Three (or was it four) years ago, I wrote Dead Sea.
Two years ago, I rewrote Dead Sea based on the input of several sensitivity readers.
One year ago, I re-rewrote Dead Sea.
Ooops, I did it again…. I rewrote Dead Sea.
AND I submitted it to publishers.
Dead Sea is officially out there in the literary world.
Over the course of this book’s longish unpublished life I’ve had many inspirations. My daughter Demi introduced me to “Dead Sea”—the song by the Lumineers—while driving around White Plains in the classic black Volvo wagon when she attended SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Songs often inspire my writing; these lyrics gave me the original idea to write this story.
Like the Dead Sea
You told me I was like the Dead Sea
You’ll never sink when you are with me
Oh Lord, like the Dead Sea
Whoa, I’m like the Dead Sea
The finest words you ever said to me
Honey can’t you see
I was born to be, be your Dead Sea
I was also inspired by an event in a young relative’s high school life—he saved a boy from a riptide and was celebrated by the town.
Combining these two ideas, I came up with this concept:
*Lenny Dubinski is a timid introvert and despises the idea of being “seen” at school. But he is a true eccentric; Lenny lives to create elaborate costumes of his most admired fictional characters. This allows him to adopt and embody the traits that he most yearns for—rebelliousness, independence, bravery, swagger.
*Lenny takes Mom’s minivan every Friday night to secretly display (yes, wear) his costumes in person at Marco’s Playroom, the local gay bar. (The cool doorman, Gus, lets him in as long as he promises not to drink alcohol.) When Lenny dresses in costume, he calls it “dressing to express”.
*Two (of the three) most badass high school seniors in a small gang of bullies sneak into Marco’s Playroom and discover “Zip-Lip” Lenny sitting at the bar, flaunting a costume creation—a flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow getup. They snap a photo and issue a threat: DO NOT ATTEND HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, or else…
*Having lost hope, the next morning at the senior class beach cleanup, Lenny rushes into the ocean, intending to never come out—but he changes his mind. Too bad Lenny is caught in a riptide and can’t get back to shore!
*Bully number three—the worst one of all—Kyle Larson goes for a swim to avoid cleaning the beach and comes upon Lenny, drowning in the waves. He decides he is going to save Lenny or die trying (very uncharacteristic of him) and promises he’ll be Lenny’s Dead Sea and refuses to let him sink.
*Saving Lenny profoundly changes Kyle’s character.
*Being saved by Kyle profoundly changes Lenny’s character.
*The two boys fall in love, but the bullies’ threats don’t go away.
*Kyle opens his heart to Lenny; Lenny’s lies of omission threaten to tear them apart.
YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, HUH?
Dead Sea has had COUNTLESS concept editors, sensitivity readers, first ten-page manuscript critiques by agents, beta readers…
The time finally came to make my move—and I made it!!!!!
I wonder what publishing home Dead Sea will find.
Or is self-publishing a feasible possibility for YA?
Any thoughts, my friends?