I had lunch last week with SciFi guy and Screenwriter. It had been a long time. Summer havoc. Travel, weddings, kid stuff, the heat. (I can’t remember life below 100 degrees.) We were all in a weird place. SciFi guy and I are both waiting on word from New York on new projects. Screenwriter was polishing a screenplay as obsessively as a teenager with a tuner.
“You heard anything yet?” he asked us.
As if we wouldn’t have been doing the happy dance on the tabletop if we had good news.
“Strongly considering was the last word,” SciFi guy said. “But what does that mean? Is there a very strongly considering? An almost positive considering?”
“It means nine out of ten,” I said.
“Strongly a nine out of ten?” He asked.
“Is that a little sarcasm?”
“You know dialogue without subtext is kind of boring,” Screenwriter added.
If anyone was listening to our conversation, it probably made no sense. But to me, it was better than that tall, cool Arnold Palmer at my elbow. Did I mention that it’s been really hot? I was talking to two people who totally got how I was feeling. And suddenly I was overwhelmed with gratitude for community, for people who could at least make me crack a smile when “strongly considering” turns to “maybe not so much.” In the middle of the vast, lonely plains of writing, I can’t tell you how much community with other writers matters.
And there are levels of community. Writers need critique groups, people with a little humor who are vaguely working at the same skill level and who have the same goals to move their writing forward. We all know that. But what we also need is an inner circle, a very few close friends who understand us. These are the people who understand our themes, (the themes of our writing and of our lives), who aren’t afraid to push us to go deeper. Where does that inner circle come from? I want to say… magic. It’s asking what makes people click.
And I’m going to leave you hanging…in the next three weeks my inner circle might have some news. And I can only say might in this industry.
SciFi guy could hear about the fate of his near future sequel.
Screenwriter will have put the polishing cloth away and sent the screenplay out the door! (I hope he’s reading this.)
And I hope to know the fate of my Seattle SciFi manuscript. I might also have …wait for it...the cover to Beyond the Door my middle grade fantasy that releases in March.
So next post we might have some updates. But I will introduce you to the first character from Beyond the Door, the Greenman.