Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Guest Post: Kristina Springer on Writing the Second (and Third) Novel

By Kristina Springer

My second book, My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours (FSG, 2010), just came out Aug. 31, and I'm really excited about it!

Writing it was such a blast for me! I keep thinking back to this book and why I loved writing it so much, and I think it was because I flashed back a lot to my own time in seventh grade.

While the main character and her best friend are nothing at all like me (really, I swear), I did visualize the junior high that I attended as the setting for the book. So it was kind of like rewriting history.

I had a whole new cast of characters walking the halls I walked, gossiping at the water fountain I drank from, sitting in the science class I did, and dancing in the same school gym.

And, well, I did sort of also have my own fake boyfriend in seventh grade too. So writing about someone else having one (a cuter, more funny, smarter one of course) and getting in her own troubles was way fun.

The process of writing this book went a little bit differently than you might think, however. I didn't have a completed book that I submitted to publishers when this was sold.

When I sold my first book, The Espressologist (October 2009), my publisher Farrar, Straus, and Giroux also bought a second untitled book. Meaning, they wanted me to write another book to be released the following year, but we didn’t know what that was at the time. There weren't plans for a sequel to The Espressologist, so this was to be a whole new book.

The first thing I did was brainstorm a lot of ideas. Then I wrote pitches-- just about a paragraph or so of what each book would be about. I wrote them in the style you’d see on a book flap.

I sent five or six of these pitches over to my editor and asked if she liked any one better than another. I really wanted to get her opinion first before I dived too deep into any one project.

She was pleased with my pitches and really liked my ideas for My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours and Pumpkin Princess.

So my next step was to prepare proposals. For each book, I wrote out a one-page synopsis, a chapter-by-chapter outline, and I wrote the first three chapters.

And I was thrilled that my editor liked both books! She thought I should start first with My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours. I wrote the book in the spring of 2009, and FSG decided that would be my second release. Then I completed Pumpkin Princess in the fall of 2009, and FSG also bought that book for release in the fall of 2011.

I really enjoyed doing things this way because I always have so many ideas swimming around in my head, and it was really great to know which ones my editor liked the most before then turning all of my attention over to writing that book.

For more info on me or or my books, check out my newly re-designed super cute web site.

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