Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CRUNCH TIME

By Debby Giusti

Suspense writers love ticking time bombs. Put the hero and heroine in danger and give them a limited amount of time before something terrible happens, like they'll die or someone they love will die.

Tick…tick…tick…           

The vicarious adrenalin rush, the sweaty palms and elevated pulse that go along with a countdown keep readers turning pages and ready to buy the next book.

But what about real life ticking time bombs, AKA deadlines?

Writers are “on deadline” as soon as a book is contracted and the editor assigns a date, usually with input from the author, as to when the completed manuscript needs to be on her desk. For a single title, the length of time might be six months to a year. For shorter category books, three or four months is usually the norm.

Once the deadline is set, the writer must arrange her schedule, establish daily or weekly writing goals or in some way monitor her progress to ensure the work will be completed in the allotted timeframe. Talk to any author and she’ll tell you—always make your deadline! Yes, unforeseen circumstances can occur that require an extension, but the problem should be significant, such as a major illness, surgery, or an “act of God” situation like a hurricane, fire or flood.

Prolific writers send their manuscripts in well ahead of schedule. The rest of us move more slowly and, as the deadline approaches, may find we’re running out of time.

Tick…tick…tick…

I just completed THE CAPTAIN’S MISSION, book two in my Military Investigations series from Love Inspired Suspense. Watch for book one, THE OFFICER’S SECRET, in May! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist spreading the news.)


My January deadline meant I’d be working during the Christmas season, but I had four months from contract to completion, which seemed adequate. In reality, shopping, gift wrapping, decorating the house and preparing for the influx of family took time, and something had to be pushed aside. This year, I didn’t send cards or my usual holiday newsletter, but everything else got done, including the book.

Of course, I did turn down a few holiday parties and stayed home New Year’s Eve, but the manuscript arrived in New York ahead of schedule.

Now with the ninth Love Inspired Suspense under my belt, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the final leg of the race to finish a book. I asked the Seekers to join in, as well.

Usually the last few weeks before the book is due, I concentrate totally on the story and cancel most of my other activities. Going to church and prayer remain front and center, but everything else is put on hold. If I’m really down to the wire, I stop cooking and my daughter takes over the kitchen duties.

Since my entire focus is getting the story ready for submission, I usually stay up late and rise early. My goal is to get five hours of sleep each night so I can remain alert throughout the next day, although the fear of failure usually takes care of that concern. No need to set my alarm at night. My internal clock wakes me before dawn.

Often I stand at my kitchen counter and work on my laptop in the early morning hours. By 10 A.M., I’m at my desk where I stay until I go to bed. I try to be ergonomically correct while at my computer, but long hours of sitting are hard on my back and wrists so I get up and stretch at regular intervals. Also, I take a walk every day, time and weather permitting.

I love Diet Coke, but I watch my intake when I'm on deadline.  Instead, I attempt to stay hydrated with water. Usually, I don’t drink enough liquids while I'm at the computer and have to catch up by gulping down a glass or two of water during my breaks.

With this last book, I had trouble with eye fatigue. I switched to wearing glasses for longer periods and shortened the number of hours I wore my contacts. I also increased the zoom function on my monitor to 150% to help ease the strain on my eyes. I kept thinking about the Post-It note Janet keeps on her monitor: BLINK!

Even when the writing is done, getting the work into the final format is time consuming. Self-editing and rereading the pages in a hard copy or in a different font to pick out typos takes time, as well. My husband and eldest daughter read my final copy before I send the book off to the editor. If they find any glaring errors, those corrections also need to be made.

Printers always act up when a book is due! I try to keep extra print cartridges and reams of paper on hand so I don’t have to run to Staples at the last minute. Luckily, I have a backup printer if my old faithful decides to crash.

Mailing options vary and impact whether the book arrives on time. I’ve had problems with USPS Priority Mail so I usually send my manuscripts UPS. Brown provides a great on-line tracking system, and I follow my manuscript’s progress as it leaves my small town, heads first to Atlanta and then on to New York City. Regular delivery gets it to Love Inspired Books in two working days. Overnight delivery is more expensive but is sometimes a necessity when time is short. I email my editor to let her know the manuscript is on the way and attach the document file electronically along with the message.

When I asked the Seekers for their input, Cara Lynn James was the first to respond. “My advice is to clear the slate if you can and just concentrate on finishing. I lock myself in my room, order pizza (or my husband cooks), neglect laundry and try to get enough sleep. If I'm just a little bit ahead of schedule I can settle down and focus. If I'm not, I tend to panic.”

Janet Dean finishes her drafts a month or two ahead of deadline and then spends the rest of the time editing her work. “I try to up sexual tension and emotion and make sure none of my scenes are tea scenes—i.e. scenes where the POV character has no goal, which means no tension or conflict. I also reread for errors and to tighten my prose. I often end up rewriting the ending and even some of the opening to show the story coming full circle.”

 She goes on to say, “Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who does the cooking and most everything the last couple of weeks before my deadline. I don’t do all nighters because exhaustion doesn’t help my clarity of thought. I also get up from the computer and move around. I eat balanced meals—thanks to my husband—and treat myself to chocolate. Chocolate makes me feel calmer. I put in very long days but the good thing is I’m immersed in the story so I see things I might have missed before.”

A number of the Seekers mentioned the importance of a good printer. Janet uses a laser printer and says, “I print the morning before the manuscript is due so if there’s a problem with my printer, I’ll have time to get it done elsewhere. While I’m printing, I scan each page to make sure nothing is missing and the numbers are in sequence. Once I’m at this point I don’t reread. I put a rubber band around the pages and cover letter and mail it in a Tyvek envelope with the CD and a prayer. “

Mary Connealy writes fast and needs a printer that keeps up with her output. “On my printer there is a Fast/Economical setting that is sooooooooooo ridiculously much faster than the default, which on HP is called General Everyday Printing. It takes a FRACTION of the ink, and the quality, in my opinion, is no different.”

Sandra Leesmith has two printers, but says, “When I print manuscripts, I use my Samsung Black and White Laser printer which prints 24 pages per minute and 1500 pages per cartridge. The printer costs around $100.00 and is perfect for manuscripts. It’s never broken down and I've had it for years.”

“What do I do close to deadline?” Julie Lessman asks. “Cry. Pray. Call my prayer partners. Stay up late. Go into hibernation till it gets done.”

Ruth Logan Herne blocks out chunks of time for writing. This year, she’s cleared off her calendar until Easter. “I decided for those four months I'm a stay-at-home weekend gal, except for my grandchildren’s birthdays.”

With a full-time day job, Ruth works in the evenings on the many writing projects she has scheduled. “Summer is hard because there is so much to do on top of work and writing, so I'm planning ahead now so I won't have to fret then.”

Cheryl Wyatt never procrastinates, but says, “If a short deadline is stalking me, I deal with it by completely unplugging from media and I hibernate until it is finished. No TV. No Internet. I mean NONE. I put a funny ‘I'm on a scary deadline’ auto-responder on and don't go near a computer until the book is finished.”

She adds, “I pray a lot and have others pray for me. I prepare meals in advance and freeze them if I have to literally hibernate.”

Cheryl’s been known to hole up in a hotel and complete a book in four or five days. “If I can't afford a hotel,” she says, “I find someplace reclusive in my home, and I write for hours. If I take a break, I lose momentum. No one better bother me unless there's blood spurting or bones sticking out. My MIL got me a rug that says, ‘GO AWAY.’ When that’s in front of my door...my family better beware. LOL.”

Missy Tippens says, “The main way I deal with deadlines is to take out the calendar and count the number of work days till my self-imposed deadline for the first draft. Then I figure up how many words I have to write a day. I also try to allow myself a month to revise and polish before my actual deadline. Of course, I'm still going crazy right before the deadline, because it seems I always want to make last minute changes. My family has learned that life gets wild that last week.”

Glynna Kaye works fulltime and says, “I hate last minute rush, rush, rushing---that awful, panicky feeling that I'll NEVER make it! Into the ‘finale’ weeks, my correspondence, blog and e-loop participation lapse--as do housework, errands, cooking (take out anyone?), filing, etc. A good night's sleep? What's that? The only thing that DOESN'T go by the wayside is prayer. That's a constant!!”

Currently working on her fourth book, Glynna says, “I've set a pseudo deadline that's well in advance of the true deadline, including more time this round to polish and layer the draft after I type ‘The End.’ It's my plan to push much harder at the beginning of this process than I ever have in the past so I won't come down to another frantic finale!”

When you’re under a deadline—whether contest entry or full-length manuscript for publication--and the clock is ticking, how do you handle the stress and complete the work on time?

Leave a comment and your email address to be entered into a drawing for a copy of COUNTDOWN TO DEATH and a $10 Starbuck’s gift certificate.

The breakfast bar is open compliments of Food Network. Today’s tasty offerings include: Ina Garten’s Breakfast Bread Pudding, Giada De Lauretiis’ Breakfast Fruit Pizza, Bobby Flay’s Sage-Mustard Sausage and Rachel Ray’s Chili Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs and Fresh Tomato Salsa. Plus grits, of course, and TUMS. Enjoy!

Helen, is the coffee ready?

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti
http://www.debbygiusti.com/

PS:  Seeker photos were taken at past RWA and ACFW conferences to remind you that registration is open for RWA 2011 in New York City.  Check it out at: http://www.romancewritersofamerica.com/.

129 comments :

  1. Hi All:

    I just wonder how many Seekers dreaded term papers in school and waited until the last possible moment to complete them.

    Do you ever ask yourself: “Why do I do this to myself?”

    Vince

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  2. Yes, Debby, the coffee is ready. There's plenty to go around.

    Ah, deadlines. I put a submission in the mail today.

    It's over 50 miles to a Starbucks, and I don't drink coffee, but I would love, love, love to get my hands on your latest book!

    Helen


    helengray AT boycomonline DOT com

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  3. I don't remember dreading term papers, Vince. In fact I remember getting in trouble for writing a four page report on some news event of the day when the teacher wanted me to give her a two sentence report on some news event of the day.

    I got scolded.

    She was NOT clear in her instructions.

    :(

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  4. Wow, you can really see the differences inresponse to a situation. If it were me, when that deadline looms, it would light a fire under me. I am a procrastinator at heart, but I do get it done. Always was the same in college--would stay up late the night before finishing up my paper. I don't miss those days.

    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

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  5. Debby,
    Thanks for a great and informativr article! I hope, along with everyone else, to be "on deadline" one day soon!

    Helen, thanks for the coffee - needed very much at this hour of the morning!

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  6. I'm writing on deadline for practice. I know what I need to get done each week to meet it.
    Thanks for all the Seeker insight, Debby. I missed you while you were finishing up the book!

    okay, back to work...

    PS having the option to grab all this delicious food from your buffet helps!

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  7. Hi Debby, I'm with Debra. I missed you too.

    What great suggestions to get work done and plan ahead for those deadlines.

    I hate being nervous about a deadline and tend to get things done early. I always had my term papers done early Vince.

    I like Janet and Glynna's ideas to get the bulk done early so you have more time to refine. You can tell in their writing that they have done that.

    The buffet is yummy. Bread pudding for breakfast. Oh my, be still my heart.-- oh I mean tummy. LOL

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  8. Debby,
    I never seem to manage to meet my "self-imposed" deadlines. Something I need to work on. Thanks for all the advice and tips.
    I can't wait for your May release!

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  9. Great inside look, Debby. Lots to look forward to, huh?

    Haven't seen you guys in a while. Hope Seekerville's been doing great.

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  10. I really don't like to be under deadlines! They make me nervous if I'm not working at the pace I should. However, I'm the "work first, play later" kind of gal. So I usually try to start things in plenty of time to finish. But if something happens to postpone my projects I'm not a happy camper to live with. When I get mad or stressed - here comes the tears! Hubby does not want to be around when that happens!

    Bring on the coffee!

    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  11. Hey Vince,
    I wasn't a last minute kid in school. But in my day job as a medical technologist, I worked in the Blood Bank--was in charge of a transfusion center--and thrived in emergency situations when six units of blood were needed STAT! I have wondered whether I procrastinate in my writing and thus "create" that sense of urgency.

    But no! On reflection, I'm not a slacker. If I'm not writing or blogging or working on a speach or... well, then I'm catching up on all the other things that need to be done, like housework! :) Also the various ministries I'm involved in with my church are important to me and keep me balanced.

    Coming up with new stories takes time, as well. Keeping the plot fresh and the characters interesting and unique eat up a lot of my time at the beginning of the four-month deadline.

    On this last book, I worked for a number of weeks to ensure the hero and heroine's relationship got off to the right start. That took more time than I expected.

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  12. Helen,
    I knew I could count on you to get the coffee ready. Thanks, Helen.

    Congrats on mailing your submission.

    Any tips on getting it ready that you'd like to share?

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  13. Mary, you've always been prolific!

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  14. I've always been one of those sick people who thrive under pressure, and I always scored better on research papers due in a short amount of time compared to those with months to complete. I guess the adreline gets the creative juices flowing.

    Since I know this about myself I impose close deadlines for my writing even though I'm not under contract. I feel that surge and the ideas flow onto the paper.

    The Military Investigations series sounds right up my alley, I'll be on the lookout!

    --Kirsten

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  15. Hi Cynthia!

    I'm not an all-nighter type person. Yes, I pulled a few in college, but usually was so tired during the test the next day, that the push didn't play out with a better grade.

    True story...in Freshman Art Appreciation...going into the final, I stayed up all night studying never realizing the test would be a series of slides that needed to be identified. The lights went off during the test and the slides were flashed on a large screen at the front of the class. Dark room, no sleep! You guessed it! Had to pinch myself to stay awake. I got a good grade in the class but the final didn't help!

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  16. Edwina!

    I want all Seekers and Seeker friends to be on deadline, too! Let's claim that for 2011!

    We've already had Keli make a sale! Whoo-hoo!

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  17. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraJanuary 19, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I loved hearing all of your deadline stories. I use to write my school papers last minute and it drove my mom crazy. Good luck with all of your deadlines! Hopefully I will see some of you at the Steeple Hill chat tomorrow!!

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  18. Deb,
    Great stategy to work within your own deadline now! You'll be ready when The Call comes. Plus, you'll know how you work under pressure and will have a better idea of how much time you need to complete a project.

    Love Inspired Books--yes, Steeple Hall has switched their name--gives debut authors as much time as they need on the first couple of books, which helps. But you still have to set a deadline of when you can complete the work. So knowing how long it takes to write a full manuscript puts you ahead of the curve! Smart lady!

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  19. All this deadline talk is giving me hives! LOL I can't believe you do all that with only five hours of sleep!!!! Right now I don't have any pressing deadlines except the ones I put on myself which I suppose is good practise.

    I enjoyed reading about how all the seekers work out their dealines though! Working printers seem to be the major theme.

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  20. Loved it, Debby!! You are in my life right now!

    Deadline of January 31 for book 2 and really, really, really short on time!

    Wish I could tell my day job I'll be back in a couple of weeks...

    LOL!

    Great advice from my fellow Seekers. I'm taking notes as I include many "why didn't I think of that?" Amazing how we all do the same thing yet from so many different directions.

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  21. Debby, just reading your post made me tense. LOL I'm two months out from my deadline but still hear that ticking clock.

    Vince, the joy of holding my book, the blessing of reader letters and the sense of God's call balance the push of crunch time.

    Thanks for breakfast, Debby!

    Janet

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  22. Fruit pizza would be great right about now. Need to get this day started.
    Nothing like a deadline to add stress to the week. I try to avoid the last minute frenzy.
    csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

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  23. WOW, DEB, You know what??? Just READING your post on deadlines fires my engine something fierce, putting me THERE during those rare days when I pull all nighters at the end of the book (which my family calls the "Zombie Stage," where they know I don't cook, clean, sleep or even communicate in any way that makes sense). And you know what -- I LIKE IT (the adrenalin flow, that is)!!!

    Crunch time for me is not always "immediate," because I do exactly what Glynna, Janet and Missy do, too, in that I set my initial deadline two to three months prior to actual deadline. The reason I do that is when you are a CDQ who writes 500+page books, you tend to do A LOT of editing/revising A NUMBER of times before the book goes to the first readers (in my case, my agent, crit partners, sister, daughter-in-law and hubby). I then continue to edit until I get their feedback, so I have to wait till they all read it, of course, before I make final edits. Believe it or not, that usually takes me all the way to the actual deadline, which I ALWAYS meet, except for the year I had an unexpected surgery.

    A reader sent me a darling pillow sign that hangs on my door, which says "Quiet ... Novel in Progress," but it's more decorative than productive in keeping distractions away, unfortunately! :)

    And, VINCE ... do I ever ask myself why do I do this??? ALL THE TIME!!! And, unfortunately, my husband's favorite statement is, "this is NOT worth it!," but then the poor man has to live with me through all the up-and-down crunch times. Pray for him, will you? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  24. I'm pathological about deadlines. I feel like I'm late if I turn a book in on the day it is due...actually, I'm so freaked about this, I've never turned a book in on the day it was due. This last one got sent in three weeks early and I felt behind the entire time!

    There's probably a clinical diagnosis for this condition. Then again, there's probably a clinical diagnosis for a lot of what's going on in my head.

    :)

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  25. I'm not much of a deadline pusher - like to get things done ahead of time. But EARBUDS are so necessary for me when I have to get something done quick. My house is almost NEVER EVER quiet. And it helps me tune out.

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  26. Hi, Debby! I've never really had a book deadline like you're talking about. So far the books I've sold were already written. But I'm in the process of submitting two proposals right now, so I'm hoping I'll know what it's like some time in the near future!

    Oh, I did have a deadline, just this week! I am writing a novella with three friends and we had given ourselves a deadline to turn in our part of the proposal on a certain day, and I'm happy to say I met the deadline.

    I have had a couple of very scary revision deadlines. During that time I did my best to cut out all outside activity and only cook things that were quick and easy. Frozen chicken strips are a great standby, and my kids like them. You can use them on a salad, a sandwich or just plain! LOL!

    I hate waiting until the last minute to do anything. I tend to turn things in early. I work as hard as I can, and then when I'm done, I send it, even if it's early.

    I set my own deadlines, and sometimes that helps motivate me, and sometimes it just doesn't. LOL! So I'm still wondering how I'll do when dealing with deadlines. I actually get energized when I'm really writing and I've set myself a deadline. I don't seem to need as much sleep and I am a happier person. I love to write.

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  27. About printers ... I'm so glad my publisher is totally digital. I only have to email mine.

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  28. Erica - LOL!

    I've not had actual writing deadlines but I have won Nano 4xs - 2 of those by less than 100 words so I know what that last minute push is like. It doesn't have to be polished though ;).

    I second whichever Seeker mentioned the laser printer. We got our Brother for about $75 during back to school sales. A cartridge will print 1000s of pages for a penny or less a page. And when the cartridge 'runs out' you can put a little piece of tape over the window that the laser uses to tell if it's full or empty and get a bunch more pages out of it [the small cartridge that comes with it when you buy it was supposed to give me about 1000 pages. After about 1200 it told me to change it. I got another 1000 with the tape on it before it started streaking]. So so much cheaper than an ink jet [even if the expenses tend to be a bit bigger at one time].

    Gotta take the 9yo to the dermatologist. Pray she has answers for us and preferably that the answers don't include a significant food allergy :p.

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  29. Oh. And Panera. 8 hours at a time. With earbuds and Pandora.

    Does wonders for productivity ;).

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  30. Wonderful blog, Debby. I prefer getting the manuscript done ahead of my deadline, but as an unpublished writer, I'm curious to know if the submission often ends up on someone else's desk until the deadline.

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  31. That's one thing I'm working on for 2011...more scheduled writing time:) Working on a manuscript for a contest right now...so definitely working on that! I work good with deadlines, even though I get a bit harried:( Reminds me of University staying up till 3 or 4 in the morning getting that paper done:( Trying to plan ahead now! I manage to sit down whenever I can and write...and pray a lot. Our 4 children help with housework and cooking...so very blessed to have help:)
    Thanks for all your advice and words of wisdom...will take that to heart!
    Would love to be entered for a chance to win your book and the Starbucks certificate:)

    blessings,
    Lorna
    lornafaith(at)gmail(dot)com

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  32. Great post, Debby!

    Vince, I was one of those up-all-night-the-night-before typing the paper types!! ALWAYS! And that was in the day of electric typewriters where you had to pop in and out the correction cartridge! Took forever.

    And I always said to myself that I would never do it again. I would start early next time. HA!

    But somehow, a contract makes a big difference, even over worrying about grades. I don't put things off any more. I can't!

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  33. Great post. I need to put a deadline on myself for my latest WIP, but haven't yet. Think it might help push me harder. ;) I enjoyed all the tips from you all!

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  34. Debby,

    So glad you posted today. I was trying to figure out your e-mail addy to tell you I LUVED "Protecting Her Child." So glad you are making your deadlines so we can read your "stuff."

    I have a couple things on meeting nonfiction deadlines. One is that I have paid an editor and told them when to expect it, therefore creating an early deadline. I get it back from them, make a few changes, and send it off.

    One of my problems is never feeling something is good enough and editing the life out of it. So if I have a professional waiting for it, then I don't worry if it isn't perfect. It's an expensive option for fiction, though, and I haven't done it. I have had my aunt waiting for it and a mentor, but they have both passed away.

    In meeting my nonfiction book deadline, I had to face how distracting my darling kids can be :) When someone offered to take them, I would accept. Not feeling guilty that I should be able to concentrate while they were under foot. Little distractions can be so time-consuming, for me, and make it hard for me to get back on track.

    I also tend to get frozen on word choice so I will set a timer for 10 minutes and have to have written at least a paragraph by then. It keeps me moving and wakes me up to how much time is passing.

    I'd love to win the book or gift card.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

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  35. Sorry to be gone so long this morning. I was at church doing some of the ministry I mentioned earlier. :)

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  36. I missed you, Sandra, as well. Missed everyone. That's one of the hardest parts about being on deadline...I have to "hibernate," as Cheryl mentioned.

    Glad you like the bread pudding. Anything Ina makes is yummy!

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  37. Hi Lindi,

    You're a busy woman--full-time job, family, president of the ACFW WORD group, plus writing! Your plate is full! And I don't mean with bread pudding! :) How do you get everything done?

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  38. Hi Diana,

    Did you enjoy all those Georgia snow days? Hope you got a lot of writing done.

    You're another busy, busy lady. Diana started a local WORD chapter, plus has a full-time teaching job, full-time mommy job, and writing. WHEW! You're amazing.

    How do you juggle all those hats you wear?

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  39. Patsy, the coffee is wonderful. Thank you, Helen!

    Sounds like you might fit in the Ruth, Mary, Cheryl category. Those girls get their books done in a snap, which always impresses me.

    It's that tortoise and hare thing...I'm always the slow poke! :)

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  40. Great post, Deb! Great comments all! Its amazing how we are all different.

    Although I am like Erica...pathological about deadlines. LOL! Love it.
    C

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  41. Hi Kirsten!

    You wrote about adreline getting the creative juices flowing. I agree! But I don't want to have a panic attack. :) And there's always so much to do just to get the file off the computer and into the mail, which takes time at the end of the writing process.

    Self-imposed deadlines are a great tool! I need to follow your excellent example.

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  42. Hi Laura!

    Thanks for a heads up about the chat tomorrow.

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  43. Hi Kav!

    Oh, don't get hives because of us. Please!

    Hearing how the other Seekers handle the stress, makes me realize I'm not too different, after all. No matter how organized we are and how far ahead of schedule we complete the manuscript, we always fret before it gets in the mail. Guess that's human nature.


    Often as I'm printing off the entire manuscript, I wonder how I managed to complete the book. Writing a full-length novel is an amazing undertaking.

    Congrats to everyone who has typed "The End," whether the story is published or not. Feel proud of your accomplishment. Many people talk about writing a novel. Few people actually do!

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  44. Audra, prayers for your January 31 deadline!

    Prayers and hugs!

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  45. Janet,

    Sounds like you think the way I do. From the moment the deadline is set, that date is etched in my mind. Everything I do or plan to do is weighed against getting the story written.

    I'm praying for your deadline, too!

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  46. Hi Runner!

    The fruit pizza is yummy and brings calm. Like Janet's chocolate.

    I keep thinking of Missy's Monday post on broccoli vs. chocolate. That stuck with me! :) I'm trying to choose broccoli, but....

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  47. Julie,
    I marvel at your books and the amount of work that must in involved in weaving such wonderful stories.

    How long do you have to write your 500 pages?

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  48. Erica,
    Get on Mary's side of the island, okay? Three weeks ahead of time? You're amazing.

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  49. Deadlines. The word takes me back to my college days when I was a mass communication/print journalism major and had articles due for the school newspaper. I met my deadlines then, and I will meet them now--provided I have enough shortbread, sweet tea, and Taco Bell to sustain me.

    Don't ask me about the all-nighters I pulled to complete my term papers on time, though. I like to think I'm older and wiser. Well, I am older at least. =)

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  50. Earbuds, Joanne?

    A new type of flower?

    Just kidding!

    Remember I've been hibernating so my social skills might not be up to par! :)

    I like quiet, as well. Or soft music.

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  51. Melanie,
    I agree about frozen chicken. I get the bags of tenders, toss them into a skillet with peppers and onions and garlic and serve with as a wrap. Quick and easy. Great for when a deadline is looming.

    Mel, do tell us more about the novella! Pretty please!

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  52. Maybe my next blog should be Deadline Recipes? Anyone have a quick and easy meal idea to share?

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  53. Melanie,

    Being digital saves you a lot of money...paper, ink, mailing. It all adds up!

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  54. Carol,
    Prayers for your little one! Keep us posted!

    Congrats on the NANO wins! I'm putting you on Mary and Cheryl's side of the island.

    Thanks for the info about your laser printer. I'm an Ink Jet gal and have never considered changing. Now, I'm having second thoughts.


    Are there other laser users in Seekerville?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Carol,
    I was at Panera's yesterday with Grammar Diva Darlene Buchholz. We talked writing and brainstormed and laughed and ate and prayed and had so much fun...a little gift I gave myself for getting the book done! :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi Callie,

    I'm not sure which house you're targeting, but at Love Inspired Books, AKA Steeple Hill, the assistants open the mail and log the submissions into the publisher's computer tracking system. The proposal or manuscript then goes to the requesting editor.

    That's not to say the editor won't ask the assistant to read the incoming proposal. But I do believe the requesting editor always reads the submission, as well.

    Anyone else want to jump in here with info about other houses?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi Lorna,

    You're in the drawing!

    Four children...no wonder you're up late!

    Before I published, I found it hard to justify writing if it took time away from the family. I think that's a pretty common problem for most of us. Anyone else agree?

    A deadline means I have to get the writing done. It's a commitment and a job, which gives me "permission" to write and take time away from the family.

    Not sure if I've explained that the right way. Before publication, I often felt guilty to put my own need to write ahead of my family. Everything changed after my first sale.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I admit, I ALWAYS put off school research papers until the last possible weekend. Mainly it was because I couldn't care less about the topic (they were usually assigned, or I got stuck with the one no one else wanted).

    And those little research note cards we were supposed to fill out just so, one idea per card, bibliographical details in perfect order? Puleeeze!

    As for editorial deadlines, I'm like Erica--ALWAYS early. I'm fanatical about that.

    On the other hand, I've been pretty fortunate so far not to have been given a deadline that really put me under the gun. If/when that ever happens, I'll be referring to this post for ideas on how to cope!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hi Missy!

    Regarding Vince's comment...I don't think any of us put off writing the book. Often other things need to be done and we can sacrifice a bit of our time when we've got a long deadline. For me, four months from contract to completion allows me to have a life and not be chained to my computer...at least, until the last few weeks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I remember thinking, in college that I could write a ten page report on any subject in a couple of hours.

    But I thought EVERYONE could. Isn't that the main thing they teach you in college? How to go on at length regardless of whether you have anything to say?

    Or is it just me???

    ReplyDelete
  61. Which reminds me, I took a writing class in college, not sure what the class was exactly, but we had to write a radio drama. An interesting exercise because it's all verbal. No visual and it needs to be acted out verbally. I had a narrator but mostly it needed to be the voices of characters talking to each other, it uses different techniques than a book or a tv script.

    I wrote a play about a serial killer.

    What is wrong with me???

    ReplyDelete
  62. Also, my writing background is in journalism. I took radio/tv/newspapers.

    And I worked at a newspaper, a tiny small town weekly. the word DEADLINE has a pure emphasis on DEAD.

    No give in that world. The presses need to roll on time.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hi Cathy,
    So glad you liked PROTECTING HER CHILD. I enjoyed writing the story and, as I recall, got it to my editor ahead of schedule! :)

    I suffer from that perfectionism you mentioned. Having a deadline does mean the work HAS to be sent in whether I'm 100% satisfied with what I've written or not.

    Usually, authors are asked to do some revisions, which provides another opportunity to tweak the story.

    I try to remember the editors want the story to be the best it can be...we're all working together on the project.

    Love your 10 minute tip! I keep a timer on my desk and set it for 30 minutes of non-stop writing when I'm stuck.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hi Cheryl,

    I keep laughing about the rug outside your office door! Sounds like your MIL is a luv! I know your girls are, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Hi Debby:

    I have this fear that there is a writer’s personality and if you don’t have it, you may never get published.

    It seems so many writers loved to tell stories as children. They wrote stories and plays. They read books all the time. They liked writing term papers and they were early on their deadlines. What if this does not describe you? Writing is hard enough without having your very personality working against you!

    Audra: you give me hope!

    Also: the first romance author I even met came about this way. She had a very unusual last name. I met her father first one day in business and I asked if his wife was the romance author who wrote the book I’d just read.

    “No, that’s my daughter, I’m afraid to say. I’m still trying to live down that stupid book.”

    This was not what I expected. When I met the daughter I told her I’d read her book. (It was in the local authors’ section of the bookstore.)

    “Oh, please don’t talk to me about that book. I spent years on that book. Here’s the truth: don’t write a romance if you live in a small town! I’ll never put myself through that again.”

    This was in 1982. The book theme was “Having His Baby” before marriage! It was a Harlequin.

    I just wonder: does anyone know the dropout rate of first time published authors? I expect that it would really help to write Christian romances! At least then you’d have a mission.

    Debby: I can’t find your new book on eHarlequin yet. Do you think it will be available for download on February first? I hate to wait!

    I have high hopes for your military series. I think you’ll find that the best heroes are in the military. I need a second source because it seems like forever between the “Wings of Refuge” books. (If everyone is beating their deadlines, why not more them all up a few months?! :))

    Vince

    P.S. No artificial deadline ever fooled me!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Keli,
    Are you still floating? You'll be on deadline soon. Bet you'll handle it like a pro.

    Taco Bell? Really?

    ReplyDelete
  67. Myra, I'm surprised about you being a Just In Time girl during college! In fact, I'm shocked!

    What would the Grammar Queen say about procrastination?

    I hated doing 3X5 cards, as well.

    And college topics? For creative writing, I once compared the various types of toilet paper. Loved writing that one. My creativity earned me an A+! :)

    Maybe a topic for a future blog?

    Okay, maybe not.

    ReplyDelete
  68. It's just you, Mary.

    But we love you anyway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  69. Mary, I love serial killers.

    Not in real life, of course.

    Plus, you've written plays.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I would love to be entered in the giveaway today, Debby. I am a big fan of Starbucks and I have never read any of your books before so I would love to be the winner:) Thanks so much!

    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  71. Debby, I'm a total Taco Bell addict. I was there yesterday, in fact. The staff knows me quite well and shared in my excitement when I told them my news.

    Taco Bell has fueled my creativity for years. I figure a crunchy taco is just the thing to scarf down when I'm facing Crunch Time. =)

    ReplyDelete
  72. Vince,

    Too bad about the small town author who didn't like her own work. Or maybe she couldn't take the raised eyebrows from the gossips in town. Publishing under another name would have helped.

    Drop out rate for authors? Not sure how many write one book and never sell again. Margaret Mitchell comes to mind. :)

    Actually, I've know a number of writers who stopped writing after three or four books. Probably because they didn't earn out...meaning they didn't sell enough books to cover their advance so the publisher didn't offer them another contract.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but publishing is a tough business. There's always someone more talented waiting to take an author's place. Readers change, publishers change, books are rejected, authors stop writing...

    That's why I'm grateful for every contract! And that's why most of us are always asking for prayers.

    Move up our deadlines? It's nice to have a little wiggle room, just in case something unforeseen happens.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Vince,

    Thanks for your interest in my next book. The Advance Sales will probably start a couple months ahead of the May release. Not sure about ebooks.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Hi Charity!
    Thanks for stopping by today. You're in the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Taco Bell and Crunch Time! That's thinking outside the bun for sure!

    In honor of Keli Gwyn's sale, Taco Bell is providing lunch today!

    Tacos and burritoes! Refried beans! Spanish rice! Nachos!

    I'm having a Beefy Crunch Burrito and nachos!

    Thanks, Keli, for the great suggestion!

    ReplyDelete
  76. This post is soooo interesting. Guess we readers just don't realize what all you writers go through....just so thankful for each one of you!!!!! Blessings on you!!
    jackie.smithATdishmailDOTnet

    ReplyDelete
  77. Mary - it's not just you ;). I took an independent study course one semester. I'd had the prof like 4-5xs before and we did everything via email. I had papers due at midnight every other week. I think they were about 3-5 pages. I can't tell you how many times I started at about 1030-11 ;). Of course, because I'd had him so many times before, I knew exactly what he wanted. That helped.

    DD9's appointment went well. It's 'just' excema as opposed to a food allergy [like gluten] or something. The doc did change one of the topical meds [I needed a new one anyway] and her soap/lotion/laundry detergent/etc. Spent 60 bucks on all of it :p. If it works, it's so worth it though [and this probably the only time we'll have to buy it all at once - I mean 96 loads of laundry take a long time to do ;)].

    Hoping I can make some progress... Self imposed/Novel Track deadline means I need like 30K by the end of the month. Would like to have enough of those in one MS to finish it. Doubt 30K will finish both of the rough drafts I'd hoped to have done this month but that's okay =D. I did let DH go play poker Monday [and missed my Bible study because they got home late :p], so I'm hoping Panera is in my future for Saturday...

    Back to it...

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

    ReplyDelete
  78. It is amazing how many things can be deleted from our everyday lives when we are really pushed. But, I guess that is the ebb and flow of life.

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  79. I brought chocolate - Ghiradelli 60% of course - I think all of you need it!

    Every time I stop by here for my daily fix I'm just amazed at what you guys do! Thanks so much, Debby, for the blog on deadlines. I'm so new in my writing career that the word hadn't even made it into my consciousness yet! I'm so happy when I finish each chapter of my WIP that I'm not even looking beyond to actually sending it to a publisher to read....

    And Kudos to all of you who juggle jobs and families and writing! I put off serious writing until my youngest two are almost ready to graduate - I've been channeling all of my creative energy into homeschooling for the last 13 years, and into raising toddlers before that. I can't imagine trying to do this back then! I guess I'm not as much of a multi-tasker as I thought I was :)

    Thanks again for the visit!

    Jan

    ReplyDelete
  80. LOVED your post, sweet Debby! Reading how you and other Seekers handle deadlines has motivated and given me some great suggestions as I work on my Genesis entry! Thanks so much.
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

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  81. Jackie,
    You are SO sweet! Cyber hugs coming your way.

    For all our moaning and groaning, I hope you know we love being able to write and feel so grateful to have our books published...and we love readers.

    Part of the problem for writers is what Cathy mentioned. We want to get it right...that perfectionism again. We want to give our readers the best book possible. When we have to rush to make a deadline that troubles us.

    I bet I speak for all the Seekers when I say that we want to make each story better than the last one. We want to improve our craft and style. We want to dig deeper to develop characters and plots that will impact our readers in a positive way.

    Sometimes we get emails from readers that say how our books have touched them. That makes all the hard work worthwhile.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Carol,
    Glad all went well at the doctor's office. My daughter is prone to rashes. Her latest cream cost $200! YIKES!!! Luckily the doctor had a rebate card for half the amount. She's a teacher and has insurance, but the coverage on prescriptions has gone down.

    We use All Free for laundry. And Downy Free Fabric softener. Both seem to help.

    Hope you have a Panera Saturday! :)

    ReplyDelete
  83. Hi Eva Maria!

    Yes, we delete and then have to catch up! That's a challenge, as well. :)

    ReplyDelete
  84. I'm trying to rewire my brain not to wait until the last minute. I figure if I can conquer that in my writing, it will roll over to the rest of my life. Sounds backwards? Maybe, but it's easier for me to apply to writing, where it's solely up to me, than to family chores or work projects or other things where I rely on others.

    I've got a ways to go.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Hi Jan,

    I put my writing on hold until my children were older, Jan, and am always amazed at the women who have young children and write.

    Homeschoolers also amaze me!

    So glad you've joined us in Seekerville. Congrats on your writing success! You're headed toward publication.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Thanks for the chocolate, Jan! I did need it! And it's so much better than broccoli, despite what Missy thinks! :)

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  87. Fingers crossed for your Genesis entry, Patti Jo! And good luck to all those entering contests this year. Hope we have lots of wins in the Seekerville community!

    Hugs and love!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Patricia,

    You're right about writing being a solitary profession. Everything depends on us...and God, of course.

    The sun is shining in Georgia, and I'm heading outside to take a walk. Need to think about my next proposal. I'm not on deadline, but the clock is ticking, and I need to write three chapters and a synopses or there won't be a Book 3 in my Military Investigations Series. Right now, I have a hero, Jamison Steele; an unnamed heroine; an idea for an opening; a closing; and a rough picture of my villin. Might be a long walk!

    I'm open to suggestions for the heroine's name...?

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  89. Debby -

    That's actually what I bought.

    The doc had said 'no fabric softener/dryer sheets' but I figured I'd try the 'free' one.

    200 bucks? Ouch. Fortunately, the new Rx [which was replacing a tube that was nearly empty anyway] was only 10 bucks with our insurance.

    /sigh/

    Imagination is a good thing.
    Imagination is a good thing.
    Imagination is a good thing.
    Imagination is a good thing.
    Imagination is a good thing.

    I'm reminding myself of this b/c the 3yo just wandered into my room in just his diaper... Why? He's going swimming. Did anyone tell him we're supposed to get 5" of snow by tomorrow?

    /sigh/

    ReplyDelete
  90. Hi Debby:

    About that romance author: she loved her book and she was so proud of it she would not use a pen name! If I were her father, I would have told her I was very proud of her – even if I hated the book.

    Is finally getting the ‘call’ like losing a lot of weight on a diet? You still have all the same problems in your life and maybe even more! Yikes!

    Vince

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  91. Carol,
    Our dermatologist recommended the Downy free liquid. Before that I used Bounce, but those sheets are supposedly hard on skin. Who knew?

    Three year old and swimming despite the cold. Don't you love kids?

    ReplyDelete
  92. Vince,
    I agree. Daddy should have been proud of his daughter.

    Getting "The Call" is one of the most thrilling things that has ever happened to me. Other than birthing my babies, of course. And marrying hubby.

    Especially because we work long and hard and never know if we'll make it to publication. So having that validation is extra sweet.

    Then other challenges appear on the horizon, but they don't negate the shear joy of having an editor want to buy your book.

    I was overwhelmed with gratitude...still am, really. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Am I a writer? It still seems like a dream come true.

    In spite of deadlines.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Hi Debby,

    Thanks for reminding me about the ticking clock...

    Jan

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  94. Beautiful ladies in those photos!

    I was on a deadline (of sorts) yesterday, so missed Cheryl's fun. Will go back and read. :)

    Deadlines work well for me, when I set and stick to them. Learned some great tips from the masters today. Thank you!

    I like that "Go Away" mat too! ha!

    Yes - would love to read your latest book! (No Starbucks here - *gasp*)

    may at maythek9spy dotcom

    ReplyDelete
  95. Actually, Debby, I meant once you're published.

    At my day job (a university) when we submit grant proposals early (or anything else with a deadline), it never helps because the person receiving knows they have extra time and sit on the grant until closer to the deadline. So submitting ahead of time still ends up with last-minute panic because someone else in the process holds it.

    Just curious if publishing can be a similar type of situation.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Hey, Deb, just got home and saw your question about how long does it take me to write a 500-page book.

    It's been pretty much all over the map due to life.

    Took me eight months on A Passion Most Pure (working part-time), TWO months on A Passion Redeemed (and that was working part-time!!), nine months on A Passion Denied (due to a unexpected surgery setback) and nine months for both A Hope Undaunted and A Heart Revealed, but that includes 2-3 months of editing/crit partners reading it.

    All in all, I'd say the average to actually "write" a 500-page book for me is about six months with two-three months editing tacked on for a grand total of about eight to nine months.

    Seems slow to LI authors, I know, but if the average LI is about 200 pages, then GOSH, I'm writing 2-1/2 books every six months, which makes me feel like Mary Connealy ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  97. Hi KC!

    Thanks for the comment about the pics. I wanted to highlight the Seekers since their input added greatly to this blog. RWA registration opened yesterday so I thought the conference pics would be fun to include.

    Can you tell we always have a great time when we get together? Plus, we love gathering with all the Seeker blog friends at the end of each day...those moments together make the conferences even more special.

    Hope you can join us soon!

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  98. Sorry, Callie, my mistake.

    I have a gut feeling that the editors schedule when they'll review each manuscript. In other words, they have their own deadlines. So...submitting early won't necessarily push the book through the publishing process any more quickly. Although it could give the editor a larger window of time in which to review the work.

    Some publishers hire freelance editors to do the edits. So what you are suggesting could play out with the submission going to a different freelancer. But that's just a rambling thought and nothing I know for sure.

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  99. Julie, seems I recall the two months you had on book 2. How did you survive? How did your hubby survive?

    So you're given about 8-9 months from contract to completion. That doesn't provide much free time, does it?

    Actually LI and LIS run close to 300 pages. This last book was 296 pages, not including the Dear Reader letter and Reader Questions. LIH would be slightly longer.

    You're in the "hare" group with Mary and Cheryl, for sure. Ruthy too!

    You rock, girlfriend!

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  100. Debby, Great post! Truly look forward to the time I have a deadline from an editor, but when that time comes, your suggestions will come in handy.

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  101. Hi Julie & Debby:

    I think they are making LI and LIS shorter these days.

    For example, “Killer Headline” is listed at 224 pages at Amazon as is the LI “The Rancher’s Reunion” and “The Rocky Mountain Hero”.

    I’m holding “Made for Each Other” by Irene Brand in the large print and it has 284 pages including everything. It is a LI.

    LI and LIS books can be tricky to gage because they can make the type size smaller. I know because the larger type is just 20% larger than the regular edition. Well some larger type books are too small for me to read while some other larger type books are large enough for me to read. This is why I know this stuff.

    But I don’t think 100 pages in one book is necessarily equivalent to 100 pages in another book. I am reading “A Hope Undaunted” right now and I am amazed at how complicated the series is becoming, with its cast of characters, even at just 25% into the book.

    When there are more major characters (with histories to account for) and a considerably more complicated plot (as in a 500 page book), then I think there is a significant difference in the writing experience.

    For example: a 160 page romance (Medical Romance) may have a limited plot and be like juggling three balls in the air at the same time. If you go to a much more complicate plot, and greater cast of characters, then it could well be like juggling 6 balls in the air at the same time.

    As such, I would expect that the difficulty or complexity of writing a book will increase with each additional book in the series. This would likely make more revisions necessary with each addition book added to the series.

    But then, this is just a philosophical theory. : )

    Vince

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  102. Oh my gosh, Debster, this peek into the writing window sounds so real!

    I love that while we all handle deadlines differently, we all push through to get things done. That says a lot for a bunch of DIVAS, LOL!

    Had to work extra today so couldn't pop in often, and I miss you guys when that happens!

    Loving the coffee. The food's gone but that's my own fault and no time to bake today. Which means I'm probably a little grumpy.

    Or a lot grumpy.

    And I'm hungry.

    But enough about me. (this is my sorry and lame attempt at humility)

    Deb pointed out the importance of allowing extra time when you know something or someone will encroach on your writing time or your deadlines. New babies, family problems, illness....

    Work ahead of the curve so nothing throws you a curve!

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  103. I try very hard not to leave my work to the last minute because I'm always afraid of getting a headache or some sort of emergency. I hate last minute stress!

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  104. I loved this post, because I find it completely fascinating how other writers "do it". It makes me feel a little more normal and it gives me hope! And then sometimes I go...Ahhhh, so that's the secret! lol

    ReplyDelete
  105. YIKES! No time before work to check into Seekerville this morning, so I'm LATE!

    No, I was never a procrastinator in high school or college nor am I now. I only have 90 minutes a day to write--and writing a quality book just takes a long time with that kind of limited schedule.

    As a newbie author, I'm still learning how long it takes me to come up with a solid book concept, write a full proposal (3 chapters and a 12-15 page synopsis), scene storm, write the entire book, and then do self-revisions, layering & polishing at the end before it ever goes to my agent & editor.

    And--almost forgot--there's the art fact sheet, reader questions and reader letter added into the the mix as well! And copy edits and galleys to work into the timeline from the PREVIOUS book. And promotional blogs, correspondence with readers, book signings, etc.

    But with each book I write I learn so much about the process--and now that I know what to expect, I'm much better able to work in all the "peripheral" stuff around the actual writing of the manuscript.

    Thanks for a great post, Debby!

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  106. VINCE SAID:
    As such, I would expect that the difficulty or complexity of writing a book will increase with each additional book in the series. This would likely make more revisions necessary with each addition book added to the series.

    WOW!!! A light bulb just went off in my head, my good man, because you explained something to me that I did NOT understand. I felt like I was getting worse as a writer with each book because book 1 A Passion Most Pure almost had NO revisions/changes to it, which as a newbie, I thought was the norm. Book 2 A Passion Redeemed had a few more, but by the time I got to book 3 A Passion Denied with lots of plots going on, OMIGOSH!!!! We're talkin' bleeding red!! And don't even get me started on A Hope Undaunted. But the killer was A Heart Revealed with MASSIVE revisions, so naturally I thought I was getting worse as a writer, not better.

    But YOU, my dear friend, just nailed it. My books are like a snowball rolling down a hill, where each gets a little thicker, a little more dense and complicated just by the addition of more and more plots for more and more people until I have this HUGE, bulky almost unmanageable snowball.

    So THANK YOU, Vince, for your very analytical and philosophical mind because you made me feel a WHOLE lot better about why it takes me so freakin' long to write a book.

    I have already promised my husband that the next series will be shorter (350-400 pages vs. 500) and a new family each trilogy with way less subplots. Mmmm ... I might be able to crack out two of those puppies a year, maybe ... :)

    And, I know some LIs are long because I've seen them, but I checked the three LIs I have sitting on my counter right now, Deb, to make sure I was in the neighborhood on page count and ironically, they were all around 200-220 pages, so that's were I got that number.

    Oh, and Deb, Revell actually gives me a year between deadlines, so I'm going to revise my writing time to about nine months with three months to proof/edit, give or take a few months.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. Great post! I am bookmarking this post for quick access when, one day, I am writing on deadline! :-)

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  108. You have nine books? I thought I had them all and I only have five. You've written two more. That makes seven. I need to figure out what I'm missing.

    I know I have Countdown to Death, so I don't need to be entered in the drawing for that.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Hi Pat!

    You're a potter! Love your pic! And what you do.

    Also loved the look of your blog. The Ponderers! Too cool!

    I have a feeling you WILL have a deadline soon! :)

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  110. Vince,
    I'm with you. The stories Julie writes are amazing. She weaves so much into each book and each relationship. And 500 pages is a lengthy novel.

    I like to write short so putting that many pages into one story would have see seeing double! :)

    LIS and LI decreased their word count at least a year or more ago to 50 - 55,000 words. I believe they had been about 65,000-70,000.

    Also, the printed page in the book does not necessarily equate to one typed page on the computer.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Julie,
    So glad Vince helped you out! How could you think your writing wasn't getting stronger? Silly girl! :)

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  112. Hi Pam!

    You will have deadlines!

    Repeat after me...

    I will have deadlines...I will have deadlines...I will have deadlines!

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  113. Hi Ruthy,
    I saved you some tacos and refried beans. They're in the fridge! Taco Bell did a great job with lunch.

    We missed you! Thanks for stopping by at the end of your long, long work day!

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  114. Cara,
    Ditto the last minute stress! On this last book, I had peace during the entire time...okay, one little semi-panic attack, which lasted about 30 minutes. Other than that, I was calm, cool and collected. :)

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  115. Sherrinda,
    I always learn something new in Seekerville. Love that we share info and tips and techniques. Glad this blog helped! :)

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  116. Glynna,
    Thanks for your great input in your comment and in the section you sent me for the actual blog.

    Glad you mentioned all the other "deadlines" that pop up as we're working on our current WIP. Often the revisions or Art Fact Sheet need to be back to the editor within just a few days, which pulls us away from the book.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Walt,
    You're wonderful! Thanks for reading my books. Okay, I'm going to recount! :)

    ReplyDelete
  118. Nevermind. I do have them all. I just miscounted what I have.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Walt,
    I did a recount.
    I'm at 9 books. I promise.

    Nowhere to Hide
    Scared to Death
    MIA: Missing in Atlanta
    Countdown to Death
    Protecting Her Child
    Christmas Peril
    Killer Headline

    Not yet published:
    The Officer's Secret - May 2011
    The Captain's Mission - Oct 2011

    WHEW! You had me worried. :)

    ReplyDelete
  120. You really can't compare one book's number of PAGES to another book's number of pages for an accurate estimate on length. Publishers use different font sizes, dimensions, margin formats, etc. You have to go by word count.

    Word Count for Harlequin Love Inspired:

    Love Inspired (contemporary) 55-60,000 words

    Love Inspired Suspense 55-60,000 words

    Love Inspired Historical 70-75,000 words

    I write LI's and hit the 60K mark (actually have to trim to get there). But my final MANUSCRIPT is actually a little over 300 pages.

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  121. Hey, Debby! I'm just seeing your reply. You asked about my novella. It's really awesome. Three writer friends and I just turned in our proposal. We wrote stories set in 1912 around the sinking of the Titanic. The stories all are happy, even though the sinking of the Titanic was definitely NOT happy! But I'm really excited about them. All of them are very romantic. I hope we get a yes!

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  122. Hey, Debby! I'm just seeing your reply. You asked about my novella. It's really awesome. Three writer friends and I just turned in our proposal. We wrote stories set in 1912 around the sinking of the Titanic. The stories all are happy, even though the sinking of the Titanic was definitely NOT happy! But I'm really excited about them. All of them are very romantic. I hope we get a yes!

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  123. Thanks for a great post, Debby! We, the unpublished wannabes, read your fabulous books and have no idea of the stress that goes on behind of scenes of submission. Thanks for opening my eyes. Jilian2011@hotmail.com for COUNTDOWN TO DEATH and Giftcard entry.

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  124. When I was younger it was so much easier to put myself on deadlines for anything. My planner went with me everywhere I went. Then I got married, aged a few years and the planner went by the wayside more or less and I fly by the seat of my pants and hope I land close to where I am aiming.

    Really enjoyed the posting today. I especially liked the "printer" points, such as Mary Connealy using a printer that has a Fast/Economical setting. I'll have to check my printer out to see if it has a similar setting. I do know my printer 'drinks ink'.

    I'm looking forward to Countdown to Death Debby. Would love to have my name tossed into the hat. :o)

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  125. Loved the post Debby. I use your writer's prayer every day before I begin writing. Thank you for this.

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe
    digging4pearls(at)comcast(dot)net

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  126. Debby;
    I'm in awe of your discipline, your mental acuity and your great writing style. I could hear you saying your post and it's wonderful!
    Thank you for sharing what works - and for putting me on a guilt-trip. :D
    Seriously, I used to work in the same organized way but LIFE got in changed things - illnesses, children, aging parent came to live with and needed to be cared for by us, grandchildren needing an extra set of part-time parents and did I say numerous illnesses? Anyway, I am BACK to writing but it's so much different than before. I grieve for those days of work, work, work and experiencing accomplishments in the same day. I'm not quitting, but the level of difficulty is much higher!
    Again, Thank you for the reminder that it's even possible!
    Reading your work is inspiration as well!

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