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?


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