Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Something in the air

I had what I can only describe as a crushing disappointment a couple of weeks ago.

Over the summer, I'd been working out the details of an idea that I'd been toying with for months. It was going to be the second book in my urban fantasy series about a supernatural Messenger. I'd had the idea for it back when I started submitting the first book in the series in 2008 and it was time to flesh it out and send it to my editor who'd never seen more than a paragraph about it. The idea was based on Euripedes' The Bacchae and the title was Messenger in a Bottle.

There were ties to the wine country near where I live in California. There were naked women roaming through the woods having orgies and ripping cattle apart with their bare hands. There was vengeance and sorrow. It was going to be such fun! I wrote close to 60 pages of it and wrote a fairly detailed synopsis of it (not an easy feat for me) and sent it to my editor at the end of August.

She called last week.

Guess what they apparently did on the last season of TrueBlood? Yep. You guessed it. Bacchae running naked through the woods, ripping apart cattle, having orgies. Vengeance being called down. All of it. So, despite actually liking the proposal, we're not doing it.

It's not like I don't have other ideas for my Messenger series. I do. I'm even fairly enamored of some of them, but I'd put it in work on this one! And it's getting rejected not because it's poorly written or poorly thought through or just poor. It's getting rejected because Alan freaking Ball beat me to the punch.

My friend Sara says it's called Parallel Development. My sweetheart rocked me to sleep that night saying, "It's just like when they had those two asteroid movies at the same time. There was just something in the air."

Has that happened to anyone else? You work out a fab idea just to find out someone else pulled the trigger faster than you?


Molly O'Keefe said...

OH Eileen - that sucks! What a terrible feeling...that in fact I do know. I had a friend working at a film company in LA and we were working on film treatments for various ideas his boss was really excited about - in particular a WWII submarine/navy movie based on true events. Everyone was very excited but then....that's right...the Jon Bon Jovi vehicle U-571. Crushed by Bon Jovi.

I hope those other ideas start to get your juices flowing and you can let this one go without too much teeth nashing.

Maureen McGowan said...

I got a rejection that was "loved this, but too much like xx that we also published."

I'd never heard of xx at the time, but it was written by a big hollywood producer's wife and what do you know, ended up being made into a short-lived TV series. :-(

Too bad, Eileen. I'll bet your orgies would've been way better.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Eileen - sorry about that. Any time you put work into something and it's not rejected because it's "bad" sucks.

I have not run into this particular issue... mainly because I stick to obscure ideas that no one will publish... but I can feel your pain.


Eileen said...

Steph, I really honestly thought a retelling of Euripedes' The Bacchae was an obscure idea. Seriously. I totally did.

Molly, at least you got crushed by someone hot. :-)

Maureen, I dunno about the orgies. But I do feel there's a possibility that my exploration of the negative and positive impact of religion might have had a teensy bit more depth. Who knows, though? I don't watch True Blood (way too much graphic and unpleasant sex to watch with teenage boys in the house). I loved Six Feet Under so maybe Alan Ball was awesome with that, too.


Maureen McGowan said...

I didn't particularly like the storyline on True Blook, Eileen. Love the show. Think Allan Ball's amazing, but something about it just didn't work for me.
Haven't put my finger on why, yet. I think it might be because the main villain seemed too invincible for most of the season -- and then the way they finally did defeat her, was just silly. And other stuff simply wasn't explained well. Like why Sookie seemed immune to her at the end, but had almost died when attacked at the beginning of the season... or why she took such a roundabout way to get to Sam if that's who she wanted. It just didn't hang together well for me. Seemed to much like an excuse for lots of nudity and sex -- and while I'm normally pretty okay with that ;-) -- this just felt forced.

Eileen said...

Maybe I'll get back to it someday, but even if I do it will have to be a different story internally since the characters will be in different places emotionally. Maybe that'll be a good thing?

Now, however, I'm getting really jazzed up learning about brujeria. It's got everything! Tarot cards! Saints! Voodoo dolls! Graveyard dirt! Fascinating stuff, eh?

Molly O'Keefe said...

I'm with Maureen - there wer some great parts of that season, but as a whole that giant subplot seemed a bit loosy-goosey and for sure your orgies would ahve been better!

Eileen said...

I so appreciate your vote of confidence! I'm not sure my orgy scenes would have been great, but I would have liked to have given it a try!

Sinead M said...

You had me at orgy scenes...

Sorry the idea didn't work out. Sometimes the tie in really works in a book's favoue, like Buffy in Victorian times, or a new spin on Beauty and the Beast and sometimes the timing just bites..

Excited to read about Voodoo

Eileen said...

I actually talked to a Mexican friend today about it and was surprised to hear how prevalent the practice still is. Very trippy!

Karla said...

I finished a manuscript early in the summer for one of my favourite story ideas, something I've had in mind for AWHILE. It was a thrill and a relief, but I wasn't ready to sit down and edit/revise just then, so I decided to read for a solid week instead, including a few authors I hadn't tried before.

One of those books had a sub-plot so similar to my 'original' idea that I actually cried. For awhile. Then I started writing the next story. What can you do??

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