Switching Gears

I’ve given up on Nano. No, I’m not a quitter, but I have more important and pressing things to worry about.

I’m still working on my proposals. Yes (stop laughing), STILL. I’m not slow – exactly – just neurotic in a whole bunch of ways. Let me explain the nightmare that has become my writing world…

I’ve never started a book and not finished it. Never. Not one. Until August 2006. Since August I’ve started four. Two I was lukewarm about. I think I’ll write them down the line, just not now. Now’s not the time, and I’m okay with that. The other two are the two proposals I’m working on now. I will finish these books no matter what because I’m totally in love with the concepts and characters. I just don’t know when, exactly.

I started with proposal 1, wrote three chapters, edited and tweaked. And just as I was finished writing those chapters, the idea for the second proposal hit me smack in the forehead. I decided to start in on those chapters right away and skip the synopsis for proposal 1 for the time being so I didn’t lose my momentum. It worked. I cranked out the chapters for proposal 2, and I love them. I’m super excited to write this book. Since I was already in the mindset of proposal 2 at that point, I decided to jump right to the synopsis for that book so I could stay deep in my characters. Guess what? That worked too, and I – former I-don’t-think-I-can-write-a-five-page-synopsis-before-the-book-is-finished – cranked out a fourteen page synopsis that isn’t half bad. (A hurricane forced wind couldn’t have knocked me on my ass faster, let me tell you.)

Now here’s the problem. Proposal 2 is finished. I should send it to my agent, right? Nope. Can’t do it. These are connected books, and I went about this backwards. She has to read proposal 1 first. Not that it makes a huge difference – they are stand alones – but proposal 2 has to be the later book (for a variety of reasons, trust me, it works better as the later one). I don’t want her reading that one first. Which means I have to finish proposal 1. Piece of cake, right? Wrooooong.


Something’s been bugging me about proposal 1. I like it – love the characters, think the plot fits them well, but there’s been something not right about it from the start that I pushed past and ignored. After brainstorming with Lisa the other night, I realized the problem was chapter two – it lacked the immediacy like I have in proposal 2. Result? Chapter two of proposal 1 has to be totally rewritten. Which means chapter three’s probably going to need to be rewritten too. Which means….I’m not anywhere close to cranking out the synopsis on proposal 1.

Confused yet? I sure the hell am. Hence, no Nano. I have enough else to do.

I’m going on a writer’s retreat this weekend at the beach. I’d hoped to move past chapter three of the first book and start whipping out pages. (40 was my goal). Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I’d be thrilled at this point to get chapters two and three revised and a good chunk of the synopsis finished. Looks like it’s going to be a loooong weekend.

So tell me (I need the distraction), how do you handle shifts in your writing plan? Are you an adapter, a go-with-the-flow type writer, or are you constantly revising your writing schedule based on what you did the day before?