“Let’s write a novel,” she says.

My darling girl and I set off on this mission last summer–the first day of summer break, in fact–after she’d come up with an idea for a story that she wanted to write. As we kicked it around, the idea turned into a game plan to write a whole series, so we got to work. All through the long summer (long when you’re a ten-year old, far too short when you’re a high school teacher) we sat together on our deck or in our “writing room”, side-by-side, mapping out our story and then executing our scenes and dialogue. By the time school started we were 20,000 words into it, and we’ve just wrapped things up at 47,000 words. This seems short to me, as I’ve been writing longer manuscripts for years, but we put in our due diligence, did our research, and came up with a range of 40-50,000 words for a middle grade book. What’s left now is to tinker with page one and to give all of our chapters clever titles (our favorite chapter title so far is called “The Peanut Butter and Skelly Incident”–you’ll have to read it…trust me, it makes sense!) and then we’ll send it out to a handful of family and friends for feedback so that we can edit the whole manuscript. I’ve been through the query process a number of times, so I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation, ready to get our baby out into the world and see what happens, but my girl has jumped right ahead to the “when we’re famous authors…” stage. She is ready to do the work–I’ll give her that: she cut a play-date short by two hours last night so she could get home and work on our story, and she has all the enthusiasm, zeal, and confidence that it takes to make it as an author. I haven’t had the heart to tell her yet that she’ll need all of that confidence in her reserves during the query/wait/rejection cycle, but maybe I should try on her confident attitude for size. Okay, here I go: “This is going to be SO. MUCH. FUN. when we’re famous authors!”