Thursday, June 28, 2012

Whatever you do, don't stop!

When I was working on my novel proposal, I nearly lost my mind. My friends didn't know who I was anymore and my family barely saw me. I was as you can say, a *mad case*. I was frantic about it and wanted to make sure it would turn out perfect and to make the editor stunned when reading it and a proposal one would never forget. In other words, I wanted this proposal to be remembered for decades and looked upon as professional, precise, and welcoming. This doesn't mean I decorated the manuscript with various font sizes and boarders. I tried to keep things tight and neatly done. My main focus and concern was to grasp the attention of the editor in the first sentence. Okay, when I first read that I raked my hand through my hair (something I do quite regularly) and sighed long and deep. How was that possible? But even more important, how could I condense my entire novel into one sentence, a sentence so dominant and captivating? That project alone proved to be more challenging than any other aspect of the proposal.

I'm the kind of writer who will write and write and then stop. I tend to not go back and read what I just wrote--that's me. I met an author at a conference and she mentioned how she reads what she wrote yesterday and then will continue to write for today and read today tomorrow. I might have lost you in that last sentence, that's okay. Don't try to understand it. Figure out what kind of writer you are and then write to that style. But back to the book proposal. I was told over and over that composing it isn't that difficult. I don't know what made mine so difficult but it was. It might have been because I pressured myself to write it in three days and then get it edited from a friend who is a writer as well. I don't know and I won't worry thinking about it. Just make sure that proposal is neat, tight, to the point, and intriguing. Editors are busy people. They have a life outside of the office and their job. Many of them have families, probably most actually. You need to respect their time as well. They'll respect you if you respect them. I know, it almost sounds unfair but this is business. You both work together, but they have the better end of the job. So, when you're composing that book proposal or perhaps a book, article, anything you write, make sure it's interesting. The editor needs to be drawn into it from the start. If that's not the case, they will seriously drop your work and move onto something else. It almost seems as if they're not giving you a chance, but they are. They took time to read it but if it didn't catch them immediately, they have no intentions of it getting better. They have busy lives too.

  • Keep it short
  • To the point
  • Neat
  • Interesting!!
Now that we got that figured out, it's time to move onto the wait. I briefly discussed this last week but I would like to dig a bit deeper. Write. Yes, that's the only answer. Keep writing. Write whatever. I don't care, just don't stop. The moment you stop I promise you things will leave your mind, you'll get out of the habit, and you'll soon realize you have let a lot of characters down. Sometimes it's hard to forgive yourself for doing that too. So the key is to keep writing. I finished my novel on a Friday. The following Monday I started another one. I gave myself two days to rest, rethink, and give my fingers a break. Writing kills time and if the book you sent to an editor doesn't turn out as expected, there's always that hope the second one will. But that's another thing--goodness, there's so much. We all know rejections will come, it's a process of life. If that rejection comes from the editor, it's normal to feel despondent and to think the whole world is falling apart. But I encourage you to work on the novel more, tweak it, squeeze it, wash it, dry it, and resell it. Everything needs work, even your writing. I know, our writing often feels like our babies, but believe me, it should be treated like a child too--needing corrections. Revise, edit, revise, edit, and then through it back out there in the publishing world. 

But whatever you do, don't stop writing. Don't stop believing! You can break into a great publishing house.