Friday, February 18, 2011

Tomorrow Is The Next Day Of The Rest Of My Life (Give Or Take)

When I failed to meet my deadline of a completed messy first draft of Hart by my birthday, I had to do some thinking.

I always meet deadlines. I have a dread of missing one, which is a direct result of having not liked school as a kid but feeling the need to graduate so I didn't dare let myself get an incomplete in anything. When I have a job to do, I get it done.

Only I didn't get the first draft done, and the reason was pretty obvious. I was writing and rewriting and rethinking and working out new plot twists and throwing out old ones and the material controlled me and not vice versa.

I don't mind being obsessed by a book when I'm working on it. I kind of like it. And I don't mind being obsessed by a book that I'm writing on spec. I had the best time imaginable writing Life As We Knew It, without any assurances that it would be published (and certainly no idea that it would meet with the success that it has).

But at some point yesterday, I decided I needed a break from the incomplete Hart. I need to decide if I've gone terribly wrong with the writing and plotting, or if the book is a stillborn, or if most of it is salvageable if I only think things through in my own good time.

It's not like there are any deadlines with Hart, or any obligation to get it written at all. Officially the only person I've told about it is my agent, who I haven't heard from since (that's not really true; I sent her the Valentine's Scooter picture and she emailed back to say it was cute, which it certainly was, and if you need proof, my agent doesn't even like cats). Anyway, no one in the publishing industry is telling me they want to see Hart once it's done, so any deadline pressure is self inflicted.

So instead of writing and rewriting, etc. I'm going to read
Death and the Virgin Queen by Chris Skidmore, and then I'm going to read American Idol The Untold Story by Richard Rushfield, which my cousin Ellen gave me for my birthday. I'm also going to go through boxes of newspaper clippings I found in the storage closet the day I pulled out the bag of old cat toys, which I have some regrets about pulling out, since Scooter played with his favorite on my bed this morning at 5 AM. I will also do my tax prep work to send to the office of Mr. Imagination. And instead of worrying about my mother, I'll try to do some constructive things for her.

And when and if Hart is ready for serious revision, I hope to be ready to do it!


Anonymous said...

Good for you, Susan. I'm in the midst of taking a break from a mess myself, and I've been reading, too: Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls for multiple POV (both first person, which is surprisingly working) and James Patterson's Double Crossed for short chapters.

We'll come back to our work refreshed and with new ideas. At least, that's my fervent hope. :o)

-Another Susan

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning susancolebank (another and far superior Susan)-

I love multiple viewpoints, but I worked with an editor once who really disliked them.

Editors have some nerve, having opinions!