I won’t lie. I haven’t given as much attention to my book proposal for my English class as I wish I did. In fact, I haven’t given much attention to that class at all, but that’s for a number of different reasons.
When I go to work on my book proposal, I try to put myself in the same atmosphere as when I write my novel. Dimmed lighting, fantasy music, and a nice, hot cup of tea gets me in the right mood to write, and it has been helpful with my book proposal.
However, it doesn’t make writing the proposal any easier. It’s so hard to try and figure out the right combination of what’s important, what’s interesting, and what’s essential for an editor/publisher/agent to know.
As the writer, everything in the book to me is important. Of course, the cat on page three is important! It purrs!
When I wrote my first draft, I focused a lot on my male characters, because they play a big role in the book. However, they are not the main character. My protagonist, Faye, is. That’s why she’s the protagonist.
My professor explained it well, I think. He said I’m essentially burying this feminist fantasy story under all these male characters and perspectives. It’s so true! I was focusing on the wrong part entirely. I think I was so focused on getting all the characters on the page that I didn’t think about the most important character of all.
With my first draft, I was able to get a much clearer image of what my book is truly about and who the story is truly following. I think this is particularly important because when I advertise it as such in my proposal, and if I get accepted, when it comes to the editing process, my editor will be able to help me make sure that message gets through.
Along with that, though, my first draft also taught me that this is my book. Whenever someone edits my work, the edits are suggestions to make me a better writer, but that doesn’t mean they have a better say over my work. It’s my work.
There is a difference between critique and opinion, and it’s all in how it’s said or worded. I think it’s important for every writer to remember that when recieveing edits and critique, opinions may slip through. Obviously, it’s important to take what is said into consideration, but at the end of the day, you know what is best for your novel.
You get the final say, so if you believe something should stay a certain way, because you are sure if it’s changed it’ll ruin the book, then don’t change it. The author gets the final word in, because it’s the author who writes the book. Just understand that you may have to defend your decision, but that’s okay! Most likely, you’ll be able to defend it no problem, because you are adamant that a certain change should not be made.
The next draft of my proposal will be given back to me soon. We’ll see how much I need to rewrite this time.