It's been a month since I finished Scurvy Dogs! and I've been at loose ends, not sure where I'm going next. Done a lot of reading, done a lot of work for the Source, toyed with some ideas. But I didn't do much that was really concrete. It was almost as if I was charging the batteries or something.
But I could feel it growing the last couple of days, and yesterday I pulled out my notebook and started jotting things down. And I'm getting excited. This is going to be a good one.
It's not a pirate story. It's actually a story about a character who jumped into my head, almost full blown, more than a year and a half ago. I wrote about it at the time, and thought then I'd be getting to work on it very soon.
"Ha!" said life. Wrote Scurvy Dogs! instead, and I'm glad I did because it's a damn good book and I learned a lot in the process.
I thought I was going in a different direction, but the more I mulled the last few weeks, the more I realized this is the story I want to tell next. It'll present some new challenges, but I think it'll be fun.
For one thing, it'll be for a slightly younger audience than I've been writing for. I think it'll appeal to the kids who loved the Captain Underpants books and have grown a little, are ready for something a bit more. They're not quite old enough for the Alex Rider books. It's roughly the same audience the fans of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kids books, although my story is nothing like those. Nothing.
The title character for this – and yes, I can definitely see this as a series – is an 11-year-old boy, small for his age, with curly blonde hair, glasses, and a cocky grin that's almost a permanent fixture on his face. He's beyond smart, he's a genius with an intuitive sense of math, but no people skills at all. The fact that he's been promoted into high school, where he's smarter than any of the teachers, doesn't help. He's got two friends, a high school girl who has her own personality issues, and a boy who's been his friend since kindergarten. The friend doesn't have much in common, but he's fiercely loyal, and takes pride in the fact that he's the main character's touchstone with "normal."
Also, it'll be a story with LOT'S of room for killing a dragon in every chapter. And it has some elements I've never tried to work with before, so that's cool.
I know the main character's name – it's the title of the book. Don't know the two friends' names yet. I imagine they'll tell me soon and then I can get to work.
And the story, the adventure is ... Well, I have only a general idea. I've got two or three more days of jotting notes and ideas in the notebook. By the end of the week I will take the notes and start typing them in and organizing them, and will probably begin writing a week or so after that, after I have a general, preliminary idea of the plot.
It's starting to bubble and I'm getting excited about it.
In the meantime – As I mentioned, it's been a month since I finished Scurvy Dogs! Haven't heard from Eddie the Agent yet, other than to acknowledge he's got it. It's nervous time on that front. I know I'm not his only client. I know I'm far – far – from his most important client. Without dropping names, this agency represents some very successful authors, names you know, authors of books you've probably read. So until I can prove I'm one of those guys, I have to take the time he's got left. Because so far I haven't earned a dime for him.
But still, you have these dreams. The one where you send it off by email, the agent gets it and happens to be between meetings or something, with nothing better to do, so he reads the first page or two of your book. He's hooked. He reads more. He cancels his afternoon meeting. He calls you raving, says he knows just who to send this to, with no changes. He calls the next day to tell you that between the book, the sequels and the movie rights, you're rich.
Nice dream. The thing about dreams is, they're great, a lot of fun, and they could come true. But don't waste a lot of time counting on them. Get back to work. That's something concrete.
You either trust your agent or you don't. I do. He's taking care of business, and when it's my turn, I'll be ready. And I'll having something exciting to add to his list.