Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Proposal Every Novelist Wants to Write, But Can’t

Being in the midst of conference crush means my life is occupied by one thing: Proposals. Updating old proposals. Creating new proposals. Editing bad proposals. Trashing the proposal I just edited. My life has been completely consumed by those dozen pages in which I’m supposed to sum up the plot, characters, theme, competition, marketing plan, and my qualifications for writing a 300-page book. I even woke up this morning composing a proposal for the dream I just had!

Frustrated with this bane of all writers, I decided throw out every rule I’ve ever heard, skip over all the platitudes intended to pacify an editor, and say what I really mean:

A Novel Proposal by Chawna Schroeder

Title of Novel: Mark of the Vine or The Dueling Sisters or whatever great title I decide to give it on any particular day—and don’t you dare try to change it.

Target Readers: Everyone with enough brains to like my book.

Genre: A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Length: It’ll have however many words it takes to tell the story.

Completion Time: It gets done when it gets done.

Tagline: A girl does something, her antagonistic sister makes it worse, and the girl gets into serious trouble.

Summary: Cora has a quiet life, but she wants more. Her obnoxious sister gets her into trouble so that she has to do the unthinkable. That gets Cora into deeper and deeper trouble until she is faced with an impossible decision.

Spiritual Takeaway: Something about reaping what you sow. Or the need to take responsibility for your actions. Or maybe both.

Market Comparison: My book is one-of-a-kind; there is nothing else out there quite like it. Why else would I have written it? So here’s my story. Take it or leave it. And you had better take it.

Marketing Plan: I like my book. I want it to sell well. I’ll brainstorm some ideas to promote it—which won’t take much because everyone will love it—when you decide to buy it.

About the Author: I am a writer. I like to write and I have studied writing many years. Don’t have much else to say. This is who I am. If you don’t like it, take it up with God. He created me.

Synopsis:

Cora and her sister fight. Cora gets into trouble and runs.

She enters a competition in disguise. Many bad things happen. Clerical errors. Lost luggage. A saboteur.

Cora makes it the final round. So does her sister. Her sister threatens to tattle. Cora withdraws. Then she doesn’t. And she wins and gets everything including the boy. Her sister goes away mad with nothing.

Character Synopses:

Cora is the good guy.
Johari is the bad-guy sister.
Brauni is a saboteur.
Philip is the boy Cora likes.
Ellie, Trex, and Mai are her friends.
Counselor Levine doesn’t know what to think.


Writing a proposal is so much simpler this way. It’s concise and says everything I want it to say. Too bad an editor won’t agree. So I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me.

6 comments:

Michelle said...

LOL! Thanks. That was fun!

CHickey said...

Great fun. Thanks!

Mary Connealy said...

Funny Chawna. I wish you the best of luck with your pitches. LOL

Dawn said...

This was delightful to read after a stressful day at my "other" job, wishing I could be home working on my pitches and proposals for conference. Thanks,Chawna, for giving me a lift. :)

Mishael Austin said...

I especially like the line: Counselor Levine doesn't know what to think. :-)
Good luck writing your "real" proposals.
I agree. Writing these things can be a drag - especially when you realize that people like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie can get published just on name recognition alone.
Why, even Paris Hilton's dog, Tinkerbell, has gotten a book published! What chance do we human writers have, if the bookstores are filled with celebrities' dogs' books???? ;-)

Sharon Hinck said...

"Spiritual Takeaway: Something about reaping what you sow. Or the need to take responsibility for your actions. Or maybe both."

Hooting and rolling on the floor laughing. Oh, Chawna, this was great.

By the way, I've tagged you with a "nice" award. See my blog for details. :-)