Yes, it’s that time of year when I start to lose my marbles. It always happens around now, three months before deadline. Deadlines are always challenging, but this one is particularly crazy making. You faithful blog readers may remember the following:
- I have nine months to write this book
- I spent the first month or so writing a proposal for a book tentatively titled The Midwife’s Confession, which my editor, agent and I all loved
- I started working on the book. Then my editor realized the marketing “hook” was too similar to another book they had coming out around the same time. Much teeth gnashing on my part followed!
- Back to the drawing board. I took another couple of months writing a new proposal for what is now titled The Lies We Told, set partly in North Carolina and partly in Ecuador after an earthquake. The proposal was accepted.
- I outlined the book and began writing the story.
- About two thirds of the way through the rough draft (mid March), I decided I wanted to make a change and told my editor. The change would move more of the story to Ecuador. My editor and agent then decided Ecuador was a bad idea altogether. My readers wouldn’t want to read about it. More teeth gnashing ensued.
- I decided my editor and agent were right, as usual. I moved the setting entirely to North Carolina and changed the earthquake to back-to-back hurricanes. The move changed absolutely everything in the story. No longer did I have the gut-wrenching drama of collapsing buildings and the need for my surgeon characters to mend many, many broken bones. No longer did I have the language and cultural barriers that had been such a necessary part of the plot.
- Early April already: cue heart-pounding panic.
- Mid April, everything started falling, magically, into place. My Ecuadorian pregnant woman became a backwoodsy North Carolina pregnant woman. The earthquake aftershocks became massive flooding. The person I was going to kill stayed alive. And best of all, I started falling in love with the story again. Finally!
So why am I going crazy now that things are a bit more settled? I have so much more to do and feel so behind! I’ve moved into the “can’t sleep” phase, because as soon as my head hits the pillow I hear voices and see scenes. Dialogue. Action. I grab my pen and pad. Jot notes in the dark. I had three hours sleep last night, but wow, did I get up this morning with a bunch of great notes!
I’m also losing track of things, such as, my mind. Several times a week, I speak by speakerphone with bookclubs around the country as they discuss one of my books (sign up here, if you like!). I sat down the other night to call one of the clubs, thinking they were Central Standard Time only to realize I had them mixed up with another club. This one was EST, so I called them an hour late. Ugh. They were immensely understanding, but I don’t usually make that sort of mistake. And yesterday, I took my notes and Alphasmart with me to the doctor’s office and left them there! For a while, I couldn’t figure out what I’d done with them, and was terrified that all the work I had on my Alphasmart (not to mention all my notes) was lost. But they were safe and sound and I picked them up this morning. And the staff at the doctor’s office wasn’t chuckling and smirking, so I don’t think any of them read any of my very rough draft.
So, that’s what I’m up to. Going crazy. And I know the drill: it’s only going to get worse from here.