Monday, March 12, 2012

Writing Help - Writing to Proposal

Today I'm thinking about the realities of writing to proposal. For those who have never heard the term, it's when a publisher trusts your ability to write well enough that you don't have to write the book first. Instead, you turn in a proposal---usually consisting of a synopsis and a few chapters. Based on the strength of that, along with previous books they already like, they offer a deal.

This is all a wonderful part of the writing experience. Of course, there are times when it comes crashing head-on like a train in a dark tunnel. Cie and I proposed a new series, an urban fantasy totally unlike our previous worlds. The editor jumped on the idea and poof! We were under contract for the first three books of the Blood Singer series. Like most contracts, the books deadlines are evenly spaced over a year or so. But what happens when the first one (remember it wasn't written when we started) fights you? Such was the case with BLOOD SONG, the first book in the world. We wound up requesting a month extension to finish.

Now, a month, in the scheme of publishing timelines, really isn't all that big a deal. There's "padding" put in the schedule for just such things, from uncooperative muses, to cover artists who likewise juggle multiple projects, to illness of a copy editor or such. But it tends to make everything a little . . . cramped if more than one thing adds to the delay. Soon you have to make choices: do we skip a copy edit and move from style edits to galleys? Do we skip galleys altogether and hope for the best? Do we risk not having ARCs for early reviews?

But then we were faced with the situation where the delays of book one put book TWO behind---having the muse similarly be uncooperative at the same time that other delays were going on as well. But book THREE of that same series was due December 1st, which came faster than you might think, and with the delays of the first two, my esteemed co-author elected to hold her hand out of the wrestling ring. I slapped it like a good partner, and prepared to enter the fray. Instead of Cie being the lead on books one through three with me taking over four through six, she did one and two (Blood Song and Siren Song,) I took over the third and fourth (Demon Song and Isis Collar), and Cie took over five and six (Eldritch Conspiracy and one yet to be named), which put some other projects I'd been planning on hold for a bit. Then everyone took a deep breath with me as all schedules were thrown up in the air like confetti! Woo!

The question is--how do YOU keep up your strength when your schedule becomes confetti because of unexpected (no matter how much fun they are) events? I lean toward a BUNCH of extra walking to keep up my immune system, Emergen-C fizzy drinks every three days--which is far better than daily vitamins, IMO, Nutrajoint every day, and DanActive every other day (yeah, most say every day on the labels, but too many "supplements" have the same ingredients. Never good to overload the system, y'know.)

Oh, and chocolate. Never forget the chocolate! :D

How about you?

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