Monday, March 11, 2013

Writing on Proposal

I am an organic writer. On writing loops, some call it being a "panster." This means while I have a basic outline for my book (in my mind), sketches of my characters (on paper), and some idea about the beginning and end, most of the text between the first chapter and the last are formed as I write.

This means I do a lot of revising, rewriting, and layering.

I was given the opportunity to submit books to Harlequin Romantic Suspense on proposal. That is, I don't need to submit the full manuscript, synopsis, and query. I provide the first 50 pages and synopsis and HRS may purchase the book based on that.

On the plus side, if the book isn't what they are looking for, I haven't spent the time writing 70,000 words. If the editor asks for revisions to the plot, I have a chance to write the story closer to what they'd like the first time and not rewrite it. In the long run, this should save me time.

Writing on proposal was a challenge. I wrote the first hundred pages (that was how much of the story poured out before I was able to get a strong idea of the characters) and then I outlined in detail the remaining story. Using this method, I identified plot holes before writing. In the past, plot holes would need to be filled by making extensive edits. Time saver.

On the minus side, part of creating the story as I write makes the plot interesting to me. The parts flow logically and what drives the words is my curiosity about what will happen next to the characters. With my current work-in-progress, I know.

I plan to have the first 50 pages and synopsis polished and ready to submit in a few weeks. I haven't decided if I should keep writing this book or wait to get editorial feedback. If I wait to get feedback, I can start the next book - again on proposal.

Switching between books might be difficult. I don't want to get out of the flow of one book while working on another.

Can you work on multiple manuscripts at one time? Do you have any tips for organizing plots, characters, and details?

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Writer Friend

I have an amazing friend who is also a writer. As yet unpublished, I suspect from the quality of her work and the feedback she's received from editors and agents that it's a temporary situation.

One of the things that makes her so amazing is that in spite of life's occasional medical problems, day job work concerns, and here-and-there family hiccups, she still writes. And she still writes great books. She writes in the car, she writes in a notebook, she writes, writes, writes.

I won't out her identity on this blog. I have a feeling she would be embarrassed by all this praise, but she's absolutely a wonderful person to have in my life.

What spurred this post? After all, I've known this person for many years.

This week, after several back-and-forths with a publishing company over several months, she was given a rather... unprofessional... response from them. Details not important, her reaction was to say that the back-and-forth made the manuscript better and she planned to move on with her submissions.

That's another reason I know she'll be published soon. She doesn't give up. She works hard. She's the consummate professional.

I'll post details here when her book is released so you'll know where to purchase it!