So here’s an interesting (?) factoid. WILD originally had an OUTBREAK/CONTAGION storyline in it. I thought it made the book high concept. My agent thought it didn’t work. (He was very apologetic about telling me I probably ought to cut a third of the book.)
I was bummed, but I didn’t fight it. My agent is incredibly encouraging when he likes something, and incredibly honest when he doesn’t. When we were talking before I signed with him, he’d have the most reason in the world to be nice to me. But he was still honest enough to say that one of the two manuscripts I had just didn’t do it for him. So I know I can trust him, even when he’s asking me to change something HUGE.
Back to the manuscript, then. I started cutting out the CONTAGION storyline and… it was so easy. It wasn’t surgery at all. It was clipping toenails. The interesting thing is, that was the part that I thought would make the book really marketable was the part that didn’t work. Too much considering business makes for bad art decisions, it turns out.