I submitted my latest effort to a publisher, sure he’d love it as much as I. After all, I’d been fine-tuning it for four years, editing and re-editing. (To give you some perspective, this was when I was wide-eyed and innocent as an author). His reply: He’d be interested if:
- I add new characters
- changed the setting
- changed the plot
Is that all? Being new to this writing thing, I contemplated his requests. The human mind is amazing. Give it a problem and it works on it, behind the scenes, while you’re eating dinner, socializing with friends. It just grinds away until it comes up with a solution. Personally, I think man has the only brain that does that and that’s one of the features that makes us human and every other animal not.
But I digress. Before I knew it, a new book was taking shape in my mind.
- I started noticing unique characteristics about people around me, stuff I just had to include in my book
- As I watched life move around me, I became aware of motivations, themes–plots. How would I attack that Destroyer if I had to? How would I hack a computer that no one else could?
- What did a college campus look and feel like? What smells were unique to the Navy?
A year later, I was done. I morphed from a paleo-historic adventure to a techno-thriller set in modern times. It turned out to be not a rewrite, but a new book. Surprisingly, it followed the same theme: How does man solve problems?
Here’s my suggestion: Be aware of those Early Warning Signs. Pay attention. Write them down. You have a story to tell.