Sometimes when crafting a novel, it’s hard to know how much to tease or reveal while it’s under construction. For me, it’s not that I’m afraid someone will steal the concept, but that I’ll give too much away. What can I say, I like to share. So, I’m struggling a little bit to write this blog post. Anyway–
Another thing I worry about is the relevancy of my topic. So far, both YA books I’ve worked on have been based in reality. In my first book, the Navy (more specifically, boot camp) played a large part of the setting. There is only one Navy boot camp facility in the U.S., so that directed my research. I always worry that some new development will come along and make my book irrelevant in some way. For example, in the course of writing, recruits were issued a new style of uniforms, so descriptions needed to be changed. I also highlighted the fact that females aren’t allowed on subs. That may not be true much longer. Good for the girls, but a kink in my book.
As I began drafting the next book, I was happy not to have the all the restrictions that I had before. This time, the only things I was taking from reality were a few landmarks in Indiana and Michigan, as well as a story of a sunken ship. To once again give you a sense of what the book will be about, I’ll pitch it to you as I would to an agent or editor (You’ve heard me say this before): It’s like “The Goonies meets Post Secret.” What could possibly disrupt the relevancy of the story?
Well, yesterday my friend and critique partner Tammara sent me this article: Lake Michigan Shipwreck Found After 112 Years. I gasped and actually panicked that it was going to be the shipwreck that I needed for my book! It wasn’t, but I had to laugh at myself for my gut-wrenching worry over a sunken ship. It’s fiction, after all, and there are MANY shipwrecks in that lake, and MANY ways to work around such a hiccup. Once I got over that, I could enjoy the photos of the shipwreck in the article. A really fascinating discovery.