Know When to Fold 'Em

di at starbucks (2)Whoa, this is what I look like after a few weeks of working ’round the clock. Tired. John snapped this pic of me at Starbucks this morning while I was writing. He said “Give me a big smile!” and I thought I was. I think I’m fried!

It’s always this way in the month before deadline. I finished my second draft today. Yahoo! One more major draft and then a “clean-up” draft and I’ll be done. However, this draft needs some fixing up before I can move on to the next, and the fix-up involves ditching something I originally loved.  One of my characters, Tara, is a young widow, and I had her writing short notes to her late husband at the start of her chapters. Remember how nicely this worked in The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, where the mother wrote letters to CeeCee? Well, it worked beautifully for about three chapters in my work-in-progress and then began to feel contrived. One of the most painful things a writer needs to learn is when to let go. Something–a turn of phrase, a particular scene, a character’s quirky voice–may seem brilliant when conceived but if it fizzles in execution, it’s got to go. So that is the first thing I need to fix before I dig into the third draft.

Then I need to completely rewrite an important chapter before I can move on. It’s a flashback chapter in which we see four women friends in college as they get to know each other and it Does Not Work. Oh, it’s okay and I could let it slide, but  I think it can be better. Much better. I want that scene to convince my readers that these women will be bonded for life. That’s my task for tomorrow. Bond a few women for life. Wish me luck!

I also have to pack tomorrow because Tuesday we’re transferring our work to Topsail Island for a fews days. I have some research to do in nearby Wilmington, a few tasks in the condo, and some all important strolls on the beach with my pups. Yeah!

So I’ll probably continue to look sleepy for a while, but I can see the end of the tunnel. Then, of course, it will be time to start working on the next book…


  1. Betty Savage on April 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Diane, I just love your blogs…thank you for sharing so much of yourself with your readers daily here and on facebook…good luck with all the next drafts…

  2. Margo on April 19, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Diane, as tired as you are you still make time for us…thank you for keeping us posted on your WIP because its what we all want to hear…and lots of luck today as you rewrite your important chapter…Tuesday is probably looking pretty darn good to you right now. (-O:

  3. Denise on April 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

    You look very ‘serene’ in the photo. Lol!

  4. Diane Chamberlain on April 19, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Serene, huh? LOL.
    Thanks for the good luck wish, Betty.
    Yes, I can’t wait until tomorrow, Margo, although I have a lot to do to get ready. But the beach is calling!

  5. brenda on April 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Enjoy your rest…my students told me I look like “death”…I am always exhausted the second semester…now I need to grade 75 short stories-no kidding-I just taught how to write one…then essays come in-then more projects-alas…a writer/teacher–work is never finished. Have a great time at Topsail…

  6. Alyce on April 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Your books are THE BEST. I espicially liked “A Beautiful Lie”. It was great. You are great. Thanks for the great litracy you put into the world.

    P.S I thought you might want to know: You have very young fans. 🙂

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