Writing Wednesday: Proposing the Right Way

One of the most romantic things in the world is a proposal. Women dream about the moment the man of their dreams will get down on one knee and ask for their hand in marriage. I’ve witnessed magical proposals in movies, on social media, and even in real life. But there’s one thing I didn’t spend much time thinking about until recently: the man dreading proposing.

Most men I know will admit that proposals are nerve-wracking. Most wouldn’t propose without some assurance or certainty their lady love will say yes (and that enthusiastically), but still there are nerves involved. There’s the pressure of wanting to get everything just right. There’s the pressure of knowing your life is about to be very different after you propose no matter the outcome. And there’s the pressure of knowing that you only get one chance to make the perfect proposal.

On Friday, I submitted my Blurb to Book proposal–the first three chapters and synopsis for my latest work in progress, Always the Last to Know. I spent weeks agonizing on what to cover in the first three chapters, how best to convey where the story was going, how to show the promise of the story. The whole goal of the proposal is to get the editors to say “Yes!” to a full manuscript. I’ve never gotten this far with a contest before, and I think this could be the one.

Just like any potential groom, I grew nervous. I know the editors saw something in my story they liked that peaked their interest, but this is more than like. I’m looking for a bigger commitment, to take things to the next level. So how do I do that?

The first thing I did was treat myself to the newest Love Inspired book that had my hook in it. I wanted to see what was currently being done, what the editors had said yes to from a different suitor. I wanted to know what kind of things are the editors proud to show off to the readers of their line? What hooks work? How has the author changed the hook or turned a classic plot on its head? What can I do with my hooks_ plot, & GMC to delight my editors into accepting?

Of course, the ring does not a proposal make. I can’t just shove a ring at them and say “Well, what’s it going to be? Yes or no?” I have to have a good presentation. Everyone knows that girl who gushes that the proposal was “so us” and that her fiancĂ© really got it right. Well, I wanted to be the one who really got it right. My proposal had to be “so us:” my story in my voice but also a story that conforms to the conventions of the line and delivers on the line’s promise. My proposal has to show I know what type of editors the Love Inspired editors are and what they are really looking for in a new author…and that I have it.

I won’t find out until May 15 if the editors will say “yes” to a full manuscript, but when I hit send I was confident I’d done my best to show I really want to write for this line and I’m capable of doing so.

What part of the proposal is your favorite? Least favorite? Published/contracted authors, how did you seal the deal? Has proposing gotten any easier? And of course I’m open to really good marriage proposal stories.😁