There are some common slogans in writing that are designed to keep aspiring authors motivated. One such adage is "Never stop writing." If you submit some query letters, the waiting can be excruciating. After you find an agent and you've submitted your manuscript, again, the waiting game sucks. Even after a publishing contract is signed, it's often a year before your story gets released. Wait. Wait. Wait.
I was lucky. I got a great literary agent. Her initial impression of my story was that it had "Best Seller" potential. She felt it was unique, frighteningly realistic and timely.
It died today!
A new movie, filled with big name actors, came out this week. Contagion tells the story of a military-altered virus that gets loose and leads to a global crisis. The science in the movie is unrealistic. Dialog is ridiculously dramatic. And, the Hollywood-inspired special effects make the movie little more than an excuse for cheap scare tactics like melodramatic screams and hysterical people. Nevertheless, it has some big name actors and lots of Hollywood hype.
My book tells about a well-planned terrorist attack using, yes, a military-altered virus with lethal impact. My research was exhausting. The terrorist's virus replication laboratory uses real equipment. Tools in my research laboratory are state of the art. Infection rates follow real statistical models. And, everything in my story could REALLY happen. But, my agent says that this new movie suddenly transformed my book from really exciting and unique to "It's already been done."
What do I do now?
Remember at the beginning of this blog, I mentioned the writer's advice of "Never stop writing"? I followed that advice all while Jihad was making its way through the system. I now have three more manuscripts in the works, and, ironically, I have a new storyline that might fit perfectly into my Jihad book. It will remove the lethal virus and substitute a creative new threat against the US and our allies. I have never seen this threat in a recent movie or book, so my characters, and the Jihad story, are saved. The key to overcoming adversity for a writer truly is to keep on writing. Well, it's getting late and I have some special cloned terrorists to insert into my Jihad story . . . yes, that's a little hint!