The two novels I’m sporadically pitching were not originally novels.
Calling Home was a rather long short story I wrote for me. It was written in 2009, at the height of the hero worship the media was bestowing on any and everyone in the military. I never supported the Iraq War, not even for a second, and I don’t think joining the military automatically makes one a hero. Sometimes, the real hero is the one who stands up to the prevailing opinion with a voice of reason. So I created a veteran with PTSD who found God’s cell phone and used it to stop the next war.
Except there was this other character in there, a pop star hiding from his life, and he had a story too. And all the desperate people who called the phone, what about them? Add to that the crashing economy and my getting laid off at the same time lots of other restaurants were cutting their pastry chef positions, and well, Calling Home became a novel.
Family Pictures was a different story. I wrote a short story that ran to 7000 words by the time it was done, and that was a spare telling. My friend Beth, who is a successful and well respected thriller author, read it and said, “It’s not finished.”
“But it’s already 7000 words,” I said.
“Just tell the story. Don’t worry about the length.”
So I presented her with a 13,000 word novella. Her reaction? “It’s great, but it’s not finished.
Thus the novel.
I think this is why I have so much trouble writing queries and pitches. I didn’t conceive of the whole stories up front. I let them happen. The people who have read them love them. People say I’m a strong writer. Still, I have a hard time pitching them.
So I’m trying again, this time, with knowledge about the world of queries, log lines and pitches. I’m dropping clues early, doing bits of foreshadowing, leading the reader because I know where I’m going. It’s harder than just writing. A lot harder.
But it feels good to be writing something new.
If all goes well, by this time next year, The Healing Power of Brownies will be a new story where there isn’t one now.