Saturday, August 01, 2009


In the comments to my last post, Lacey asked a pertinent question: how long are my synopses/proposals?

So to give you an idea how I work, I'm posting the proposal for my recent release, THE BILLIONAIRE'S BABY (Harlequin Romance, May 09.)

HEROINE: Camryn Henderson fled her old life in a small country town to start afresh in Melbourne and is finally living the life she always dreamed of, as a city girl running her own café in Melbourne’s hippest new precinct. Thanks to the love of her life deserting her, she’s a cynic when it comes to romance and Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year. However, this Valentine's Day promises to give her a shake up she never anticipated.

HERO: Blane Andrews is a wealthy CEO of his own construction company. It has taken him six years to get where he is today and now he’s successful, stable and has something to offer, he’s back in Melbourne…to claim his wife!
Camryn grew up in Rainbow Creek, a small country town. While working in her parents’ coffee shop straight after leaving high school, she dreams of leaving town to run her own café in Melbourne. She’s always craved the excitement of city life.

When the gorgeous Blane breezes into town on a building job, she’s smitten. For the sheltered 19 year old, her life has been sedate, mundane and she’s always done what was expected of her playing the dutiful daughter until the 21 year old nomad rocks into town, she falls for him and the two elope. However, the marriage doesn’t last long when Blane leaves town after 3 months and Cam revamps her life by quitting her job and purchasing a café in Melbourne, something she’s always dreamed of doing.

(Another reason why she leaves town and doesn’t look back: her grandmother died, left her money in a trust fund her parents said wouldn’t mature till she was 21, but she discovers they lied and she was entitled to the money at 18. When she learns she’s legally entitled to the money, she uses it to purchase her café and start a new life in the city.)

She adores Melbourne’s vibe and sets about making her café one of the hippest places to be, throwing herself into work, not caring about her lack of social life. She tries to locate Blane to serve divorce papers but soon tires after a year of not being able to find him.

Through her failed marriage she has become a cynic where romance is concerned and has a particular dislike of Valentine's Day in all its commercial kitsch.

This year, she has worked hard the entire day and is tired of seeing all the lovey-dovey couples, reminding her of what she once had all too briefly. All she wants to do is head home to her apartment and eat chocolate when in walks a builder, a scruffy handsome guy, who happens to be her husband!

Blane is a man on a mission: to win back his wife.

He fell head over heels for Camryn when they first met but believes he was selfish in marrying her (a fact reinforced to him by her parents. They thought she was too young and didn’t want her to leave town, he wanted to take her on the road with him wherever he got building work.) She adored him but he couldn’t help but think he took advantage of her age and naivety, and when she shared her dreams of settling in Melbourne and running her own café, he knew he had to let her go. He didn’t want her giving up her dreams for his.
Also, the more they got to know one another, he wondered if she really loved him or was he her escape route out of Rainbow Creek, a way to rebel against her parents? Sure, they had passion but was it the young, intense love that inevitably changes with time?

Now, Blane is CEO of his own construction company. He has a lot to offer and when he discovers Camryn has pursued her own dream, he knows it’s time to set about winning her back.

When Camryn meets Blane again, she’s thrown by how he’s still the same guy she fell in love with yet so different. He’s mature, responsible and settled, and is relentless in his goal: to reunite.

Camryn doesn’t want to take a risk on Blane again. What if she opens her heart to this wonderful, amazing man second time around and he leaves her again?

Blane wants to woo his wife, to show her how good they could be together given half a chance. He proves he’s committed to their reunion by showing her the house he’s building for them. He has dreams of them being a couple, a family, with kids in their future.

Camryn has had problems with pelvic inflammatory disease over the last few years and is unsure whether she can conceive or not. The docs advised her it would be difficult.

They discuss the ramifications of this, of what it could mean for their future and Blane says it doesn’t matter she’s all the family he needs. But Camryn sees how he is with his nieces and nephews, she sees how much he loves kids and she returns the favour he gave her all those years earlier (he has told her why he left): she will set him free to follow his dream, of kids and a family with someone who can give him that.


Camryn’s greatest fear? Taking a risk on love again.

She loved Blane and he left her. She’s happy in her life now: confident, career-focussed, successful. If losing him the first time left her heartbroken, she’s too scared to contemplate what losing him this time will do to her. He’s so much more charming, addictive and compelling now. He has been honest in why he left first time around and seems genuine now but can she trust him not to leave again? Especially if she can’t give him the kids that are a part of his happily-ever-after scenario?

Blane’s greatest fear? Regret.

While Blane has ridden the pinnacle of success in his business, emotionally his life isn’t complete. While his motives for leaving Camryn six years earlier were genuine, he has regretted it since. When he discovers she has followed her dreams he sets about reuniting with Camryn. He wants a proper marriage. He wants the whole package. He comes from one, big happy family and that’s what he wants for them. When Camryn says she loves him, has never really stopped, he’s the happiest man on the planet. And when she tells him she may not be able to have kids, he’s ready to face that too.
But can he convince her to take another chance on him? He won’t live with regret again. He’s going to give this his best shot.

Camryn is cynical, career-focussed, content yet vulnerable…to Blane.
Blane is confident, laid-back, protective and romantic.

Camryn craves the fulfilment running her café once brought her…until Blane showed up and made her want more.
Blane craves a life with no regrets, a life he’s always dreamed of…with his wife.

Camryn is reluctant to take a chance on marriage again.
Blane wants his wife back.


New Quay, Docklands, Melbourne.

This is a snapshot of what I give my editor for every book: a basic outline of 3-4 pages, based on the heroine, the hero, the storyline, the conflict and the setting.

Every author has a unique way of presenting a proposal, and what I've posted here isn't necessarily 'the' way to do it, it's one way of doing it.

It works for me.
Do what works for you.


Aideen said...


I have to say that I much prefer this method as opposed to the dreaded synopsis. If only us unpublished girls could submit this I believe we would have a lot more confidence in our abilities and might, if we were incredibly lukcy, have a better chance at having our stuff read by the professionals. But I guess synopses (?) are required for obvious reasons. Although, being honest, after reading your proposal I can't see why it shouldn't be done this way for everyone.


Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks Nic!

That's such a huge help. It was one of my great unanswered questions :)

You're a gem :)

Caroline said...

Echo the thanks from Lacey! The proposal has always been a bit of a "black hole" for me too. I now see light at the end of the dark tunnel! Take care. Caroline x

Anonymous said...

There's always so much to learn about writing, just when you think you have a handle on it you read something and realise you have no idea after all!!!! I also like your synopsis, reads so much better than anything I have tried to put together, I always feel like the synopsis lets my story down , that it doesn't sound like my book at all and worry that editors aren't even going to give my writing a look in!Thanks for sharing Nicola. That's great. Are you going to the Brisbane RWA conference this year?

Joanne Cleary said...

Great proposal. I'm with Aideen, wish we could do one of those rather than a synopsis.

Thanks for sharing.

Joanne said...

Hi Nic - thanks for sharing. I do like how you've set out your proposal with the different headings :) it's really good :)

Are you coming to the RWA conf? If so, I'll come over and say hi :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Glad you all got something out of it.

Must post more like it...

And sadly no, not coming to conference this year. :(