True story: After I wrote and revised RA THE MIGHTY, I sat on it for six months before I sent it to my agent. Why?
Because I worried that if a publisher bought it, they’d want a sequel. And I was afraid I couldn’t be funny twice.
As I explained a while ago, I never saw humor as my strong point, at least not in writing. I was as surprised as could be when Ra and Khepri showed up on the page and started making me laugh. And that’s really how I thought of it – they they were the ones who made things funny. Not me.
Luckily, a good friend pushed me to send the book out. She’d read the manuscript, and she knew it was ready. Her prompting made me realize two things:
- I wasn’t going to get over my fear anytime soon.
- I was just going to have to take the leap anyway.
At least, I had to leap if I wanted RA THE MIGHTY to find a home, and if I wanted to grow as a writer. And I did.It turned out Ra found a home fast. (Yay!) And yes, they wanted a sequel. (Cue a big attack of nerves!)
To ward off anxiety, I’d already scribbled down some ideas for more Ra mysteries, and it helped to know those were in my back pocket. But ideas are a long way from a book. And they don’t have much to do with voice, which was the wellspring for the humor in RA THE MIGHTY. In the end, I just had to make another leap—and hope that Ra and Khepri showed up again.
Thankfully, they did. And they made me laugh even harder this time, as they tackled THE GREAT TOMB ROBBERY.
I’m the kind of person who likes to have a plan for everything (and a back-up plan, and a back-up back-up plan). But I’ve finally realized that what I love about humor is that it doesn’t lend itself to planning. It requires me to leap. And even for an over-planner like me, it’s the very act of leaping that makes it so much fun.