Lies, all lies
The worst part of writing a proposal is that I’m sure I’m lying. I’m lying because my books never follow exactly the path I map out for them. If I already know all the twists and turns, what’s the point of writing it?
That being said, my poor editor needs something to go on. I’ll need to be in the business a lot longer before “trust me, it’ll be great” will be enough for the publisher to cut a cheque.
So, I have to apply seat to chair and type something up. Usually this means (for me—like Annette says, it’s different for each editor) a very detailed synopsis with all the internal and external plot arcs explained. It can also mean writing about the first fifty pages.
In order to do all that, I have to complete the absolute worst part of the book—the beginning. I hate, hate, hate slogging through those first few chapters. Getting them just right takes a healthy chunk of the total hours of book construction. So, by the time I’ve pulled a proposal together, I think they should absolutely buy the stupid book because I’ve already done 50% of the work of a bleepity whole novel. As you can tell, the whole process puts me in an intense mood. 👿
Part of the process involves convincing my characters to play along. It’s a tough thing, because it’s a bit like saying: “C’mon, I know that you could be revised and end up as a border collie or a talking teapot, but for now just pretend you’re a Samurai warrior transported through the centuries to wreak vengeance on a major city.” But he knows that if the proposal’s rejected, it’s back into the ether with a resounding “poof.” With a deal like that, sometimes it’s a little hard to get your hero to assume the position. They keep snarling something about contract clauses.
So that’s what I’m doing right now:
• Bullying heroes and pleading with heroines to behave.
• Bashing at a synopsis in hopes that dumping enough words on the page will make it coherent.
• Drinking way too much coffee.
• Trying to remember how good it feels once the book is underway.
And that’s true. Once I get the green light, I’m in seven kinds of heaven and it’s all worthwhile.
What nasty job do you dread–but feel great once it’s done?