Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do You Have A Plan B?

For most writers, I seriously doubt they have a Plan B in terms of their manuscripts and their careers. For the longest time, as they are working on that manuscript, they start formulating exactly where that story will go. They know which editor will look at it and how much they will get for it.

In most cases, this is simply a fantasy world the writer is living in. Now, don't get me wrong. I have no problem with having those dreams. Heck, some of those dreams do come true. But if they don't do you have a back up plan.

One of the things I focus on with each of my writers is always having a back up plan and several approaches they can take with their story. You all know how I have always said that a single story doesn't fit at all houses. Well, this is where that Plan B comes into play.

Your first task: Think of how you can adapt your story to fit at multiple houses and agencies.

Now, this Plan B thing works with pitches as well. There will be times when an editor or an agent listening to a pitch might not find that story you have to be exactly what they are looking for. This is when you need to have a Plan B in your pocket. If you have done your research, you will know the things this person is looking for and might have what they need in another manuscript. Please don't lie and tell them it is finished. If it is a WIP then tell them so but tell them when it will get done.

Your second task: Develop a list of all your projects in order of most complete to WIP. Develop 1 paragraph blurbs for each.

Finally, this Plan B thing works when you are writing. We are all familiar with Murphy's Law - if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. When it comes to your writing, even the best plans you have will likely get screwed up. Family, work, kids... all things that can not be controlled. So, develop that plan.

Your final task: Look at your writing schedule and find the times that you can shift your writing out for something else in the schedule. Flexibility is key.

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