…there was a girl who was petrified to tell a single soul that she liked to make up stories. In fact, she was so afraid, she didn’t even write the stories down on the off chance that someone might learn her secret. She tried a few times in her life, but then she would feel that oppressive fear attempting to read over her shoulder and would quickly destroy the words before that fear could inflict further psychological damage. Until, eventually, the characters in one particular story demanded that she send them on a real journey.
Just under a year later, the girl had written a very long, not very good, 588 page (more on that another time) story. But still she did not tell a soul. She had worked on that story every single day for all those nine months. When her friends and family called and asked what she was doing, you know, the way friends and family do, she would tell them she was reading, or some other lie, when really she was off with her imaginary friends discovering what came next. During that time she delighted in the fact that she was the sole keeper of a whole secret, hidden world.
One day, about six months into her secret journey, one of her best friends, a fellow bibliophile, joined her for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. There, the girl received a sign, in the form of a fortune cookie, that she was on the right path.
The girl smiled to herself and placed that fortune cookie in her wallet (it lived there for over four years), but she still did not tell anyone she was writing a story.
After she had completed the very long story and revised it three times, she took a deep breath, gave herself a good pep-talk, and finally braved telling her bibliophile friend her secret; she even gave the friend a copy of the very long story. The friend was shocked. Also very, very proud. This gave the girl a little boost of courage, just enough to allow her to share her story with a few more friends and her family. Their reactions were quite similar. After reading the story, they all told the girl that it was good and that she should definitely continue writing.
So she happily, and proudly, did.
And then four years and nine months (and five manuscripts) later …
*Nancy Conescu at Dial has acquired The End of the Beginning, a debut YA novel by casting agent Michelle Levy. The novel, pitched as a darkerEleanor & Park, tells of two broken people who help each other survive and ultimately find love. Publication is planned for summer 2015; Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world English-language rights.
**Dial is an imprint of The Penguin Group.