Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Proposals, My Take

Like Kelly (with whom I seem lately to be having a strange parallel existence,) I've been working on proposals this week.

I've always enjoyed writing proposals, actually. I think that synopses are most difficult when you're faced with the new writers' challenge of having to distill an already written novel into something snappy and marketable to send along with that first agent/editor package. I've been very lucky in that my first agent did that for me, and I've only rarely had to try to do that condensing, painful synopses/chapter outlining thing.

I'm not at the "these are easy" stage yet, though.

Book proposals are critical to my career. Right now, those nine to twelve pages is what I sell. Again with the lucky, but again only RARELY am I required to write sample chapters. The proposal is all the editor has to judge whether or not the publisher is going to spend thousands of dollars on the next book(s).

So they have to be good.

I love the puzzle that proposals present me, though. How do I convey the whole story in a relatively short and snappy manner? How do I give the editor the impression of tone and voice without resorting to cheesy trickery? What are the emotional highlights of the book that I want to demonstrate? What's the theme (or, as Kelly and I sometimes refer to it as: "the problem statement")? What's the cleverest way I can present my character and his/her issues?

It's daunting. But, as Kelly notes, it can be one of those challenges that has its fun side.

I don't know if Kelly is done with his, but I'm still working through the last of three proposals/synopses. I have to figure out how to get the hero and heroine back together now, and what the heck my subplot is going to be... I'll probably be at this until the end of the week. Especially since I always have my partner double-check my punctuation, spelling, and... er, plot.


Anonymous said...

Am having a love-hate relationship with a query letter right now. Up next, the one page synopsis. I'd rather drive iron railroad spikes into my eyes. :/

tate hallaway said...

No kidding! Query letters are hard, too.

Eleanor said...

All writing has its own problems, and you have to learn new skills each time.