Okay, so I wrote my friend Carolynn this stressed out email. Cause instead of writing my book proposal, I was googling websites on how to write a book proposal. For the last several weeks, I have told myself that I’m going to just crank the thing out to make space in my life to write the next draft of the screenplay I’m writing for MGM, a remake of the 70s supernatural thriller Audrey Rose. The screenplay I need to do. It’s due. I have a contract. It’s a fucking assignment. And I figured the book proposal I could do in five minutes.
I mean, I pitched the story to my agent on the phone (months and months ago) and she said, Great, that was perfect, just write that down. But I’ve been having a hard time doing it, because I start writing and rambling and suddenly that story that was so easy to pitch in five minutes on the phone is complicated, cause I’m like, Wait, do they get married and then six months later move to California or is it eight months later? Do they get in a fight in New Orleans or Tucson? What should her ex-boyfriend’s name be? And then I fall into the abyss. And the thing is…when I originally pitched the story to Jen (my agent), it didn’t include any of those details! I just gave her broad strokes…and she loved it. So, what’s my problem?!
So today I’m plodding away as usual and getting lost in wait, does her husband go work on a movie in New York before or after her movie starts shooting in LA, and instead of answering that question, I realize I don’t even know how to write a book proposal so I send an email to Carolynn asking if she can email me a sample and then I remember my friend Christy told me she had sample book proposals so I email her. And then I start cruising the how to write a book proposal sites and I realize what I am doing is not a book proposal at all. It’s a long, rambling plot summary while a professional book proposal, the kind you can actually send to publishers has all kinds of other stuff: a table of contents, a chapter breakdown, marketing information, competitive titles, author bio, all this scary shit that I cannot realistically pull together in a couple weeks before I sit down to write Audrey Rose. So I panic. Luckily I get an email from Carolynn, and then another one and then another one. See, the thing with me and Carolynn is not only that we help each other with our work, but we also USE helping each other with our work to avoid our own writing. So, I know that Carolynn is always there for me, always there, ready and willing and eager to help! It’s awesome. (And mutual.)
So Carolynn writes me another email that says to stop everything. Especially stop looking at websites that tell you how to write a book proposal cause I have her and I have an agent and those sites are for people in Kalamazoo who have never even met a published author. And she says to write the plot summary like my agent said, but just write it in an email to her, meaning Carolynn (or to my sister or my friend Mae) just saying, I want to write a book about blah blah blah and this is a good idea because blah blah blah. Which is kind of like writing down exactly what I said to my agent over the phone but what I’ve been unable to do on my own. So, it’s totally ingenious. And then I got another email from Carolynn (what would I do without her?) saying I really hope when you write the email you write it to me! (her) Of course, honestly, who else would I send it to?
So, I’m back at home, no longer at the cafe where I was busily sort of writing my proposal but really rambling and fretting and being unproductive and emailing with Carolynn. My dad, who was babysitting Aidan all morning, took me for taco salads at Tortilla Grill and has now gone home to attend to his own work and I’m alone.
The burning question dying to be answered is, of course, am I writing an email to Carolynn telling her what my book’s about?
The answer: No, I’m listening to boo chattering over the monitor while he’s supposed to be napping and surfing preschool sites and drinking a big glass of water and writing a blog entry about my book proposal and really wanting a cookie.