I can't stand it anymore, I have to tell you what I'm working on. I am writing a book based on the same idea as the Archetype site: a guide to help writers get the psychology right in their fiction! The book will have far greater breadth than the site, and go into much more depth to help you get the details right in your stories. I don't have a publication date for you yet, but I do have a due date from the publisher, so I'm working hard to get it ready!
Right now I am working on a chapter that includes details on therapist training and ethics. Might not sound crucial at first glance, but a lot of writers get tripped up by these areas -- especially ethics. I recently read The Reach by horror author Nate Kenyon, and he does a really good job writing about one main character's diagnosis and institutionalization; unfortunately, he doesn't do such a good job writing about his therapist-in-training. Students progress through school and therapy training in steps that are pretty consistent from school to school, but nobody in the book pays any heed to those steps. Worse, nobody in the book seems disturbed by some pretty flagrant violations of the normal training process and ethical code. The problem, of course, is that the author didn't understand the steps most therapists follow as they're trained, or (in many cases) when he was portraying ethical violations.
If you have any thoughts or questions about training or ethics, now would be great time to ask -- your questions will help me make sure I cover the information you need for your story. (Feel free to ask questions or make comments on other areas you'd like to see covered as well.)
Some people have asked me about the process for selling nonfiction, so I'm going to tell you just a little bit about it.
In most cases, when you want to sell a nonfiction book, you write a proposal rather than completing the full manuscript, the way you do for fiction. A proposal introduces the agent or editor to the book idea, compares it to books currently on the market, and sells the reader on the idea that this new book is needed. Because author involvement is crucial in today's book market, the proposal includes a marketing section explaining what the author plans to do to build publicity. Finally, the bulk of the proposal is made up of a chapter-by-chapter outline.
I have several books on proposal writing, but the ones I found most helpful were How to Write a Book Proposal and Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why. (Other people swear by Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody can Write and The Fast Track Course on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal.)
I'm pretty discouraged with my NaNo project. If I were going for a paranormal romance, heavy on the romance, I might be okay, but I want there to be more to it than that. I'm kind of bored with it at that level. It's slowly becoming clearer to me that I need more tension, higher stakes, and probably more angst. So I think I need to develop some darker backstories for my characters.
It's so frustrating. I've never had a novel come in such fits and starts and give me such fits in the process. Anybody had any experience having to go back in and build dark backstories? I'm sure some advice would help me!