If you’ve been paying attention over the last few months, you’ll have noticed me talking about a book I’m co-authoring with Danny Crow which had the working title of Wonderling. In this story, a Wonderling is a special kind of person who has the ability to see and experience things which others can’t; or at least they were.
I mentioned the title to a friend the other day, and they said there was already a book called that. I was pretty sure there wasn’t, because I’d Googled the name when we first started work on the book and nothing had come up but I checked again. Sure enough, I soon found that a writer called Mira Bartok had just sold the film rights for her novel, The Wonderling, to Fox Studios. Incredibly, the novel isn’t even finished yet! Bartok’s agent sold not only the publication rights but the film rights on the basis of the first few pages (and her reputation as a nonfiction writer).
I’d love to say that I was a big enough person to say, ‘Well, how lovely for her! And I don’t mind that we have to change the name of our novel, 50,000 words in, because she’s sold hers on the strength of a few pages!’ but I’m not. I sulked. I grumbled at the injustice. I pouted.
Then I started coming up with new names for those who can see what others can’t. Once we’ve decided on a new title, I’ll let you know; in the meantime we’re calling it Northings, a significant location in the story.
Resilience is a great quality to have as a writer. No matter how good you are, you will get rejections. There are people who will love your work, and people who will hate it. It’s a tough industry, with so many hopeful authors out there trying to achieve the same things as you. Then there will be set-backs like this, coincidences that upset your personal apple cart a bit. It’s OK to get knocked down, now and then, just as long as you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.