I finally had to resort to the allergy meds yesterday when the sneezing was getting in the way of my ability to get any work done. Of course, while that cleared my head in one respect, it made me loopy in other respects. I probably couldn't have driven or walked a straight line, but my brain got a really strange kind of clarity, to the point that I realized what this book is really about. Not the plot stuff, but rather the theme, the internal story I'm trying to tell that lies beneath everything else. I generally write to have entertaining books rather than anything to analyze in book clubs or to one day have students forced to write papers about, but I find that there is usually some kind of underlying theme.
The theme for this entire series is essentially about finding one's place in the world -- what makes a person "special," what it is that you have to offer the world that nobody else can really do, and what role you play in the lives of the people around you. Each book in the series explores a different facet of that. The first book is about Katie realizing she's more special than she ever realized. The second book is about her discovering that the thing that really makes her special isn't quite what she thought it was. I won't get into themes for books three and four, as that would be spoilery. Suffice it to say, I figured out what book 4's theme is. I guess it helps to shut off the conscious part of my brain and let the subconscious get to work. And now that I have all that, I need to get the conscious mind back and working to actually write it.
I do have new motivation to get this book done and get started on something else, though. There's been scary news in publishing land about authors who seemed to be doing pretty well who not only have had their option books declined, but whose next books aren't being published, even though they're written and paid for. When I finish this book, I'll be out of contract, which means unemployed, essentially, and while I'm pretty sure I can get another book sold, it's not absolutely certain. I'm not sure what else I can do if I can't keep working as a writer. I'm bad about keeping in touch with people, so I'm not sure what I'd do about references if I had to go job hunting. Would employers count references from agents and editors, even if the editors were the ones who decided I wasn't cutting it as a writer?
I think I really need to lay off marathons of The Office before I go to sleep because that does seem to give me anxiety about having to get a real job again. But it's so much fun! And season premiere tonight! We'll finally find out what happened with Jim and Pam.