A long time ago, in another century (no, really, it was another century), an author (me) finished a book (THE SPY WHO KISSED ME – though she called it PIG IN A PARK back then) and got an agent who wanted her to write something easier to sell to Big Publishing.
She asked me to write a book that was a) more commercial and b) had the potential to be a series.
Needless to say, I failed miserably.
But DO WAH DIDDY DIE was about me trying.
So I guess you could say I started the book for commercial gain. I set it in New Orleans because it was a fun location. It was a mystery/sort of romance. It had quirky characters and lots of potential for ongoing mayhem.
And the first draft read like a movie script and not a novel.
So, I learned how to write movie scripts and made it into an actual movie script. Back then it was called I LOVE LUCI – WHEN I DON’T WANT TO KILL HER. (The Desilu Corp made me stop using it, so I renamed it DO WAH DIDDY DIE.) It won some script awards, got optioned and almost became a real movie.
But a funny thing happened on the way to writing this novel.
I lost my agent. (It really is kind of a funny story—in a dark and twisted way.) So I didn’t have to write it for her.
I rediscovered the joy of not writing for the market. And, oddly enough, working on the script helped the book become an actual novel and not a sort of novelized movie script, trying-to-please-my-agent book.
It was very, um, Zen. Yeah, Zen. Like totally, man.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but it kind of surprises me when people love DWDD. It started out so…awkwardly—like a teen that didn’t want to grow up…so sometimes I have a hard time seeing its maturation into a “real” book. I wrote it so of course I like it, but it didn’t flow out of me the way THE SPY WHO KISSED ME did and I guess I’m always afraid that readers will see that and accuse me of faking it or something.
You did know that writers are needy and insecure, didn’t you?
While it is “officially” my second book, I finished THE LAST ENEMY first, because I guess I had to grow up some, too, so I could write it. What I learned (finally) is that each book is a new and different experience. Some books do come to me almost fully formed and eager to be written down. Some must be wooed, even courted to strut their stuff. They like being difficult. They make me grow (though DWDD is so goofy, it makes me laugh to think it taught me stuff) as a writer. I don’t always like it at the time, but when it’s done, yeah, I like that.
The other important thing I learned from writing DO WAH DIDDY DIE was that I could finish a difficult book. This may seem like a “duh” thing, but every time I start a book, there is a moment of fear that this will be the book I can’t finish. Then I remember my awkward “teen” book, DO WAH DIDDY DIE, and I think, “Hey, if I could finish that crazy book, I can finish this book, too.”
It didn’t become a series, though I did write two short stories for some anthologies. They can be found in DO WAH DIDDY DELETE. I won’t say I’ll never write more Luci and Mickey, because Life still has a way of surprising me when it Happens. But for now I’ve moved on to other projects.
So, has Life surprised you with anything lately? Happened in unexpected ways? Taught you something that you did (or didn’t) need to know? Comments are entered into my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value) and I announce a winner the first blog post of the new month. Hey, wait a minute! That’s THIS blog post! Look below for September’s winner!
And the winner of the September gift basket is: Carrie Bean! Congratulations! I’ll be in touch on how to collect your basket!