Before we begin, don’t forget to add your creative juices to the Renaming “Trevor & the Tooth Fairy” Title Contest–you can win fun prizes!
Okay, on with the show…
Some of you know this story. For those who do not, here’s the true tale.
Once upon a time, there was an author–let’s call her “Erica”–who loved to procrastinate by surfing the Internet. One of her favorite sites to hit was Miss Snark’s blog because it was entertaining and educational, which meant Erica could rationalize the hours spent there as “productive” writerly time. Ahem.
From time to time, the anonymous agent Miss Snark would run feedback series called “Crapometers”, in which X number of readers would email her something specific, such as a story synopsis, for her to publicly snark on her blog.
These pithy flayings were hugely entertaining, and Erica cursed herself every time she missed one. (Then, as now, she tended to visit her blog roll in spurts, and the open window for submissions tended to be just a few hours long.)
In December of 2006, Miss Snark held the Happy Hooker Crapometer and dared her readers to try and hook the notoriously snarky, unhookable agent.
Erica thought that was a pretty good plan.
Unfortunately, Erica did not have a hook, because she did not have a WIP. (Because she’d been too busy procrastinating instead of writing–see paragraph #1.)
Not one to let opportunity pass her by if she could help it, Erica decided to invent a hook off the top of her head. After all, she was sitting at a departure gate in the Tampa Airport with nothing better to do while waiting for her flight to roll in.
What would make a good hook? Well, conflict makes a good hook, right? The Sesame Street skit “Fred Takes a Drink of Water” is hilarious because of its tongue-in-cheek conflictlessness, sure. But Miss Snark is more discriminating than that.
So, Erica kept in mind the old conflict adage about the fireman and the arsonist (aka, pit your hero and heroine against each other) and tried to dream up character types with inherent conflict.
Some people might’ve thought of the determined bachelor and the woman set on marrying him (possibly with a secret baby in her arsenal), or the hardened detective and the waiflike victim he must protect from the vicious killer at all costs, or the virile vampire and the ivory-skinned mortal who cannot help but succumb to his thrall.
Not Erica. She thought of the tooth fairy.
Now, some people might think the tooth fairy has no natural enemies with whom to have inherent conflict. If so, you’re not using your imagination! Erica decided to invent some antagonists.
It made no sense for a small child to fight for her tooth rather than take a shiny silver dollar, so Erica pitted the hapless tooth fairy against an archeologist who needs to hold onto the skeleton tooth he’s just found, in order to keep his job. And then, just for fun, gave the poor apprentice tooth fairy (we can’t have her being an omnipotent, uber tooth fairy!) a villain working behind the scenes to help bring her down.
Thus satisfied, Erica zipped off an email with her 250 word hook to the venerable Miss Snark and headed off to her family’s annual early Christmas a thousand miles away.
Much to her surprise, when she finally got around to checking her email again, there was a message from Miss Snark. The message said that the hook was good and funny. Erica had passed into the second (and final) round, and should please send the first five pages.
Five pages? Of a story she’d made up in an airport terminal? Crap!
Erica did what any self-respecting procrastinator would do–she waited around until it was almost too late to send anything in at all. During this waiting-around period, she read the submissions of the few people whose hooks Miss Snark had actually liked, and winced in sympathy at the brutal snarking most of them achieved.
She even checked with a few of her friends and chaptermates to get their opinion on the situation. Virtually all said something along the lines of, “Wow, I can’t believe you hooked Miss Snark! But a tooth fairy? Are you serious? No way can you make a full length adult romance out of that.”
But, not wishing for opportunity to pass her by, Erica spent the hours before a different return flight knocking out five pages. Okay, six. Which she then trimmed down to five. Or closer to four and a half.
In any case, Miss Snark posted the excerpt (ha! she thought it was the excerpt, but it was the entire manuscript! bet I was the only one who got my entire manuscript posted!) and wonder of wonders… actually liked it!
Erica thought to herself, “Well, if Miss Snark thinks it’s got potential–and she’s not only a stiletto-wearing crotchety gin addict, she doesn’t even represent romance–it can’t be that stupid of an idea.”
And so she sat down and wrote.
Between January 15 and March 6, 2007, she knocked out 99,936 words. As soon as she was done with that, she cleaned up the partial (with the help of her CPs) and started querying agents. While waiting to hear back from the dozen or so agents, she entered a couple contests and managed to triple-final in one of them (no word yet on the other). She sent all the agents who’d requested material a nice email mentioning said triple-final and waited some more. And then in July of 2007, one of the interested agents said she loved Trevor & the Tooth Fairy and offered representation.
Now Erica just received her very first revision letter and is busy polishing up the story so her agent can send it on its merry way to NYC.
Whether or not this is the book that makes that first sale, the whole experience has been amazing, emotional (lots of interest, rejections, and waiting!), and self-affirming.
To tooth fairies… and Miss Snark! =)
YOUR TURN: If this is the first time you heard the tale of how TATTF came to be, what do you think? (Well, you can tell me even if you already knew about it. *g) I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions about any step of the process along the way–just ask! (Oh, and please suggest some new title possibilities!)