So here’s the thing. Today, I finished rewriting the book that we’ll just call Shane’s novel for the 5th or maybe the 6th time. It’s had so many titles but the one you all have heard me talk about as is War’s Darkest Fear.
But I did something different this time. I wrote the synopsis for it and sent it to my agent, who didn’t like it and subsequently passed on it. But I rewrote it anyway (another story entirely).
Essentially, it was just to see if I could. Because as I sit here and write these words, I am about to bare my writer’s soul: I don’t plot. Or at least, I didn’t. I have 11 novels under my belt (don’t laugh, no they’re not published and yes they need revisions) and I didn’t plot a single one of them. I rewrote 5 of them and if you count the multiple rewrites of Shane’s story, I’ve rewritten upwards around 12 books. Or the same book 6 times, however you choose to look at it.
But see, now that I actually have an agent who, oh I don’t know, wants to work with me on an actual writing career, I kind of have to listen to him. So after he KOd Fear (and I didn’t completely listen but that’s another story) I sent him something like 8 couple paragraph pitches for story ideas because my fab writer mommy and critique partner kicked me in the ass and said you are married to your ideas. Get over it if you want to sell and stay published.
So I sent him my ideas and waited. He came back with 2 that he thought were marketable. And he didn’t comment on the rest (let me tell you that I feel the burn for those stories he passed on. They’re in my blood but maybe, just maybe, I’ll listen to the guy who knows the market, right?). But he picked up on one of the books that I hadn’t written. I’d bounced the idea around in my head a few weeks ago when I should have been writing and jotted down a synopsis.
It was an ugly synopsis but I sent it off to my CP to see what she thought (I’ve completely stolen her synopsis formats, by the way. I heart her). She came back with thoughts which I absorbed. Then I started emailing back and forth with my agent about the idea (we might have had a phone conversation, I honestly can’t remember). So I found a way into the story and I (brace yourself) wrote the synopsis.
Now this is the girl who doesn’t plot, right? I usually start a book with a scene that jumps out at me but by the time I get into rewrites, that opening scene doesn’t stay. And that’s okay.
But for me to plot out an entire book in a synopsis? Unheard of. I tried it once before and I never wrote the book. But I wrote it, sent it to CPs who pointed out issues, fixed and sent to agent. And waited. Not long, mind you. My agent is fast, so I’m a happy girl. I get the call Monday for a file I sent him on Friday.
The first thing he said was, I don’t normally read a 13 page synopsis (what I sent him). And my heart sank a little. I figured this was it, he doesn’t like the fiction ideas, I’m agentless again. But then he says, you really had me on the edge of my seat. You essentially wrote a short story outlining what happens. Most synopses are outlines or are too bogged down in detail but they way you wrote it, you had me hooked.
So I’m like sitting in my driver’s seat (I’d pulled over) doing a little happy dance that he liked it. Really liked it. And basically, he told me to get to work, he wanted a draft in about 2 or 3 months (thank God I can actually write fast but we’ll see how this goes).
So I’m sitting here tonight, getting ready to open up a new Scrivener file for this new project. And it’s not a rewrite. It’s not characters that I’ve already taken through two or three drafts and know so well they’re practically real for me. I’m looking at the blank page and I already know what happens in my story. Rewriting Shane’s story over the last couple weeks was really, really easy for me because I’d plotted that sucker out. Now, this doesn’t mean that my draft is ready to go on to the editor who wants to see it. It needs revisions (and that doesn’t mean checking for commas) but for once, I honestly think I’ve got a draft that doesn’t require major rewrites.
But I’m staring at this open Scrivener project and I’m at a loss. I’ve got the story in my head. I’ve got the characters. But for me, this is uncharted territory. I’ve completely reversed my process. I write the book, figure out the story, then write the book again. And again. And possibly again. But this time, I’ve figured out the story (I think).
Now, I just have to write the book.