After days of phone and email tag, I finally got to talk to my editor, Sulay at Touchstone, about my third idea, The Make-Up Artist. And she said, "Yes!" OK, the exclamation point is all mine, but we were both relieved to find ourselves on the same editorial and creative page.

Now that I have the green light, it's time to think it through from beginning to end. I have my pitch sheet, with a brief synopsis, but now I need to noodle on the specifics. I'll be doing my usual packet of character sketches, a chapter-by-chapter outline and plenty of research. Since my main character, Betti, works for a high end French cosmetics company, I'll have to spend some time developing a fictional line for her to sell and learning more about the trade. (Poor me!) I'll also be driving around Los Angeles to find the perfect mini-castle like apartment building where she'll live with her mother. I know I've seen it, it's just a matter of finding it again. For right now, my main focus will be on fleshing out the outline to get it to my editor by or around the first week of December. Then I'll have to think long and hard as to when I can finish a first draft then a revised draft and finally as near polished manuscript as I can manage for her to read and give me notes on.

So why did it take so long? And why so many false starts? (Including one that ate up my spring and summer and about 97,000 keystrokes.)

Sulay was really looking for an idea that had a hopeful feeling about love of More Than This (Touchstone, Aug. '08), I wanted something quirky with supporting characters who could provide comic relief and emphasize Betti's own neurosis and we both agreed that family and friendship had to be at the center of story. As I immerse myself into the reality of taking The Make-Up Artist from a concept (A young woman negotiates through life by using the experiences of friends and family as a way to avoid risks in her own.) to a full novel, I hope I'll be able to hit all those high and, yeah, low points. It is after all, my job and I'm sure I can do it, but it's nice to know I have my editor an email or phone call away to offer her pearls of wisdom when I find myself panicking.

I'm taking inspiration from one my all-time favorite movies, Amelie. And in the spirit of the movie I will be celebrating all things quirky and French. It almost even makes me want to cut bangs into my hair, but that would be a bad idea. I'm very happy The Make-Up Artist (yep, working title) is a go, but I'm still halfway rational when it comes to my hair. Though, I may spend more time at Anthropologie since that store is all things quirky, girlie and rather French and by the end of it Betti will go from staid to not so staid.


Skydoll said...

YES! So happy for you. And the story idea sounds fun. You're making me want to rent Amelie. Strangely enough, a travel blog I follow mentioned the same movie. Is this a sign? I think so. Off to blockbuster now. Then to the airport to pick up the husband who is sitting near Lassie in business class. Yes, Lassie has a seat. Next to the handler. Which is very near the husband. Who is also near a band he does not recognize.

Margo Candela said...

And here I was debating if I should make some sort of effort to eat lunch or not. Rent Amelie and if you don't fall in love with the movie, you and I are going to have words!