Ain’t Too Proud to Beg finally went to the editor last Sunday. This was the tenth book I’ve written, the sixth to be published, but it was the hardest one for me to write. I learned some lessons while writing this book.
Yesterday, I searched the entries here to try to figure out when I started the story, and discovered it was back in February! On March 9th I posted an entry that said I was only three chapters in and was experiencing all kinds of distractions. Well, those distractions continued, and the final manuscript didn’t go to my editor until November 18th. That’s an awfully long time for me to complete a book.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, and I’ve realized the three major issues that stood in my way of reaching The End.
- My first realization was that I desperately miss my critique group.
We disbanded around the first of the year because all of us are now published, and nobody has the time to do line-by-line critiques for five other members. Over the past six years, those ladies read every single word I wrote. They let me know what they liked and disliked, what wasn’t working and how I could improve the story. They were invaluable to me.
- The second roadblock was that ATPTB was the first manuscript I’ve written using my new laptop. Previously, I did most of my first drafts on an Alphasmart. I love the convenience of having the laptop, especially being able to switch from Word to Google or Dictionary.com as I write, but the laptop is both a blessing and a curse.
Since I have the attention span of a gnat, more often than not, the temptation to stay offline check my e-mail, read Tweets and Facebook posts, look at the pretty pictures on Pinterest, etc. was just too great for me to withstand. I don’t know how many hours I lost sitting at the laptop doing stuff that had nothing to do with writing.
· This was the first manuscript for which I didn’t do an extensive outline and a storyboard.
The total outline amounted to only five pages, less than half of what I usually have, which meant I had to do twice as much work on the page. Thankfully, the story developed into what it was supposed to be, but not with the ease I normally experience during the creation of a novel. The most important thing I discovered during the past ten months is that I am a true plotter. No more pantsing for this sister. Ever.
Other than moving to a cave to write my next book, I’m trying to figure out how to remedy these issues. It would be wonderful to have another critique group, but it would have to be with other published authors. Most of the authors I know well enough to ask are already too busy just writing and promoting.
Of course, I could go back to writing on my Alphie, but I’ve been too spoiled by the laptop. Now I consider that gadget merely a backup to be used in case of emergency. (See author Penelope Marzec’s great post about writing in the dark after Superstorm Sandy.
My spring 2013 release will be You Make Me Feel Brand New, a novelette that was published early this year in an anthology from WG2E. At least I’m ahead on the plotting the next novel though. Already I have eleven pages outlined on the next book, which is tentatively titled, A Woman’s Worth.