Many aspiring writers have this belief that there is an idea out there. Not just an idea--THE Idea. The Idea that, if they just found it, would be the key to everything. Things would magically fall into place. Agents would call, sobbing, begging to represent them. Publishers would trip over themselves to buy it.
The Idea is everything. Find it, and you are set.
I hate to be the one to tell you, but Flash? It was my Idea. The day I finished the first draft, I remember going to the bookstore, looking at the YA section, and barely being able to breathe. I was going to be there. Flash was going to take me. I had finally, finally found the magical portal into my dreams.
It took longer than it should have (after all, MAGIC, people!), but I got a fabulous agent. This was it. I had made it. I was going to be an author, all because I found The Idea.
Guess what? Flash didn't sell.
Let me repeat: FLASH DID NOT SELL.
But you know what I did in the meantime? I wrote another book. Oh, scratch that--I wrote three other books. And then, having realized that Flash was never as good as it could have been, I picked just one of those books. It wasn't The Idea, it was An Idea. And it had potential, but it wasn't there yet. So you know what I did with that Idea?
I worked my freaking butt off.
I edited it. I sent it to friends. I finally let myself accept advice and was willing to make major cuts and changes. I lucked into a wonderful friendship with Stephanie, who is the kindest, gentlest, most ruthless editor I've ever known. I learned. I improved. And I worked, worked, worked, worked. I stayed up late. I took it on vacation. I spent time I could have been relaxing or SLEEPING on edits. I set aside a first draft of another book that I very much wanted to finish. When my eyes blurred so much I couldn't focus on the words, I read it out loud to myself to make sure I wasn't skimming.
And you know what? When Paranormalcy went out to editors, I wasn't terrified. Well, okay, I was terrified, but none of it was quality related. I knew--and know--that I was sending out the best possible manuscript, and that if it didn't sell, it wouldn't be because I hadn't done the work. It was An Idea that I carefully and painstakingly crafted into The Idea.
So here's the point. You really want to be a writer? Your Idea isn't going to sell. Your WORK is going to sell.
Get back to work.