Hope you are well! The combination of my well-trodden rodent wheel and the recent blog post on "how do you know what you are meant to write?” has brought on another round of spinning that’s resulted in lost sleep rather than lost weight.
See, the upside of not having anybody expect anything from me as a writer is that I can write whatever my brain decides is convenient. I regularly write across genre and category—I know, I know, bad me—but I’ve stuck within the realm of kid lit and have found that I tend to stick to contemporary fantasy, so it’s really not that much of a stretch. It helps that read widely in both categories and writing whatever pops into my head brings me joy.
Then along came this idea…
Suddenly, I began researching things. I, the perpetual plantser (to use a Jeff Somer’s term) developed a massive outline. I even wrote a fake query in advance! I was caught up in the whirlwind of planning like I’ve never planned before. Yes, this diabolical mystery concept sunk its hooks in deep. But it’s not kid-lit. Not one bit.
Thus, after a hastily scribbling out a first chapter, I put off writing it. And I kept putting it off. I threw myself into daily life and other projects and swore I’d forget about the idea. But then someone from Writing Group A as well as a CP asked me about it (creepily in sync). I dithered, prevaricated, and hid…before turning to Writing Group B and asking if the POV I used for *terrible* first chapter worked because, well Writing Group B won’t lie but they won’t hit me with a sledgehammer either. The answer was a resounding yes. So I sent off chapter to Writing Group A and CP, and didn’t give much thought to it, until my e-mail started exploding with messages from members of both Writing Groups and my regular CP clamoring at me to send along chapters as I write them. In short, they’ve turned into Audrey II (and I’ve been diligently writing to satisfy their demands).
I’ve never had this kind of reaction before. Not once in ten-odd years. At least, not to this degree.
And I’m petrified.
Because I’m 99.9% certain that this WIP is a fluke. I’m probably not going to write anything else like it because, well, frankly I don’t want to write anything else like it.
The problem is that I still want to query it when it’s finished( especially if I don't secure rep from other WIP in my usual wheelhouse that is much farther along in the process). Which brings me to the question of the hour:
How should a writer handle querying a novel that doesn’t mesh with what they typically write and isn’t what they plan to write in the future?
Here is a story answers your question:
It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.
In other words: Portland.
But in Buttonweezerville, the amount of rain was unusual and the river rose dramatically in protest. Flooded hill and vale for miles around.
Augustus Krump, Buttonweezerville's self-anointed grand high poobah of God's Yardstick Squad (happy to comment when you are Not Measuring Up), lived in a small white cottage on the bank of the disgruntled river. His front yard was underwater by Day Seven.
His neighbors, who didn't much like him, but knew their duty, called to say they'd come get him in their spiffy baby blue Amphicar 770.
|yup, this is a real car|
No no! Gus didn't want to get in something so weird and new. Anyway, God was going to send angels to carry him to safety.
The water rose, and by Day 14 had covered the first floor of Gus' cottage.
Gus retreated to the attic, taking only his autographed Bible (purchased from the True Man of God Radio Show, broadcast live from Pikyapoket, Texas), his long suffering poodle Holy Roller, and a gallon of hooch (for medicinal purposes only.)
The water did not abate.
On Day 21 Gus, Holy, and the bible clambered onto the roof.
(The hooch had mysteriously disappeared.)
A fishing trawler chugged by.
The captain waved "we have room, come on board!"
No No, Gus was afraid of boats, particularly ones with a lot of wet bedraggled hungry people in them. Besides, angels from God would soon lift him to safety.
Another day passed. Gus was getting hungry. Holy too, and eyeing Gus in a way that was starting to feel like the wrong kind of devotion.
On Day 28, another boat came by.
The captain waved "we have room, come on board!"
No No, angels are nigh!
Holy wondered if a dyslexic god was included in the rescue plan.
Another day passed, then another.
The waters kept coming.
By Day 35 Gus was hallucinating from hunger and thirst. He saw huge metal birds in the air, and a man carrying a pitchfork swim by. He found a huge lifesaver but it tasted of plastic so he threw it away.
The waters stalked on.
Over the roof. Over the chimney, over the weather vane on the barn. Almost to the top of the dale where Gus had lived.
Had, of course, because Gus drowned.
Holy, no fool, had jumped from the roof and barked down a boat back around Day 30.
And just as he expected, Gus went straight to heaven.
He wasn't as happy about this as you'd have thought.
Lord, he huffed and puffed, I've followed you all my life! Where was my salvation?
"Gus," said the Lord a touch acerbically because God is all things and that can include frustrated. "I sent three boats, a life preserver, two helicopters, and Aquaman. You refused them all."
Oh said Gus, woebegone. I didn't know that was my salvation.
"Gus my son," said the Lord. "What did you think they were?"
The moral of this story is: recognize opportunity when it swims by.
PS Holy Roller is now happily ensconced on Aquaman's couch.
PPS Your WIP is not a fluke. It's a breakthrough. You don't know what the future holds. Proceed. Deal with any bridges ahead only when you're standing on them.