Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Westward Ho!

It's done. Well, almost. My proposal submission for The Shadow Catcher's Daughter, my southwestern novel, is on its way to the acquisitions editor. Hopefully, she'll like what she sees! 

I spent almost a week straight, very long days, getting my first three chapters, long chapter-by-chapter synopsis (7 pages), and author bio completed. And now I'm utterly exhausted!  One of my partners suggested I reward myself.  I was able to go down for a visit to my parents with my son, Brandon.  Although my Stepdad was very ill, it was good to be there to offer some encouragement.  We got sandwiches at the best deli in Maine -The Good Life Market, went out for an ice cream at The Mosquitoe (I got Moose Tracks), and Brandon and I took a little swim in the lake at sundown.

My parents were thrilled that I brought my proposal with me so they could read the finished version of it.  My "Dad" is my advisor on life in the west, and as often as time allows, Mom is my copy editor. She's had that role my entire life. It's so funny, my husband and sons are reading my synopsis, too! They are all so excited for me, and that in and of itself is priceless.

Writing the synopsis was such a good experience for this Pantser; though I was bewildered by the thought at first - how could I summarize a story that I hadn't even written yet? Now that I have it all down (not that I didn't have the big picture in mind all along) I can flesh the story out. I feel more confident about my ideas, where before I had so many questions and not certain I was taking the correct route - a two fold issue for me since the plot features an expedition.  I always enjoy books where the characters travel, but I never realized how difficult it would be to get it right - the synopsis works like a map.

Now I'm on a schedule to get my manuscript completed by September 15th, at a rate of about 5,000 words per week. Two chapters a week should do it. I already have a good chunk of it done anyway. I can't tell you how supportive my partners/writing mentors are. I'm very excited about the project, it has such a fascinating setting. And I hope the editor agrees. 

Thank you all so very much for your encouragement and prayers!!

Have you ever written a chapter-by-chapter synopsis? Do you usually write a general synopsis or an outline before you begin to writer?Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?


  1. Praying all with go well and according to His timing. Hugs :O)

  2. I'm so excited for you, Carla!!! And I am praying for you too!

  3. I've only written a synopsis once before I finished a wip. I really needed to see that there was an actual story there somewhere before I finished it. LOL
    Good luck submitting!

  4. I'm a plotter. With my WIP, I pretty much wrote out a very long synopsis before I even started. It changed a lot as I got to know the characters and got into the plot. But I don't look forward to writing that long of a synopsis to submit.

    I'm sure I'll be glad to do it, if someone is interested enough to ask.

    Congratulations on submitting!

  5. Bravo, Carla! Praying the editor will excited about your proposal.

    Susan :)

  6. Congrats!

    I've only done one manuscript thus far and yowza, what an all-over-the-place learning experience it was. I wrote an outline which at the beginning I thought was detailed, but over the 5-6 years it took me to finish the book, I learned it wasn't anywhere near as detailed or useful as I thought.

    I had synopsis writing or anything remotely related to marketing. But I have made the decision to do the tedious synopsis FIRST before I write the manuscript on my second book. I think it will end up shaving quite a bit of time off the process.

  7. Sorry, meant to say I HATE synopsis writing, not had. 8-(

  8. This is an exciting place to be at! Happy for you!
    I wrote a chapter by chapter synopsis once after finishing the book. I hate doing them and prefer to submit where it is a two-paged one instead.

  9. Praying for your continued success in your journey.
    In the Apprentice Course of Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers Guild, several of the assignments have encouraged outlining articles, doing a character analysis, etc. Previously I had thought that this was time-consuming, but now realize that is an excellent way to really "flesh out" the characters and plots, whatever the length of the project. Before, I had just tried to sit down and write whatever came to mind. (The pieces generally read like that's what I was doing!)

  10. Praying for you with everything going on. Hope you're enjoying Hind's Feet and its a nice break from the busyness.

  11. Congratulations on getting it finished, Carla. I pray it turns out to be a successful endeavour!

    I did a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of my first novel, after the first draft was completed, mostly to figure out if the story's plot points were credibly located. It was a seat of the pants story, now collecting dust in the closet. Subsequent novels had what I call basic planning before I jumped into them -- not plotting, but not pantsing either. I do a timeline/style sheet as I go to keep track of necessary details. For me, doing a detailed synopsis first is laborious, and I wouldn't likely follow it anyway (unless it was something an editor wanted, of course).


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  13. You guys are awesome! Thanks for your enthusiasm and your prayers!

    It's great hearing about your experiences with plotting and synopsis writing. I think I can relate to most of you, it's such a trial and error process. I hope I'll settle into a system, maybe not these chapter-by-chapters, but a short synopsis won't hurt!


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