This is a story about a story. Â But it’s more than that.
Somewhere in early 2012, I’d started working on a story, set in the same universe as my short stories “Crossroads” and “The Devil’s Jack” (forthcoming in DEAD MAN’S HAND). Â But about three thousand words in, I realized that there was more here than a short – that I’d created a character, and a world, that wanted to expand into a novel.
So I sent the story and a proposal to my agent, and said “what do you think?”
She thought that it was a great idea, and could probably make a great novel, but it “wasn’t commercial enough.” Â She suggested I stick with the urban fantasy, that was selling well.
So I – being a practical meerkat, did so. Â Wrote some good books, saw them published. But I kept poking at the story, feeling – in that place where we feel such things – that I’d made an error. That, in turning away, I’d gone down the wrong road.
That’s a hard feeling to live with.
I found myself at a decision point. Â Did I hold steady, stick to what was Known, or was it time to turn back, try and find that road that had gone Elsewhere? Â Knowing full well that it could be Â dead end, a disaster or – worse yet – be the chance that came once and could never be found again?
Knowing what you need to do is one thing. Working up the courage to do something about it? Â That took a little longer.
In December 2012, my agent and I parted ways. Â In January, in the entrance hall to my apartment, I posted the motto for the year: I am terrified, but I am not afraid.Â Â And I started writing that back-burnered project.
And then I set off to find an agent who would be a good partner for the journey.
It was, no lie, a bumpy, occasionally stress-driven road filled with setbacks, doubts, and revisions, where I may have repeated my motto every day in varying tones of certainty. Â And yet,Â we pushed on. Â And in December 2013, almost exactly twelve months after that moment of decision, Â we hadÂ multiple calls of interest in the project, all from houses and editors I’d be pleased to work with.
From “not commercial enough” to “you may have a choice of where to publish.”
It’s okay to be terrified. Â Terror can work in your favor. Â Just don’t be afraid.
(how does this particular Â story end? Â You’ll have to check back in January for that news...)