“I can’t do it.”
Wow… coming from a neurotic, over-achiever-based upbringing, you would not believe how hard it was for me to type those words … or how hard it was for me to contact my publisher and ask for an extension.
When I was offered a three-book-deal for FIRE IN THE WOODS, I knew it came with some pretty serious deadlines. But being the psycho I am, I took it as a challenge.
The first challenge was to come up with a concept for Book Two, outline, write the book, beta the book, polish and submit ALL WITHIN 4.5 MONTHS. (While promoting the high-speed release of book one)
But I made it! It was tight, but I did it.
However, in order to make the deadline for book three, I needed to start the next book during the beta-reading process of book 2.
That DID NOT happen.
But I thought I would be okay. I still had four months to write book three. (Same deal: come up with a concept, write the book, outline, write the book, beta the book, polish and submit) Heck, it was only two less weeks. I could pull that off, right?
In act two, I got hung up. The writing came slowly. It was not writer’s block, per say, but I just SLOWED DOWN. On such a tight deadline, it killed me.
Did I finish the book on time? Yes–and no.
I did finish the first draft two days before the deadline, but it was just that — a first draft. No one had read it but me.
I am in no way vain enough to think I can write a perfect first draft in four months and just hit the submit button. Nope. No way.
Enter my beta-reading army, who had already been through the first fifty pages by then (I do not recommend sending out part of your book to beta before you are done – I did this only out of necessity)
So I had to take a deep breath,
suck it up,
and ask my publisher for an extension.
I now have an extra month to get the final draft in.
Whew! What a relief…
Until my bubble burst and my edits for Book Two came back.
Both novels are now due on the same day.
No pressure at all!
The good news is the developmental changes are minor for book two. I actually let them sit for a week while I finished reviewing beta comments for the third book.
And at this point, I firmly believe I will be handing both books over with a smile in three weeks.
Anyway… Lessons learned:
- Wow. I can seriously write fast if I need to.
- Don’t make myself write that fast if I don’t have to. It made it “not fun”
- The relationships I’ve made along the way have totally paid off. I have friends who are wildly talented and willing to help. (And now I get to see their work before the rest of the world to pay back the favor. Woo-hoo!)
Sooooo… that’s where I am. A little bump in the road, but I don’t think it is a production-stopper.
A year ago, if you told me there would be three FIRE IN THE WOODS books I would have laughed at you… and here they are. And even though one is not completely polished yet, I am pretty proud of them. There is a whole lot of trouble that two teenagers can get into if I put my mind to it.