That phrase brings to mind the thousands of baseball games I’ve heard on the radio over the years. I think that all the guys who do MLB play-by-play must have attended the same broadcasting school, because they all seem to say the exact same line the exact same way every time the pitcher launches the ball toward home plate. Or, maybe they’re all imitating the same guy. Or maybe they’re all imitating each other. I’d still like to hear one of them rock the boat and find a new and different way to tell listeners the pitcher’s let one fly.
I suppose that today’s crop of CBA novels have a lot in common with baseball play-by-play. There are a lot of people writing according to the same formulas and fitting nicely into the same little genre slots. Sometimes I’ll be reading a novel that seems familiar, and I realize that I’ve read pretty much the same book before but with different character names and settings, and maybe a twist or two, but the same general formula. I’ve been advised that the fastest road to getting my first novel published is to write one of those predictable formula books, Romance or Romantic Suspense or a nice Cozy Mystery. Safe stuff that proves I’m sane and able to capture complete (albeit boring) thoughts on paper and complete a manuscript (a remarkable number of first-time novelists can’t do either).
Well, I tried. It’s hard to stay “inside the box” when I was never inside the box in the first place. I tried with all my might to write a straightforward Romantic Suspense, but finally had to come to grips with the fact that it’s not. There’s romance, there’s suspense, but those are all sub-plots. At its core, it’s a character-driven story of a man who is put into situations that cause him to re-evaluate his life, his values, and his destiny. I like to think of it as a journey of grace.
The title of this fledgling of mine is Inheriting Air, and it’s about to be pitched.
No, not pitched as in “tossed into the abyss,” pitched as in “Do I have a book for you!”
I’m headed toward the annual American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference in Dallas. ACFW is a wonderful organization full of (well, mostly) wonderful people who are passionate about writing great fiction. In the course of the conference, I’ll have the opportunity to sit under the teaching of some wonderfully talented writers and work toward taking my grasp of the craft of writing up a notch or two. I’ll have the joy of rubbing shoulders with a few hundred folks who love word-wrangling just as much as I do, and put faces with the names of those whom I’ve chatted with, shared with, and in some cases rejoiced (or wept) with online. And I’ll have the opportunity to “pitch” my novel to editors and agents, with the hope that one or more will catch the same sort of excitement about this story that is all over me.
Inheriting Air is the story of Jim Clarke, the protege of an aging, childless billionaire. Jim’s uncle dies and leaves him a little AM radio station in a little town in South Arkansas. It’s an annoyance that he can’t get rid of no matter how hard he tries. He is forced to travel to the little town to either “put some lipstick on the pig” and make it more salable, or put it to death and walk away from the distraction. Inheriting Air is the story of how God uses that little town and little radio station to change Jim’s life, and then uses Jim to change theirs.
Feel free to pray for me as I attend the conference and pursue this new venture. Whether the editors love it or hate it, what’s important is that it all happen according to God’s timetable. He sees this from a much better vantage point, and if He says “not yet” it’s for good cause (even if I can’t see it).
It’s my job to pitch. the Lord will take care of lining up the right catcher! 🙂