The other day the idea for what I hope to be my next project was bursting, just positively bursting out of my chest. I called my best writer friend who doubles as a real life bestie and told her about it in very broad strokes. Very vague plot idea, protagonist concept, and oy, vey, the title, which alas came to me seconds after the story did*. That’s all I told her because that’s almost all I knew at the time. The story had come out of an aha moment I had in the shower or car or who can remember where. (Well, I can remember. It was at 4 in the morning, while fulfilling a demand from the BLB for a middle-of-the-night cuddle.)
She said, because she is a very good friend, something like, “Love it! You should call your agent and tell her about it right away!” Later she probably set down the phone and sighed to no one in particular, ‘the poor girl is done for.’ But at the time she was all for sharing the idea with my agent.
There was a pause on my end. Then I came clean, and I will tell you now all what I told her then. I am a superstitious writer. There are a only a certain number of times, I believe, that you can tell a story before you jinx it. If you tell it out loud to your bestie and your agent and mom and your dog Snuffles, my superstition goes, you won’t be able to write it down on paper. It’s like a quiche. If you want to serve eight people with it and then live on it yourself for a week, you better cut some very thin slivers for everyone else. Only, in the quiche that is a novel, you’ve got to live on it for months, or even years. So you really shouldn’t go blabbing about it to everyone you know until it’s written, or at least outlined in detail.
I broke this rule with the book after the one you will hopefully have already preordered by now and that book is now serving to do nothing but use up a few hundred mbs of space on my hard drive. Was it because of the curse of the book blab, or because of a stupid plot? Who can say? It does have a very stupid plot.
Still, I am not risking it. So here is what I can tell you about my next book:
It is about a woman.
She has a family.
And a job.
And a second job.
And a house with wall-to-wall carpet.
And one of those very fancy vacuums that steam cleans too.
And suddenly it all becomes too much. And she decides to do something very drastic about it.
That’s all I can tell you. Because I am afraid of the jinx.
*The book after the book with the stupid plot came title first, then story. I think this is also a jinx, and that book is also a doorstop (for now). It is really a wonder I can function at all under these magic rules. I’m told that major league pitchers also have loads of idiotic superstitions and they do okay. People give them millions of dollars to stand outside all summer. I’m just aiming for thousands of dollars to sit on my sofa.
12 Replies to “Deb Kelly Is a Secret Keeper”
Kelly, I share your reluctance to talk about the book, only I never thought about it as a jinx. My thoughts are much more rational – “if you talk about it, all the magic leaks out and it shrivels up.” See? Logical.
Ooh, even that vague plot sounds good!
Thanks Kathy! That spurs me onward! To less vagueness, ho!
I agree! I’m on board with the vague book. That’s the title, right? 😉
Amy, knowing me I’ll make it longer. Like, The Vague Book of Prudence Grimely
Ooh! I like it. I want to read it now!
Not magic at all; if you talk about it there is nothing left to write: it is done,finished,over. Also, it makes major changes (like plot, characters, title) embarrassing to change because “everyone” will know it didn’t just spring forth without effort. So, lots of good reasons to be superstitious or “logical”. Not to mention the jinx effect. Now, are you wearing the special socks, and spitting on the pen/keyboard every time you write/hit “x”, and wearing your cap backwards? Can’t hurt, you know.
I like it!
But speaking as a woman who has a job. And a second job. And wall to wall carpet … I’m just glad your protagonist has a fancy steam vaccuum. Because otherwise I’d be checking behind my drapes to see where you’d been hiding…. (A note: I know you’re not actually writing about me, because my life would be a horror story, not women’s fiction…)
In all seriousness – hang onto that mojo, I can’t wait to hear more when it’s finished!
Susan, did you look under the bed? 🙂
Wow. Great blog post. I’m very superstition and jinxy…..so knock on wood….I hope/pray I’ve not blabbed about my work-in-progress too much. And I’m very intrigued by your idea. Does she have a pet and need a Hoover that sucks up all the dog hair?
DeAnn, Hah! I think she does now. Maybe one of those big Siberian huskies who leave carpets of white fur everywhere they sit.
I’m a little superstitious, too — although some of it I think is less superstition and more “What if they think this is the dumbest plot ever? And what if they’re right?” I feel like a book deal somehow rubber stamps a book and makes it easier for me to discuss publicly — e.g. someone out there who actually knows something about publishing books liked my idea and didn’t think it was total crap. But even then, I’m pretty vague when people ask what my book is about. I’d rather direct them to my Amazon page ;-).
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