Building an Inventory, One Word at a Time

Now that the shakeup I experienced with my proposals has been dealt with (too complicated to fully explain; let's just say that a decision at Dafina made me reconsider the proposal I had planned in favor of another one that wasn't even complete, much less Ready for Prime Time), I am turning my attention to the synopses I started last year but didn't finish. Not because I've got the attention span of a 3-year-old, but because I got stuck.

I've started four projects in the last six months. One of them now has a completed synopsis (I wrote it as soon as I knew where the story would go, with the story itself about two-thirds written). Another I just started last month, after being unable to stop thinking about an article I read on-line about a real-life incident in Pennsylvania. Considering the relatively short time I've been working on it, I've made damn good progress.

As for the other two . . . well, they're languishing. I've got great premises for each, but a premise alone will not sell a story. The enthusiasm and excitement apparent in the beginning has to carry through to the very end.

Now, I know enough about myself to know that inspiration strikes when it's good and ready and not a moment before, but this weekend I'll be concentrating on trying to speed it up a bit. An unfinished synopsis is pretty worthless, since it can't be sold unless it's complete. Besides, two of these have been laying around long enough to sprout a family of dust mites. It's time to cross that finish line.

If you're a writer (published or unpublished), how many WIPs, either entire manuscripts or simply synopses, have you started but not finished?


Chelle Sandell said...

I got the first ms I'm rewriting with editor suggestions but I've got 3 others I've played with a little.

Patricia W. said...

Well, you know my story. Like most unpublished folks, I've got a bunch of stories that I started but never completed. Have one full first draft but I've put that aside for now. I'm starting a new story using a different process. Writing synopsis first. Then, going to revise as I go rather than fast draft to the end only to become overwhelmed by the idea of revising an entire manuscript.

Patricia W. said...

Love the picture by the way. From your recent vacation?

Gwyneth Bolton said...

I have about three started projects at various stages. One has the synopsis and about six chapters and another about four chapters and no synopsis and the other three chapters and a synopsis. I'm trying to decide where I want to place them and where I want to go with them.

Great post, I hope your proposals end up in the right hands and you end up with a nice fat contract for your trouble. :-)


bettye griffin said...

Chelle, Patricia, and Gwyneth,
Thanks for making me feel less alone for having three incomplete synopses. There are more stories I want to structure, but I don't want to end up with a bunch of story outlines I can't finish.

The synopsis with the two-thirds-complete manuscript was the first time since early in my career that I just started typing out the story first and then worked on the synopsis. That's definitely the long way around, but in the case of that particular story, it was the right thing for me to do, since I had no idea where I was going with it!

Patricia, glad you like the picture. That photo was actually taken on my second vacation of 2007, when I went to Colorado in late September. My brother is in the photo with me, and his glasses protruded onto the left side of my face, which I why I look a little cut off. But I haven't changed any between then and when I saw you in December in Florida!

Anonymous said...

I'm not the kind of writer bursting with lots of hot
book ideas. If I'm lucky I get about 1 or 2 good ideas
per year. Ideas that I believe can carry a whole book
AND sustain my interest for the long haul. That's very
important. I'm lousy at synopses so I tend to write
most of the first draft of the book before attempting
one. I'm talking about a very rough version so I tend
to finish most projects I start.

bettye griffin said...

Would you believe my idea file has about two dozen subjects? Every once in a while there's a burst of inspiration when I can't take a walk around the block without thinking of a book idea.

I should live so long to see all these ideas come to fruition. Maybe I should bequeath them in my will?

Thanks for posting!

Shelia said...

Bettye, good question. I usually write the story and then go back and write the synopsis; however in the last year or so, I started writing the synopsis first. I find that some things still change though when I write the story, but it does help having the synopsis first. To answer your question, I probably have about 3 or 4 proposals ready to go and a few synopsis that I need to work on and expand to get them ready. I just hate having all these synopsis and no completed to do "writing" list keeps getting longer and longer.

Anonymous said...

If you go first leave that file to me! ;-)