Liz here, in book jail, but quite possibly on the verge of parole…
It’s been a long few months.
Seriously. I don’t mean to complain, but it really has. There’s been a lot going on in my world, and then at the end of January, I got a little surprise. I realized (thanks to my super-on-it-editor at Kensington) that I had screwed up. I thought my deadline for my next book was April 1, and I was meandering along towards it, doing my usual “I’ll do it later” thing. (Granted, this time I had a better reason for doing that than others, but still.) Anyway, I was wrong. Or delusional. Turns out the book was due March 1 instead.
Heart attack? Oh yes. With a few panic attacks thrown in. When I learned this, I had about half my word count completed, but my story itself seemed to have gone by the wayside. I was stuck in the middle, so I wasn’t progressing. I was procrastinating, because I was dealing with some difficult personal and professional experiences. I was already feeling like it was an impossible task.
So to lose four weeks felt like a bad joke.
But seriously – I had no time to wallow. I had to just figure out how to get it done. And of course, this is where the Wickeds came in.
It’s no secret around here that I’ve struggled with the whole plotting vs. pantsing thing. I write about it often, usually around a deadline when I’m once again reminded how plotting could’ve saved my sanity. This time, I had plotted. I even felt good about the plot. So to still be stuck was killing me.
And then Jessie stepped in. She FaceTimed me one afternoon and walked me through an amazing exercise where I laid out my plot, told her where I was stuck, and we spent the next two hours re-plotting and brainstorming and generally untying all the knots I’d worked myself into. By the time we hung up, I felt better. I used her method of posting “Dead Freds” all over my wall into some semblance of an outline. Once I had all my scenes mostly laid out and where I wanted them, I started inputting them into Scrivener.
Then I started writing. And miraculously, I started making progress. This was the best exercise I’ve ever done – and I’m totally going to bug Jessie to do it again (and again!) for my next book(s).
When Sherry read the first few chapters for me, she pointed out a potential (huge) issue that I was able to fix fairly easily, before it turned into a big problem with the finished draft. As always, her fabulous eye is just what I needed. I replotted a bit, then started again.
And through it all, Barb, Julie and Edith have been cheering me on – Barb from her own cell in book jail, Edith through her knee surgery, and Julie through her always-busy life. It’s been hairy, but I think I’m going to do it. As usual, these guys saved the day. And put up with me at the same time. I promise I’ll make it up to you all…
Now let’s hope my editor likes the book once I finally get to The End!
Readers, what’s gotten you through a difficult time or an impossible deadline?