Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In-Between the In-Between and Superstitions

Writing novels for deadline is a weird process and one that I’ll never entirely get used to, partly because there’s a lot of hurry up and wait. I rushed like a demon to get my first draft done so that I could send it to my “beta” readers (Wyrdsmiths’ being, of course, the alphas…. Although I have to write the novel so quickly that, given our every other week meeting schedule, they almost never get to read the entire book.) Naomi and Sean volunteered to read the whole thing, and while they’re reading, I wait.

Naomi actually finished really quickly, so after giving myself one last night off, tonight I’ll start the first round of revisions.

I actually revise a lot. I’ll try to get these first revisions done early next week, and then I’ll give that new draft to my partner (proof reader and plot spotter extraordinaire) and Ember Blackwell (my most expert paranormal chick-lit reader) for a final round. What this usually means is that I’m doing some fairly major re-writing right up to my deadline.

Then, of course, the book still isn’t done. My editor, contrary to popular belief, does edit. After a month or two, I’ll usually get a several page, very detailed e-mail critique from her which constitutes my official revisions. Those usually take another week or so to do, then I send the official paper copies to her and we’re off into the next set of revisions – which are mostly copyediting and stylistic.

See, a lot of hurry up and wait. It seems that at this point it’s the in between the between the novel phase…. And it makes me anxious.

Part of my jitters come from the fact that I’m not very good at making the most of my down time. A better writer would probably jump into the next project. I tend to spin my wheels and waste copious amounts of time reading and watching TV. I usually do, at least, work on a proposal for the next book, but I have a very useless superstition about not starting the next novel project until the new contract is negotiated.

It seems like writers have a lot a superstitions. Naomi and I once talked about how we both like to have the special notebook for each novel, and that we can both easily waste a lot time finding JUST the right one. And maybe a special pen…. Yeah, that’s what I need to start. I'm sure you know how it's goes.

Do you have any writing related superstitions?


Anonymous said...

Idiotic, I know, but I need the story to have a title. Doesn't need to be the title I end up using, but it has to be enough of one that I can stop thinking about it. For me, the title frames the project.

Not really a superstition, but it is something I need to have in place to get working on a story.

Kelly McCullough said...

I don't know, I'm just not a superstitious soul. I guess this is another place where I'm not like the other monkeys.

Erik Buchanan said...

I need not to tell anyone about the plot before I write it. Otherwise it goes away. That's why I write organically, instead of with outlines. Same thing applies.

lydamorehouse said...

Erik, I've heard that one a lot actually. I think Eleanor used to have a supersition like that, in fact.