Now that I wrote the last scene, which I was afraid I’d botch, but which went smooth and sweet, Luke’s #1 Rule is finished. Again. For now. If and when Harlequin requests the full I will go back and read it again and fill in any blanks, but I really feel like I have it this time. It’s good to go.
So I wrote 8 pages in 90 minutes at the coffee shop. That’s a little over 10 minutes a page. Today I wrote some more, and then because I felt so far from finished, I went a little crazy with math and figured out how long, based on the above formula, it would take to finish up to the Harlequin word count. Not that I’m sweating that. It’s finished when it’s finished.
Although I would love to have the positive feelings that Harlequin will be writing soon to say “We love this! Send the full.” so it is a bit of an incentive to unfurl things a little more gracefully. I tend to rush everything in life, including my plots. So anyway, according to the math, I need 9-10 hours to complete the book.
If I work three hours a day, that’s three days. Now the trick is to do it. After school, as well. I want to get out of my thinking that writing has to happen before I leave the house, or not at all. This will be good practice!
I was more than an hour early for a meeting with the Immediate Past and the current Presidents of DWW. I’d brought my laptop because we were working on an important document. When they didn’t show, I knew I could shop in the bookstore for an hour, no problem except to my checkbook. I almost took my laptop out to the car so I could browse without lugging it around.
Instead I opened it and started working on a scene for the WIP. It’s an important scene and I wanted to get it right, but figured whatever I messed up could always be revised. So I just gave myself permission to write whatever came into my head. I did, and an hour and a half sped by. I wrote 8 pages. I’m not sure if they’re any good because I haven’t had a minute to reread them.
I love my class but it’s cutting into my writing time.
The thing is I never write at 5 o’clock. I’m cooking dinner or at least thinking about it at 5 pm. But this opportunity opened and what it shows me is I don’t have to be a morning writer. If I sit down at the keyboard, I can actually sustain a 90 minute session in the late afternoon. 8 pages/90 minutes. What’s that? 12 minutes a page? Not bad!
I finished the revisions for Luke’s #1 Rule today. Yay! Although…wait. Not quite time to celebrate yet. I’m short a good 20K words for Harlequin American Romance. There’s an easy solution: add more layers, more chapters. It does wind up pretty damn quick. I tend to sprint too fast to the finish line, not pacing myself (or my characters!)
It took two minutes to brainstorm 7 new chapter ideas to flesh out my conclusion. I need a bit more than that unless I want 7 chapters of 28 pages at the end of the book, which I do not. Chapters get shorter at the end of books, not longer.
At the rate of 20 new pages a day (which is a lot more than I usually produce, I’m more like a 8 page a day writer) I could STILL have this done before I go back to work. If that is all I did for the entire day every day. And I can’t. Tuesday I have to prep for class Wednesday. That will take a good part of the day. It’s a holiday weekend and the weather is supposed to be excellent and I have not been out in my garden yet. We haven’t lit the grill! We have a dinner invitation tonight!
So realistically, if I want to layer more story into other sections of the book (and I am already mentally jotting down where I should probably do that) then I need to reread the entire thing, which willl take a day or so, I’ll be able to finish in 10 days. However, since they are “raw” pages, I’ll need another read through afterward. 12 days. That is fine. It is totally doable.
OTOH, if Harlequin should reject my revised proposal, there is no need to add anything. I can e-publish this book by myself. So, the next question is: would I put this book out there as it stands? The answer is no. I would still add some of the crucial scenes I know are missing. It might not add up to 55-60K but it would enrich the story.
What’s next? Write a bunch of new words. And don’t sweat the time it takes. What’s two weeks in the big scheme of things?
If I had three hands I would add that maybe I should put Luke and Chloe aside for now and take up Sugar Shack again, which I know for sure is my self-publish Kindle project. It’s about half-revised. I need a week or two on that project as well. So it makes sense to stay with the project I’m already immersed in and then dive back into SS.
This morning I asked myself how much revision I thought I could accomplish in the next week. We have Monday off school so that’s a little bonus time. I want to use it well. I want to write every day and clear 30 pages a day. 30 pages a day would take 3-4 hours a day. And would mean I could finish the revisions in a week. The only reason not to do this is because I don’t care enough about my goals to move forward so fast.
It’s a paradox: I feel a great urgency to move to the next level, yet I’ve been working and reworking these same novels for years. An urgent need to move forward. Feeling stuck. That’s what would hold me back–feeling stuck, feeling unlucky, feeling like life’s too short to spend all day in a room alone writing.
And yet that’s what it takes folks. So how much do I want these novels finished, polished, shined to a gleaming sheen and sent out into the world? I want that more than almost anything else.* And I’m willing to do the work it takes to make it happen.
*Visiting both my kids this year is at the top of my wish list. Of course I put my marriage and other important relationships before writing. When I’m workinng, it has to be said, teaching comes first. I cannot be a bad teacher. I just don’t have it in me. I have to give students all I’ve got and that means they come first.
Bottom line is, I see a chance to get a lot of writing done in the next week. My calendar isn’t crammed full of activities. I can do it, I want to do it, I will do it.