Notes from a Drama Queen


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

It was nobody’s fault but mine. I could have worked on the next Rohan book in October, gotten a good start on it and then finished it up in November, ahead of time. But no, I wanted to spend time on the ICE book, and I figured I could do NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and get most of it done, then sail on through to the finish in time to make my deadline of December 15th.
I’m not sure how good NANOWRIMO is for me. Certainly I did the 50,000 words, but that was all I did. I checked to make sure I did my daily 2,000 words, but that was all I did. It was too static for me. I need to throw myself into a book, not follow the rules. So there I was December 1st with only 50,000 words of a book that had to be a lot more, and I was stumped. It wasn’t coming together, I’d lost my momentum and my magic. I knew where I was going, and I trudged along, but I wasn’t happy.
So I did what any author would do if they love the sound of deadlines whizzing past. I begged my editor for a two week extension, secure in the belief that no one in New York works between December 15th and the first week in January. Unfortunately I was wrong. My editor is a hardworking young man who intended to work, god bless him. But he also granted me a dispensation until January 3rd, when he planned to do a fast turn around.
Aiyee! I’m a Christmas slut. I only put about a third of the Christmas decorations out, and yet people who came in stared in awe. I did no baking apart from my bread machine, no crafts, but I did have the most fabulous three year old grandson to play with on crucial occasions.
I gave up around December 20th, figuring I could simply throw myself into it between Christmas and New Years. And I did. My poor heroine ended up stark naked on a table, adorned with grapes (she had the grapes, not the table). The hero, rescuing her, says “I’ll never look at grapes the same way again.”
I worked. And worked. And worked. On New Year’s Eve I managed 3,500 words with my grandson spending the night. On New Year’s Day I wrote 10,000 words, or the equivalent of 43 pages in Bookman Old Style (my current font) or 49 pages in Courier New, the font I used to use. After Alex went home I wrote, took a nap, wrote, took another nap, and then wrote till 3 am. I really wanted to finish but my eyes were glazing over, and I toddled off to bed and the arms of my husband. Ye gods. It was a good thing I didn’t try to finish, because it took another 7,200 to pull everything together, making the two day total a grand 17,200 or between 65 and 75 pages..
My shoulders are killing me. My fingers hurt, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Which I guess I have.
And it worked. It caught fire, and I love it, and as soon as I recover I’ll go back in and fix all the stodgy parts that lingered in those 50,000 words from NANOWRIMO. It’s going to be brilliant, and it has the loveliest cover!
So SHAMELESS is essentially finished, and it’ll be out and about in June, as well as in audio. And now I can sit back and rest. For maybe half a day.
Because a writer is driven to write. I feel empty and uneasy when I’m not working on something — it’s who I am and always has been. Can’t retire, and I can’t even die. I have too many books to write.
I just have to be careful not to kill myself off with these crazy marathons.
How did the rest of you spend your New Year’s Eve? Anyone else sleep next to your grandson to make sure he didn’t wake up and panic?