A Good Story

It was a several years ago at the PNWA’s summer writer’s conference and I had a YA fantasy novel I was shopping around. I had an agent for the book that I liked very much, but we were still looking for the right editor. There was one editor from St. Martin’s attending the conference that I thought would be a good fit, but I had decided I did not want to sit down with her at one of the pitch sessions, but rather find some time we might talk privately about the project. This was what I wanted. I really wanted this. I had thought about it a lot before the conference. Unfortunately, this editor did not attend the pre-conference party the PNWA throws for the agents and editors. It was the next day and Bob Dugoni was in the main ballroom introducing all the agents. The hallway outside, where I was standing, not knowing what to do with myself, was deserted. What should I do? I wondered.

Get some coffee downstairs at Spencer’s,” a voice in my head answered.

“I don’t want coffee,” I told the voice.

Get some coffee downstairs at Spencer’s,” the voice said again.

And so there I was climbing into the elevator, and there I was winding my way toward the lobby and Spencer’s, thinking how I did not want coffee, when I looked up and saw a professional-looking woman drifting toward me with a lost look in her eye.

“You looking for the conference?” I asked.

“Yes. I’m supposed to be on the Editor’s Panel. This place is so confusing.”

“I’ll take you there.”

Now I recognized her from her picture in the conference brochure and I introduced myself and told her who my agent was and about the project and she said I should send it right along to her.

This would be a perfect story, I suppose, if she had bought it and that had been the beginning of my YA fantasy writing career, but she did not. In fact, no one bought that book, which turned out to be a good thing, because that very same voice eventually told me to write a very different kind of book. I am sure that voice had been trying to talk to me for many years, but that, to my memory, was the first time I actually listened to it.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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