Idea Cemetery

April 23rd, 2009

My house got struck by lightning, causing me to lose my wifi connection! It only got back and up and running now, so my apologies for the lack of blog posts.

I was, however, posting things to Twitter whenever I could find a wireless hotspot, which turned out to be practically never since I don’t drink coffee.

Anyway today I made a serious error in judgement by using a credit card in a bookstore I frequent, and I actually got recognized by the bookseller (hi, Tabitha)!

This is pretty bad because I’ve promised my editors I’m not going to laze around the pool reading any more books until I’ve handed in all the manuscripts I owe them.

But even worse, I got recognized buying a copy of Tori Spelling’s Mommywood!!!

I really wish I had been buying something a little cooler….

Like Tamora Pierce‘s new book, Bloodhound, or Cindy Pon’s fantastic new YA romance-adventure novel Silver Phoenix….

Except it’s not in stores until next week (but I would reserve a copy now if I were you because I think they’re going to go fast)! Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet.

PS This book is not for the faint of heart: It has some SUPER scary parts. Also, Ai Ling kicks butt.

But, anyway, no. Caught buying Mommywood. Oh well. Why deny it? I love you, Tori.

Anyway, a lot of you have written to me since my internet went down, and here is just a small sampling of what you’ve asked:

Dear Meg,

You say everyone asks you where you get your ideas. Well, here is a question I bet no one has ever asked you: What do you do with all the ideas you don’t use?

xoxo jocelyn

Dear Jocelyn

You’re right, no one has ever asked me this before, and it’s a very good question!

I let my ideas germinate for a while, to see which ones seem like they might formulate into a book I’d enjoy working on longterm. Some ideas seem fun for a week or two. Then you get tired of them. That’s no good for a book you might be working on for months!

Or maybe you realize the idea is full of plotholes you can’t fill no matter how hard you try, and it’s just not worth the effort.

If the idea passes these rigorous tests (which can take up to a year to process for me–I write the book fast because I have already processed the idea for it fully in my head first), I will write up a brief synopsis and run it by my agent. If she likes it, she will run it by my editor. If my editor likes it, great.

If not, the idea goes to the idea cemetery (also known as a file on my computer).


Idea Cemetery

Sometimes a few years down the line, when everyone has forgotten about the idea, including me, I will see it on my hard drive and go, “What’s this?” and click on it and be all, “Wow! That was a great idea!” and get excited about it all over again.

Other times I will go, “Ew, why did I ever think THAT was a good idea?” It just depends on the idea.

But hope springs eternal maybe someday an idea will come out of the idea cemetery and become a book! You just never know.

Here’s one of my favorite poems I always think of when I think of Tori (whose book I’m going to read now to help me fall asleep). Or any big celebrity, really (Lindsay and Britney come to mind, actually, more so than Tori).

It’s a perfect little gem of a poem. I wish I had written it:

Lana Turner Has Collapsed!
by Frank O’Hara

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

More later.

Much love,

Meg