About a week ago, I was planning on writing an article about coming to terms with failure. By failure, I mean not achieving a goal.
In this case, the goal was finishing writing ASHES IN THE SKY: Book two of FIRE IN THE WOODS on time. I entered last weekend still reviewing beta comments, and completing the tail end of an overwhelming content edit that changed most of the second quarter of the book… with the manuscript due on Sunday.
I know. Impossible.
I needed to read ASHES from front to back, FOR THE FIRST TIME, over the weekend. Yes, to my shame, I had not read the book in its entirety yet. I had no idea if it “flowed”— especially with the sweeping changes. (Suggested by beta readers — the only ones who HAD read it front to back)
Friday night, I completed the content edits and sent them off to a very critical beta reader… Someone who I trusted not to baby me or fan-girl. I told her to be straight with me… that I was planning on asking for an extension anyway.
And then I collapsed into bed.
Everyone asks for extensions, right?
Saturday morning I popped out of bed to the sounds of pelting rain. Score! Thank you God! (Because soccer had been cancelled… Sorry kids, but now Mommy has four extra hours of editing time.) So I made the kids pancakes, and settled down for a marathon read through.
A few hours later, I’m thinking, “damn… either I’m tired, or this is pretty good!”
In early afternoon, the critical beta comes back suggesting minor changes. Easy breezy.
I make the changes and keep going. In the back of my head I keep thinking about all those reviewers who read FIRE IN THE WOODS in one or two days. I can’t read that fast, but I was delving into the world of the power-readers… those who pick up on pacing and plot errors, because they read a book in one sitting. It gave me a more critical eye, and helped me to tighten.
At 6:00 Sunday night, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said: “Yes, it’s done.”
Manuscript submitted with six hours to spare.
I sat back, confused and drained, unable to believe I’d done it.
I’d come up with a concept, written a novel, completed a content edit and line edit, and submitted something respectable (I hope) in four months and two weeks.
I gave myself a week off, wanting to distance myself from Jess and David a little, but I was only able to do so for a few days. By Wednesday, the new deadline was hanging over my head.
EMBERS IN THE SEA has an even tighter deadline than the second book.
I had four months and two weeks to write book 2.
I have exactly four months to hand in book 3.
And I just wasted a few days “resting”.
So, after writing this, I will be starting book three.
Time to take a deep breath, and restart the clock…
I’m in awe. There’s no way I can write that quickly. I repeat. I’m in awe. Congrats!
Thanks. You’d be durprised what you can do when you motivate yourself.
You rock! I never doubted you for a moment (but I’ve doubted myself millions of moments – why are we so hard on ourselves?)
Yes, I’m one of those who read FITW in less than 48 hours, but when I’m reading my own work I slow down, mostly because I’m being critical. When I pick up a book I want to read, I open it with an open mind – offering the author time to prove the story and characters are worth my time investment.
I’m glad you made your deadline. It means I will have a hot copy of AITS in my hands right on schedule😉
And that’s what it’s all about — getting our work out to our readers
I really doubt that I could read a book that fast. Although, I did read The The Da Vinci Code in 5 days. Not only did you read but make the final changes. I salute you.
Thanks. It’s not exactly ideal. But it’s a relief to have it in on time.
Awesome. From someone who isn’t “there” yet, try to see it from the glass-half-full POV: you are living the dream! Your publisher wants your work! All the best.
Yep. Totally grateful and thankful to everyone who read book one and are waiting for book two 😎
You achieve amazing things Jennifer! I haven’t read Fire in the Woods yet, but it’s on my Kindle ready 🙂 When I used to write some articles for a magazine a while back, the editor said to me once when I submitted my article “Thank you, I can always rely on you to submit by deadline, I don’t have to chase you like I do some of the others” – I was totally shocked, I couldn’t imagine not submitting by deadline, unless there was some major disaster of course, and I assumed everyone else was the same! And this was a magazine that paid us for the articles as well. So if my experience is anything to go by, I’m sure if you had asked for an extension, it would have been perfectly in line what what everyone else does as you said!
Probably. But like you, I’m not wired that way. A deadline is a deadline.
Man, I am just enthralled with your stock images of that Crabby Patty lady in a bathrobe. Really, just, outstanding.
Also, shame on you for not reading your book through first. That’s like writing 101. You gotta know that baby back to front. Before it was all said and done, I read mine at least two dozen times. Enough that I was bloody well sick of it by the end, which admittedly, doesn’t help the revising process.
Seriously though, keep going! That’s tremendous that you’ve hammered this out and even more impressive that you find time to do it with kids. I have a job and a committed relationship, and it’s all I can do to find time to brush my teeth twice a day. Bravo! Keep going!
Also one final thought, if I click to feed your fishes enough times, would they overeat and die?
*sound of evil clicking*
Ha! They are goldfish. Eating machines, they are! Normally I would read through about a dozen times. My deadline did not alow for that, though. I had reread and revised individual scenes, but not the whole. Luckily i had great beta readers who could show me where rhe problems were so i was in decent shape ar the end. Thanks for stopping by!
I tips me ‘at to you, I does!
Thank goodness for rained out soccer games!
It was great timing fir Mom.
You are Wonder Woman. Did the little Blue Lady help by sprinkling a little blue dust over you? I sure hope so. Don’t know where you got your energy with a young family in tow.
Whew! It was tough at times, but before I accepted the contract, we had a family meeting so everyone understood Mommy would be working long hours. The kids are mostly good about it… as long as I don’t miss any soccer games. 🙂
Well, good that had a last reprieve just when you need it.