Thought I’d take you all on a little journey with me. Next week my proposal is due for my new book. So the idea is to let you see how it all goes.
This week I want to talk about the preparation, i.e. the proposal.
In the past, my proposals have consisted of the first twenty or thirty pages of the book and a page or two of an incredibly generic synopsis. That gave me a lot of room to work. I’ve said it before, I’m the kind of author who enjoys writing without a net (read outline.) I love how stories organically come together. I like being surprised and entertained.
But this time is different. In the past, the books I was proposing were further episodes of my Jonathan Quinn series. My next book, though, is a stand alone.
(Now before any of you who enjoy the series get worried that there won’t be any more Quinn books, fear not. The fourth in the series is actually already written and done. And, if I may say so, is my favorite Quinn book so far. But first we’re going to bring out a stand alone, so THE SILENCED – tentative title – will be out after that.)
So while I am still providing the first twenty to thirty pages as part of the proposal, I realized my outline/synopsis can’t just be a page or two. In fact, I’ve decided to make it more detailed than I ever have in the past. The hope is, based on what I’ve heard from others, that this will help me stay on track and write faster. I sure hope so. But I’ve got to say writing the synopsis is excruciating.
In the time I can usually write five to six pages of prose, I’m lucky to get a page or a page and a half of an outline. I also find myself getting up from my chair more often, watching episode of DEXTER season 3 or going for a walk or playing Mindsweeper on my iPhone. Anything to avoid the pain of actually thinking out the details of the story.
But all that said, I can see how this actually is going to help me focus more when I get down to writing the book. I’m excited about it (again, not about writing the synopsis – something I’m avoiding at this very second – but in how it will help me), and am anxious to put it to the test.
If this works, I may be a reluctant convert. I know Rob blogged about a similar thing several weeks ago. (I don’t know for sure, but from what I understand the outline for his next one is in the dozens and dozens of pages…mine is not. I’m not THAT crazy.)
I’m also doing something else with this proposal. Something neither my editor nor my agent is expecting. But that I’m going to have to save until next time, so I don’t blow the surprise in case one of them reads this. I’ll let you know in part 2, as by then they’ll have proposal in hand. Hopefully I’ll even be able to tell you how it was received.
Question time (and no, I’m not going to ask the Outline vs. No Outline question as we’ve argued that more than enough): I know some readers like series and some don’t…for those of you who do like series, does it bother you when the author writes a stand alone? Do you read it? For those of you who prefer stand alones, why do you think you avoid series?
Look forward to reading your answers!