I've just started working on the first pass of edits for Escape Velocity, which is obviously very exciting. I've got an awesome editor, and I'm looking forward to getting this book into shape and out in the world.
Of course, starting with a new publishing house brings new experiences, and I've been learning a lot in the past few weeks. And one of those things is something I've been resisting for a long time.
If you've read this blog long enough, then you know I've always been a pantser (I "write by the seat of my pants" with no plot or plan, I just sit down and see what comes out.) However, I do have to admit that in the past few years, I have blended my pantsing with a bit of planning -- not the entire storyline, but usually I'll write down some major scenes or conflicts, and as I'm going along, I'll often map out 2 or 3 chapters or scenes ahead of myself, to help keep an ultimate direction in mind.
And this is where growing up as an author comes into things. I have never, ever written any kind of synopsis or proposal before beginning a book. However, going forward as a published author with both Entangled and a New York publisher when my agent gets me a contract for my romantic suspense, working this way is no longer sustainable.
Once contracted, there is obviously no point spending weeks or months writing a book that will ultimately get rejected by your publisher because it has major plot holes or character flaws. This is where the synopsis comes in. Providing an outline of the projected story can give your editors insight as to whether you're on the right track. But there's no need to panic if you start writing and your story veers off in a different direction to the one you proposed -- from my understanding, this happens quite often to authors. As long as the final product you turn in is still a tight story that sticks to the basics of what you first envisaged, then its not too much of a problem.
However, this process still intimidates me! Sometimes I still start a book simply because the opening scene has come to me, and the characters are telling me how their story starts. Following this is often a massive black hole, so forcing the characters to reveal enough for an entire synopsis or proposal pretty much scares the bejebees out of me!
Yet obviously this is something I'm going to have to come to terms with, and something I will have to get used to doing with regular occurrence, especially if I want to have a long successful career like I plan.