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by Tammi Sauer

When Tara asked me to contribute a post to PiBoIdMo 2009 I was honored. And, truth be told, scared. For me, getting a Really Good Idea is hard. Crazy hard. How could I possibly offer idea-getting strategies to others when I felt this was the toughest of all the writing challenges?

Well, that November I wrote the blog post. I also pushed myself to come up with 30 ideas. Whew. Wasn’t easy. It took me every bit of that entire month to get those 30 possibilities on paper. Most of those ideas were tiny snippits. A character. A title. A phrase.

One of those snippits, however, seemed as if it might have potential. Nugget and Fang. I thought the unlikely best friendship between a minnow and a shark might have the makings for a story. I brainstormed. I jotted down a first draft. And a second draft. And a third draft. With each draft the story got a little tighter, the word choice got a little better, and the humor got a little stronger. But I never really got that YES feeling from the manuscript. So…I put it away for a few months. Then I wrote a fourth draft. And a fifth draft. And I put it away for a year.

Then, in March 2011, my week to submit something to my critique group came around. I had recently finished my latest manuscript and I needed SOMETHING to send the oh-so-awesome PBJeebies. So I dug through my files. And found two old friends. Nugget and Fang. I read the most recent version. Then I revised. And revised. And revised some more. I started to get excited.

I sent the manuscript to the PBJeebies, and they pushed me to revise the manuscript a little more. That YES feeling came around. I shared the manuscript with my agent.

These are my favorite three sentences from her response:

“I absolutely love this manuscript! It’s hilarious, original, and wonderfully paced—with totally fun illustration possibilities. Yay!”

Oh, happiness! Oh, time-to-print-out-that-message-and-tape-it-to-my-computer!

The manuscript went Out There.

Months went by. Then I got the call. And I got ANOTHER call.

Two fabulous houses were interested.

After much careful consideration, I decided Nugget and Fang belonged at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Nugget and Fang is scheduled for a Summer 2013 release. I’m hoping it makes a really big splash.

Tammi Sauer, who owes an ocean-sized thanks to Tara Lazar.

Tara’s Note: Aww, shucks. I owe big thanks to you for being such a great role model!

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