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Nailing Mercury

February 3, 2010

Explaining to anyone what stage I’m at in my novel this year is a difficult proposition, since I’ve been trying to do several things all at once. I’ve partially written book two in my Across Black Waters series but stopped to go back and finish revising and polishing book one and figure out how to market it before getting back to book two. I hope to put the finishing touches on Breathing in Bombay by mid-March, take a few more weeks to aggressively polish it up, then start the query process and launch a web site.

If that weren’t enough, I entered three contests for unpublished authors in January, and was surprised when one of them asked me to be a judge for another category in the same contest. I agreed, in the expectation that I will be “between books” at that time (late March to early April). I hope I’ll be between books, that is, or else I’ll be juggling more than usual those weeks.

The March deadline looms heavy at the moment, since it’s taken me the better part of the month to prep just the first four chapters for the contests. I made between five to ten passes on each of those chapters individually before considering them complete and error free. And of course, as soon as I entered the contests, I immediately found all kinds of things I could have improved before submitting. Nature of the business, I suppose.

I’ve  been working on the same first novel for a few years now but this is about the fourth rewrite (or so) and I’m hoping the last. Some chapters have seen up to ten rewrites so it’s difficult to quantify the progress. The overall manuscript is in better shape than I’d thought, at least that’s what I’ve been told, but needs finalizing.

Revision is slow and can be painful for me but I need the fairly grueling schedule. It’s exciting to have a challenging deadline and try to push forward to meet it. Researching agents, working on the query letter, and figuring out web site design also help keep up my momentum and energy level. And editing the work of other writers also keeps editing of my own work more focused. The combination of all these tasks remind me every second of my end goal, something that eluded me till this year.

With lots of luck and hard work, I hope to get back to book two before summer, with plans to flesh out plans for books three and four in more detail before the end of the year. If I’m able to meet these other self-imposed deadlines, who knows? I may be writing book three at NaNoWriMo this fall. Tune in here to find out.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 10:12 am

    Just wondering if you find your head spinning most of the times? I never really wanted to write a series until I started The Courier, and now I know why. It’s hard enough to keep each book organized on the computer, let alone the ADD in the head while creating new story lines.

    • February 3, 2010 12:25 pm

      Seriously, yes, with two small children and only a few quiet hours in my day to write, my head does spin most days. But I think I’ve finally realized that I’m one of those people who can only get things done with a lot on my plate. And actually I didn’t start out thinking this was the first in a series. That realization came later.

  2. Alli permalink
    February 3, 2010 10:33 am

    Busy times! Whenever you feel overwhelmed or confused, just remember this: every minute you spend polishing, rewriting, plotting, etc is improving your work no end – ultimately getting you to the published stage. Go for it!

    PS – I admire your multi-tasking – I can only write one book at a time and all the energy goes into that until it is done.

    • February 3, 2010 12:31 pm

      Thanks, Alli, I need to remember that!! For all the discipline it takes, writing can be so subjective. There are times I can write a scene and think it’s fun and entertaining then someone else might think, “huh, what’s this?” I let myself get caught up in that kind of self doubt at times (today, for instance). 😉 Can’t help it, but I also believe that if a story has followed me this long, there has to be a good reason. And about writing one book at a time, I worked on only the first book for eons before I could even think about the second one, let alone start writing it.

  3. February 3, 2010 1:29 pm

    Wow, it’s amazing when I hear about people who can plan three or four projects ahead. It makes my head spin and I already have a notoriously short attention span. I’m lucky if I plan a day ahead. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t have missed Laurell K. Hamilton’s book release of “Flirt” last night in Atlanta because I didn’t read my messages until 7 p.m.

    Anyway, good luck with the series. I have nine books planned in my own series but I have only just started serious planning for book two (#3-9 are just ideas floating out in space).

    By the way, how is it writing on deadlines? Will this be a common thing for you or something that just sprang up out of the blue?

    • February 3, 2010 5:55 pm

      I think it’s more of an observation she’s had since joining the group blog! Supriya has been churning out some amazing revisions on her own work, entering the contests and still posting each week here (in addition to editing for her day job and her incredibly demanding crit partner) 😉

      Just got the new LKH book in the mail yesterday afternoon – it’s REAL skinny. Have to admit I was kind of shocked anyone would put out a hardcover that was less than 200 pages. I bought it sight unseen, but if I had known I may have waited for the paperback. Who the hell am I kidding? I probably would have bought it anyway.

      We’ll have to compare notes when we’re done – we should do a review! You do a half post and I do a half post and we launch it on the same day. Could work – maybe start doing a “Review Saturday”? Bet we could get guest bloggers for that too. Need to stop typing before I throw out too many ideas and piss off my blog partners!!

    • February 4, 2010 9:58 am

      Check out Steve’s post today. That’s where I wish I were. Someday! And yes, re deadline, it’s much easier to get things done with a specific, short-term goal. Hope to make it a good habit.

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