Okay, sucks is a harsh word, but my process is not efficient. And as a mom who works (full time for two more weeks, then part time, yes!) outside of the house, I think I need to work on being more efficient.
You see, right now I’m averaging about 3-4 REWRITES before I get to a story that has the needed sustainable conflict. Rewriting a story 3-4 times is a big time drain. And, I don’t think it’s necessary.
So, I’m trying something new. Instead of just jumping into a story with a loose, tentative outline, I need to do more thinking.
Which includes something I never thought I’d do. Writing the synopsis before writing anything else. I have always rejected this idea in the past because I like discovering what’s going to happen as I go (with that tentative outline easily changed). But, considering one of my weaknesses seems to be sustainable, two-sided conflict, I don’t think the “discovery” draft is working for me. It’s more wasting my time. I’m writing a lovely little story of two characters falling in love, and missing the most important piece: conflict, thus leaving most of my writing unusable.
By focusing on the synopsis first, I can better identify and evaluate the conflict. If my hero gets into too-perfect range, I can sit there and ask myself… what does he need. What is he missing? What drives him? Without having to flush away 30,000+ words.
Does that mean I won’t have to rewrite? No, of course not. Sometimes you have to write and throw away things just to get whatever stays right, and that’s okay. But maybe not two whole books before I get it right.
Also, since I need to focus on improving my synopsis skills, it gives me much needed practice. I’ll likely have to rewrite the synopsis a few times as I go a long, which might improve the overall end result.
Over the weekend I wrote a synopsis for a previously form rejected story. I really think this is a good romance with a strong hook, but it definitely needed some changes and some work on clarifying and strengthening the conflict on the hero’s part. By writing the synopsis, I feel much better about that conflict and the rewriting. And it’ll hopefully be ready to submit by end of March/beginning of April.
With any process, you have to try it out a few times to see if it works for you or what tweaks you need to make, but right now I’m feeling pretty positive about this new way of doing things.