Normally I would complain about a rainy weekend, but with water rationing being mentioned in the papers so often, I’m not complaining. In fact, I say, bring it on! More rain, weather gods. More rain. So, uh, yeah. It’s been raining a lot.
I’ve been working on proposal chapters for books to follow My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire. It’s hard work, but my agent and I have agreed that I am simply not a synopsis writer. I still have to do a really short one, but here’s pretty much what happens to me when I try to write a synopsis for a book I haven’t written:
I am totally at sea, with no idea whatever what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen because I don’t know the characters because I haven’t written them yet. I make up some total BS that lacks any real conflict and is just lame. Plus out of order. As I explained to my agent, it’s like asking me to draw a picture of someone I’ve never seen. Result: total suckage.
I can write a synopsis for a book I’ve written. It’s no fun, but I can do it.
So, here’s what happened when I started writing proposal chapters:
My heroine turned out to be something completely different from what I had imagined. Her situation wasn’t at all what I thought. I guess I need to be specific. In the synopsis, she is a graphic artist who is completely human. Her only magic is latent. My vague idea was that through her interaction with the hero, her magic would become patent. The hero was going to meet her through some witch friends of hers but he wouldn’t like her because he’s a classical music kind of guy and she’s alternative rock. But something would happen to make his magic set off hers, and stuff would start to happen.
In the first paragraph of my chapter, she’s sitting at her kitchen table convinced she’s going insane. me: really? That’s very interesting. I wonder why? She’s having hallucinations. Me: Oh. What kind? Hallucinations about turning into some kind of creature. Me: Yeah, and she could be also have some of the mental powers that demons have.
In the second paragraph, this gets fleshed out and then guess what! She’s worried about how her parents will be affected when the SFPD calls to tell her that their daughter has died. Because, it turns out, she has three siblings who died at the age of 25. Me: Really? That’s very interesting, too. Obviously, she thinks she’s going to die just like they did..
In chapter 2, my hero is hanging around outside because me: Why? Because he’s an assassin and he’s supposed to kill the demon (that would be my heroine, though he doesn’t know it yet) he’s tracked to this apartment building. Me: Ok, what else? The mage Christophe shows up. Me: ohmygod, there’s the conflict for the whole dang book! Christophe has a deal with Nikodemus — I’ll work out the actual specifics but basically, that’s the plot thread that will move things foward.
Then at little later, my heroine says this to my hero; "I’m like you" Me: Oh! Oh! That means more than what it seems like. It means she’s an assassin like the hero and he’s going to have to teach her to be one too! There’s the basic conflict for the hero/heroine!
So there you have it. I could write synopses until I’m blue in the face, and I will never ever ever come up with what the book is about until I start writing. My heroine is still a graphic artist, and the hero is still a classical music kind of guy, and yes, her magic will be sparked off my his, but not in the lame boring way that was in the synopsis.
That’s just how it works for me. There will be many more discoveries and revisions and these may disappear or take a back seat, but it’s a place to start whereas my synopsis was not.