and March).
My editor felt it was really important that the readers have a sense of what the main character's life was like before the world ends. She said that even though not that much time is spent pre-catastrophe in LAWKI and even less time in d&g, the readers still see some background. She wanted that connection to what was while coping with what is.
(I think that's going to be the working title- What Was/What Is. I like the /. It's like the & in the dead & the gone.)
I pointed out, a few times, that if the book starts ten months after the start of LAWKI/d&g, we'd be past the what was. We waltzed around that for a while.
She liked episodic. I liked episodic. The people who voted on the poll liked episodic. So we agreed to episodic.
We discussed (at far more length than it merited) whether tomatoes could be grown in a hothouse without sunlight. I finally pointed out this was my world and if I said they could, then they could.
Finally we worked out a structure. It turns out we both love structure. As of the moment, all we have is structure, but the structure is a great starting off point.
Here goes: What Was/What Is will be about a girl starting ten months after the moon gets nudged towards earth. But it's also going to be about that same girl a few months before the moon gets nudged. The book will go back and forth between the two times (I sure hope Harcourt uses different typesets).
Something Big And Bad will happen to the girl in the What Was part (my editor used the word Victim; I know because I wrote it down in the totally incoherent notes I took). Of course everything Big And Bad happens to the world in between What Was and What Is (and I have no idea what is going to happen in terms of food, shelter, and those nasty volcanoes in the What Is part of the book, but given that the idea is about two hours old, this doesn't worry me). I think it's essential that the What Was section be every bit as involving as the What Is section.
LAWKI and d&g both end with the main characters doing something that allows them to be rescued. What Was/What Is has to end differently, some kind of big bang emotional resolution, with the readers understanding that whatever happened in the What Was has allowed the heroine to cope/survive/succeed in the What Is.
My editor (and I think this is very funny) said she wasn't going to be in the office tomorrow. I said it was going to take me more than one day to figure out plot, characters, setting and incidents.
There are several things I love about this third book concept. First of all, while it isn't a sequel in terms of Miranda and Alex, it is a sequel for the world. People who are curious about what happens next will find out (and once I know, I'll be sure to tell you). It won't be a brother/sister volume to LAWKI/d&g, but it'll be a cousin, Episodic on their mothers' side. It will be a standalone, but with any luck, anyone reading it first will want to read LAWKI/d&g. It will be very hard to work out the storyline, and challenging to write (I'm thinking that I may write the What Was section in its entirety before writing the What Is part, and then cut and paste them together, making whatever changes I discover need to be made), but I love figuring that stuff out. Who is this girl (I decided girl because boys are harder for me to write, and this is going to be quite hard enough, thank you very much) and what did she go through and what is she going through now and what is the world going through. Not to mention where. Somewhere not in the northeast, and I'm thinking maybe suburbs.
As it happens, I have nothing scheduled for the next three days, so I'll do a lot of thinking. And looking for states without volcanoes.
I'm off to check Popular Baby Names. Maybe if I know what this girl's name is, I'll sense what Big And Bad thing happened to her in the What Was of her life.
Possible Third Book Number Eight, here I come!