Writer vs. Outline/Synopsis

Every conference, there is always one editor who advocates writing an outline or a synopsis. One editor almost convinced me, too. But my own mind prevailed and I have gotten away with writing manuscripts without such confinement.

Until today.

An upcoming conference deadline put coals under my feet. I am scheduled to meet a pretty awesome agent there, and our first ten pages plus a synopsis is due by THIS THURSDAY! My problem is that I only have twelve chapters written. Even though I know how the story will end, I had no real idea of how it would get there.

Now I do.

Thanks to the required synopsis that must accompany my ten-page submission, I had to make some decisions and make them quick. What emerged was a strong climax and much stronger ending than what I had originally created. A lip quiver and a tear followed my last sentence so it must be good!  😉

Although my manuscript is not yet finished, my hope is to get professional feedback on its beginning and a possible invitation for the full manuscript once it’s done.

My fingers are crossed.

Now, I am a full believer in writing a synopsis even before I start writing a manuscript. Meanwhile, the outline can still suck it. 😉

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Writing With Attention Deficit Disorder

I read today that the real-life Bella is cheating on the real-life Edward with the real-life director of SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN. Ouch for poor Cedric Diggory whose heart was mutilated more by Bella than it ever was by He Who Shall Not Be Named.

And this is what distracted me today while I sat in Barnes & Noble for a cool two hours trying to tap words into my iPad.

I am always impressed by those who can sit for hours and days on end, finishing their novel in a matter of months. My goal is to finish MOONSAULT by the end of 2012. I am only 11 chapters in. My trouble is not my drive nor my passion; I have both by the truckload. It is my battle with Attention Deficit Disorder and my attempt to handle it without medication.

Most days are a success. I sit wherever the vibe is right and I tap, tap, tap away, until my brain reaches a lethargic, fuzzy place. And since I edit as I type, I tend to squeak out only one chapter at a time, never moving from a sentence or a paragraph until the flow feels right.

But today, I struggled. From the love woes of Robert Pattison to the small audio vibrations of those around me (ie. pencils rubbing paper, fingers on keyboards, pages being turned, etc.), I simply could not find my stride. Even now, I have chosen to write this blog because I cannot focus enough on the manuscript I am so eager to complete.

I can best describe the struggle like this–I literally see a million butterflies fluttering around my head. I see them all clearly. But they are all fluttering so fast, I cannot catch any one of them, even though I have a large, tightly woven net and an extra long handle. It feels impossible.

But it’s just today. Experience has shown me that sometimes my mind will slow down enough to let me write. Until then, maybe I should consider the meds my awesome NYC therapist had put me on. I only stopped taking them because my brain started depending on them more and more, and I was uncomfortable with that. But perhaps its worth it?

Either way, Robert Pattison is so much better without her.

My Picture Book, My Problem

Like millions of others, I wrote a picture book. Also like millions of others, it was about Christmas. The difference is, my picture book about Christmas has caught the attention of a handful of agents and editors. My roadblock, however, is that I have never been published before and they always say–“We do not publish Christmas books by new authors.”

Grrrr….

So what’s a new author to do? The manuscript has been praised by notable Scholastic editors who have asked to see more of my work, but… I do not have another perfectly polished picture book manuscript to send them. I am so divided between jotting down new pb’s and completing my YA novel by the end of 2012, that I am spread fairly thin.

Furthermore, while I understand the logic behind not publishing holiday books by new authors (marketing dollars and all), I can’t help but wish more publishing houses would take a chance.

So what’s an unpublished author to do? Actually consider self-publishing? Or place the PB on the shelf until my YA novel is complete and published, then try the Christmas PB again?

Has anyone else hit this roadblock? And if so, were you able to find a satisfying resolution?

My blog is new and will go unread for a good long while, but still… maybe someday someone will stumble upon my dilemma and have some thoughts to share. Even better, I may stumble upon a satisfying resolution someday and share my thoughts with another writer who is going through the same dilemma.

Either way, big hugs to you all. And happy writing!