Monday, March 9, 2015

Was that a Truck that Hit Me, or a Deadline?



Was that a Truck that Hit Me, or a Deadline?

By Guest Blogger DiAnn Mills 



Two writers vacationed on a yacht when a horrible storm capsized their boat. The two grabbed pieces of wood from the debris and floated for three days until they reached a small island. They lay on the beach, gasping for air and staring up at the hot sun.


Were no better than before, one writer said. We just prolonged dying.

Im not concerned, the other writer said, and cradled his hands behind his head. Well be found.

How can you be so sure? the first writer said. Were on this island with no food or water.

Relax, wont be long until were found.

Whats your source of information?

Im on deadline. The first writer chuckled. My editor will find me.



I hope you smiled in reading the above. Laughing about a deadline is a huge stress reliever, but a plan to finish a manuscript on time eliminates worry and loss of creativity. The statistics for writers who are late and request extensions is far greater than those who are punctual. Im not talking about illnesses and tragedies, but writers who fail to use a method of timely completions.

For those who need a fresh approach to deadlines, here is how I handle finishing strong and ahead of my contractual due dates. Its easy, but it does require two essentials: diligence to craft and discipline. With those attitudes, a writer can tackle any writing project with success.

Below are eight steps to meeting a deadline that result in a quality manuscript delivered on time.



1.     When a contract is approved, examine the number of words needed to complete the manuscript. Write this down.

2.     Study your calendar. Subtract two months from the due date. Count the number of working days leading up to the new early due date. Dont count weekends, holidays, vacations, or days you plan to attend writing conferences.

3.     Divide the word count by the number of solid writing days. That figure is the amount of quality words to be written every working day.

4.     Two months before the deadline, a strong draft of the manuscript is finished. Dont look at the book except to send chapters to critique partners. One month before the deadline, complete a line edit and do this in one week.

5.     I suggest using text to voice software like GhostReader for Mac (http://www.convenienceware.com/ghostreader). Other software is available to audibly read the manuscript to the writer. It is an incredible editing tool.

6.     Reread your manuscript and make any needed changes. If you have time reread again.

7.     Compile your manuscript and send it to your editor at least three days early.

8.     Celebrate!

Ive used the above method for the past several years, and Ive never turned in a late manuscript or asked for an extension. Yes, life happens, but with the two-month cushion, your editor will be singing your praises.

Now, take a look at your calendar. Its really your friend.


GIVEAWAY! Today DiAnn will be giving away a copy of her soon-to-be released novel, Double Cross. Please leave a comment letting us know you'd like to entered!

 
Available for Pre-order Now!
FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington—and what she sacrificed to put him away—he is now her best lead.

Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family—even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon.

As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross. 

Bio:
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of Americas Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.







171 comments:

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, DiAnn! We're so glad to have you.

This is a really great way to lay out a working schedule. I need to take note, because I'm always working right up to a deadline, even though I do break the word count down by words per day. For me, revisions and polishing (after my critique partners get hold of the manuscript) always take longer than I expect.

Missy Tippens said...

DECAFF IS ON for our early birds (or should I call y'all the late birds). :)

I'll be back with fully leaded coffee in the morning. :)

CatMom said...

Welcome DiAnn! So happy to have you here in Seekerville.
I'm still smiling at the writer joke you shared. :)
Although unpubbed as yet, I really like your system for making deadlines. I'm going to give it a try for my self-imposed deadlines - - sounds like a great approach to help with being disciplined.
Thanks again for sharing with us - - you are an amazing author (and I loved your workshop at ACFW several years ago too!).
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Marianne Barkman said...

Love the blurb on the new novel. I'm so frustrated at both telemarketers and solicitors that prey on our seniors. Obviously they are getting someone to fall for their scams or they would starve. I'm looking forward to reading your next novel. And I loved your post. Again, if we relate it to our life, it helps us all.

Vince said...

Hi DiAnn:

I think you have an ideal system for the planning of deadline competition.

However I have a different problem with deadlines.

If you cut grass for four hours then at the end of those four hours you will have cut four hours worth of grass.

If you write for four hours at the end of those four hours you may have written nothing useful. You may even have lost ground if you discovered problem areas that need revisions.

I call this the ternary of the blank page.

My question to all published writers is this:

By the time you are published and have genuine publisher deadlines, are you to the point where you can count on getting four hours of useful writing completed in four hours?

Please place my name in the running for a copy of your new book.

Vince

Helen Gray said...

This is my kind of planning.

Thanks for sharing with us.

The coffee pot is brewing.

Kara Isaac said...

Thanks for the great tips, DiAnn. I'm currently in the middle of developmental edits for one book and drafting a second. I'm quickly learning "but I don't feel like it" doesn't work anymore!

I' love to be in the draw to win a copy of your new title :)

Cindy W. said...

Hi DiAnn! Thank you for the wonderful post and sharing how you meet your deadlines. This is a keeper post.

I loved the writer's joke too! :)

I am looking forward to reading your new book Double Cross, would LOVE to win a copy.

Blessings to everyone today. You all have a great week and go forth and Speedbo!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

The Artist Librarian said...

"Double Cross" sounds like something my mom would enjoy --please add me to the drawing!

Hmm ... If I apply this method to my final project, I'm realizing I should start on it already ... If only I didn't have other things due next week. =P

Diligence and discipline. Yes, I think I just need to buckle down and get to it, eh? =)

Hmm --good point, Vince!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

DiAnn welcome!!!! So nice to have you here, inspiring so many. Bless you for taking the time to do that!

I'm dropping off cookies to start the week since we're all (well, except the state of most of Arizona, and I don't get that at all) operating on skewed clocks this week while our bodies adjust!

Frosted sugar cookies, homemade, perfect with Helen's coffee!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, great question...

I write in 1-2 hour spurts, then break for a while, then come back. On work days, I start at 3:30 AM, wake up, grab coffee, and actually start writing around 4:15 and then go until 6:15 and then get ready for day job. Four hours would burn my creativity, I would start writing drivel, I think. But I can do 6 hour writing days as long as I break between the sprints/sessions. And that's about 5-6K depending on the scene and what I've planned mentally.

Dana R. Lynn said...

And another great Seekerville post bookmarked!

Thanks Diann for this awesome post. I'm still pretty new to this career, so I really appreciate it when an experienced writer shares her experience. Especially one that can potentially reduce stress.

Please include me in the drawing. The book looks incredible.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Good morning, DiAnn. I'm so glad you stopped by to share your wisdom with us.

I'm unpublished, but I had a taste of meeting deadlines in a contest that I entered last year. The contest was broken down into four stages and with each advancement there were strict deadlines to meet. I discovered that I work better on a deadline that is set by an editor, vs a deadline that I set myself. :)

Mary Hicks said...

You made my first smile for the day—thanks, DiAnn!

I like your writing plan—makes sense. I do the Ruthy thing, getting up early to work. But I take short breaks often.
Many years ago an art teacher told me that I would accomplish more if I took a thirty minute break for every two hours I worked.

I pretty much keep this schedule throughout the day.

But sometimes I have to set a timer. Three or four hours can pass before you know it! :-)

Working on my ACFW entry today... :-)

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome, DiAnn! Thank you for sharing your approach to deadlines.
The only experience I've had with deadlines has been with contests. I seem to work better with a deadline than when I have unlimited time.

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOVE THAT STORY!!! Welcome DiAnn!

I'm in PST time so not late, just on Pacific Ocean Time.

Tina Radcliffe said...

"By the time you are published and have genuine publisher deadlines, are you to the point where you can count on getting four hours of useful writing completed in four hours?"


The answer as you guessed is NO.

Audra Harders said...

DiAnn, thanks for joining us today.

Your post hit such a hot button with me. Meeting deadlines, no matter what the task or situation. Breaking word count down into consistent, manageable chunks is a great reminder. And, for me, I have to load it onto my calendar so those reminders keep reminding me!

Thanks for sharing!

Audra Harders said...

Vince, as always, you've given our minds another option to spin about, LOL. I find using an outline to write against will keep me on track. I've got to get the words down in order to revise them.

Whatcha think?

Audra Harders said...

I'm with Ruthy. I can write for 1-2 hours, completely focused. That gives me approx 1K an hour. Anything more than that, I'm writing drivel.

I wish I could be coherent at 3:30am. I've tried getting up at 4:00am to write before my work day begins, but that's not how my internal clock rolls.

For as much as I grumble about leaving each day for my job, I know I would waste time if I didn't have it. AND my day job gives me so much fodder for books!

kaybee said...

Hi DiAnn,
I read your column in Bonnie Calhoun's magazine. Thank you for your service to other writers.
I'm pretty used to deadlines because of my secular work, which is print journalism, so I THINK I could make one for a contract. But I've never been put to the test because I'm not published yet. This sounds like a good method. I think I'd be okay also because the kids are grown and my husband is very supportive of my inspirational writing and doesn't mind living on hot dogs, or cooking them. As always, it's that pesky day job...Well, we'll see.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

RUTHY,
I love love love frosted sugar cookies. What shape are they?
Kathy Bailey

Loraine Nunley said...

Great advice, DiAnn. I like anything that can help me organize my writing.

Please enter me in the giveaway for DiAnn's book - sounds like a good read!

Speedbo update: I'm still behind for my monthly total, but did keep up with my daily total yesterday.

DiAnn said...

Hi Missy, Early on, Jerry Jenkins instilled in me the importance of meeting deadlines. For the way I work, this system helps me finish strong.
No, decaf-just the real thing. :)

DiAnn said...

Patti Jo, Thanks for the encouragement. Actually, I'm working on a time management spreadsheet. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kaybee, flower-shaped! Welcoming spring!!!

Becky Dempsey said...

Welcome! Sounds like a good idea about meeting deadlines! I think I need caffeine!

DiAnn said...

Marianne, thank you for commenting! I've seen the elderly abused far too many times - physical and emotional.

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning! I'm finally back. Fully leaded coffee is on!

DiAnn said...

Hi Vince, Thanks for posting and I'll try to answer your question.
You asked:
By the time you are published and have genuine publisher deadlines, are you to the point where you can count on getting four hours of useful writing completed in four hours?
My answer is yes. Mind and fingers in gear. I'm not saying that some areas are not difficult and the writer may have to think through a plot line, but it does get easier.

Cara Lynn James said...

DiAnn, wonderful information for those of us who are challenged by looming deadlines!

DiAnn said...

Helen, my coffee is done! Come on over for a cup.

DiAnn said...

Kara, we all have to find our unique methods. This one works for me, but not all writers are the same!

Missy Tippens said...

Patti Jo, trying it with self imposed deadlines is a good idea. I see others have mentioned contest deadlines as well. That's what I used early on, too.

Marianne, her new books sounds good, doesn't it!

DiAnn said...

Cindy, thanks for posting!

DiAnn said...

The Artist Librarian, find what works with your personality.

DiAnn said...

Ruth, I'm envious that you weren't yawning yesterday morning and thought it was too early to go to bed last night. Enjoy your day!

DiAnn said...

Ruth, I could never adhere to your schedule, but I'm glad it works for you!

DiAnn said...

Dana, thanks for posting. I'm always learning too!

DiAnn said...

Rhonda, You've got it! And you understand the value of setting deadlines and following through. Congrats!

DiAnn said...

Mary, thanks for posting, and I'm glad it was worthwhile for you! Have a great day.

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, as to your question: Yes and No.

Some days I can blaze through and have a day's worth of great stuff I can use (once it's revised and polished). Other days, I write stuff that ends up getting cut. So you just never know!

But still, a day's worth of stuff that gets cut (and maybe used piecemeal somewhere else) is still better than not writing at all. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Oops, just discovered Helen had already gotten the coffee started. Thanks Helen! :)

DiAnn said...

Jill, Great! Always set writing deadlines - because you risk getting discouraged.

Missy Tippens said...

Kara, that's so true. I've learned the hard way I can't put it off when I don't feel inspired. Because then the next time I go back to the keyboard, I feel pressured because I'm behind.

I like having my daily count at 1500 words or less. Over that, and I start feeling a bit pressured.

Missy Tippens said...

Blessings to you, too, Cindy W! I hope you have a great day!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

DiAnn, thank you for the advice for those of us who have deadlines to meet. I have done setting the due date earlier when I was in college. All my papers were completed before the due date.
I would like to be entered in the drawing for DiAnn Mills' Double Cross.

DiAnn said...

Tina, you asked - By the time you are published and have genuine publisher deadlines, are you to the point where you can count on getting four hours of useful writing completed in four hours?"
The answer is yes. Determination means the page is never totally empty. Writing can be difficult, but we have to stay at it.

DiAnn said...

Audra, glad I could help! Keep writing.

Missy Tippens said...

Jen, good luck with those projects! It's tough when you have several things due. I hope you can get it all juggled around to fit in!

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, thanks for cookies! I usually adjust to the clock change pretty quickly. But for some reason, today I'm having a hard time getting going!

I think because it was still dark! So weird. Plus, the weather is kind of overcast which made it worse. Of course, you're used to getting up in the dark, so that won't affect you. LOL

Jackie said...

DiAnn, welcome to Seekerville. Thanks for sharing you play to meet deadlines. I learned to be punctual on high school marching band. Our director told us, "To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late." You can't imagine how many times we heard that, and I still don't like to be late for anything.

I'd love to have my name entered in the drawing. Thanks!

I hope you all have a great day of #Speedboing!

DiAnn said...

Kaybee, glad you enjoy the articles for Bonnie. Have a great writing day!

DiAnn said...

Loraine, keep at that daily total. Remember it's a goal!

DiAnn said...

Kelly, You already know the art of keeping an editor happy. Have a great day.

DiAnn said...

Jackie, Gotta love that band director!

Jeanne T said...

What a great post, DiAnn! You're speaking my love language: Planning ahead. I'm not always great at it, but my heart goes pitter-pat when I do it well. :)

Your plan sounds like a very workable one. I've not had to complete a book to deadline yet, but I'm keeping your method in mind for if/when I do.

So, with your way of doing things, I am guessing you've already thought out the book, and probably written synopsis for it?

Missy Tippens said...

Dana, you're so right. We need to find ways to reduce the stress! And staying ahead of deadlines can really help that.

Missy Tippens said...

Rhonda, those contest deadlines certainly were a great way to jump in!

Missy Tippens said...

Mary Hicks, I'm with you. I need timers or else I'll work until I'm so stiff I can hardly get up! But I just love when a scene is going that way, and I'm so involved I don't want to think about anything else. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Jill, I imagine most of us would probably work better with a deadline. It certainly keeps me motivated! And even when I don't feel particularly inspired to write, I find once I get going that the desire comes back.

Maybe writing is "move it or lose it" like a muscle. :)

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Tina. You nailed it on your NO answer. But I'd add that on the bright side, MOST of it on MOST days is useable. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Audra, that's a really good point! If I plan at least a couple of scenes ahead, then I can stay pretty well on track. No chasing little bunny trails. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Kathy B. I love that your hubby is willing to cook! That's great to have that support!

Missy Tippens said...

Loraine, way to go on yesterday's word count!!

How is everyone else coming along??

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, DiAnn is a spreadsheet person just like Pam Hillman! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Becky, I paused in reading comments to go get my coffee. Had to have a boost this morning! I'm not usually this draggy.

Janet Dean said...

DiAnn, great to see you in Seekerville! Thanks for the practical post.

I also divide up the word count by the time I have and add in two months to revise. But, I've never been three days early.

I don't send a draft to my cp because I can't seem to stop revising as I go. And I still have to revise once the story is complete. Some of us have more work to do to get that book up to snuff.

What's the harder part for you--writing the draft or revising it?

Janet

Myra Johnson said...

So nice to have you as our guest, DiAnn! Great tips on how to make sure we meet those deadlines!

I'm fanatical about not being late. In fact, I usually turn my work in much earlier than the deadline. My system sounds a lot like what you recommend, except as a Scrivener user, I can use the built-in word count tool. I set MY deadline (leaving plenty of time for revisions, as you pointed out), then the projected word count, then how many days a week I plan to write. Scrivener keeps a running count of how many words I need to write each day to make that goal.

Wilani Wahl said...

Love this post. I am not to this stage with my writing yet but I hope to be in the future,

I must admit I didn't get any writing done yesterday but hope to make it up today if possible. The day was filled with responsibilities for church. Then someone crushed me with some very unkind words and attitude that I am still unsure what to do or ignore. Anyway I needed tome to commune with the Lord and heal.

Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Cara! How was your weather yesterday? Was it like summer? We were about 75 degrees and sunny here! It was amazing.

Missy Tippens said...

Kelly, I admire the trait of being early! In college, way back in the dinosaur age before computers were used regularly, we had to hand type our papers on the electric typewriter and hand deliver them. I was usually up all night finishing! LOL

Can y'all imagine writing a WHOLE BOOK that way???!!! Oh my goodness.

Missy Tippens said...

Jackie, I've heard others say that! I actually feel a big accomplishment if I'm on time. hahaha My Sunday school class makes fun of me for usually running late. :)

Janet Dean said...

Vince, great question! If I keep my characters' goals in mind, I'm not likely to write scenes I have to scrap. But, since I can't stop revising as I write, I'd have fewer words to show for those four hours of work.

Janet

Missy Tippens said...

Good question, Jeanne! I look forward to hearing her answer.

Missy Tippens said...

Good morning, Janet and Myra!

Myra, I always forget about that Scrivener feature. I need to use it! Although i don't write in Scrivener, only use the cork board for planning. I really do need to try writing in it.

Missy Tippens said...

Wilani, I'm sorry you had a rough day. I'll pray for that healing and for wisdom.

Missy Tippens said...

So here's a QUESTION…

How can we use DiAnn's method to help with Speedbo?

Maybe divide up our goal word count by the number of days left?? :)

Connie Queen said...

DiAnn, it sounds so simple. I like that you take all the excuse days out of the formula. Only takes a minute longer to be truthful w/the number of work day planned instead of "I'll work six days a week..."

Thanks for the post and have a wonderful Monday.

Myra Johnson said...

Seriously, MISSY??? You have Scrivener but you don't WRITE IN IT?????

I think it's time for an intervention!

Carolyne Aarsen said...

Nice to see you here, DiAnn and very important post. I was at a conference where a panel of editors talked about things writers can do to mess up their careers. To a person they all said, 'missing deadlines'. So, yeah, kind of critical. You mentioned Ghost Reader I use this app ALL the time. It's a must for that last, final touch up. Mind-numbingly boring to hear that computer generated voice nattering at you, but it's the very tediousness of it that makes me more critical of unnecessary words and helps me catch mistakes on a manuscript I seem to be able to recite backwards by that point.

Julie Lessman said...

DIANN!!! WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, MY FRIEND, AND WOW ... WHAT AN EXCELLENT POST!!

I have never missed a deadline, but, yes, I am in the statistics for those who have requested an extension, but not often.

But your point #1 was like a bullet between the eyes. It said:

1. When a contract is approved, examine the number of words needed to complete the manuscript. Write this down.

If I had done this sooner, I would not have had to cut 50,000 words from my sixth novel. I never noticed until book 6 that my contract called for 120,000 words, something my editor never enforced on books 1-5 even though they came in at 155,000 to 170,000 words each. By the time the sixth book came out, the legal department at my publisher got involved because obviously bigger books cost more to print and are actually harder to sell, so they finally made me stick to the 120,000 words.

I have to admit, it's been good for me because I've realllly learned how to edit well. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Christina said...

DiAnn, what great tips! I wish I had them when I first signed this contract. The two month cushion has passed, but I'm inspired to keep pushing on and get this story done during SpeedBo. I don't have another contract waiting in the wings, but I do have a book to write. I'll definitely set up my own deadline with your tips in mind. Thanks for sharing!

Debby Giusti said...

DiAnn, love your writing plan! Getting a book done two months ahead is great. How long do you give yourself from contract to deadline?

Missy Tippens said...

Connie, you're so right. Be honest about it! When I sit down with my calendar, I work in some days that I know always happen--days where I don't get to the computer. So I'm very generous when I set up the calendar to allow for off days, sick days, etc. And I don't count Sundays at all.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Myra! I actually took a Scrivener class, too. But was on a deadline and didn't get all the lessons done. I still need to go back and read all that info. Then try the writing.

Okay, you've convinced me! I'll do it on the next mss. If fact, I'll cut and past my current LI proposal into it to use. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Carolyne, that's so true about how we just about know our manuscripts backwards! There is so much I don't catch as I'm reading just because of that. I anticipate the words even!

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Julie, I can't imagine writing all those extra words!

Missy Tippens said...

Chris, good luck meeting the deadline! I can totally relate to the cushion disappearing. :)

Mary Connealy said...

DiAnn!
So orderly.

This is honestly SIMPLE. It's the everyday-ness of it that makes it all work!

Mary Connealy said...

VINCE I 'grow' my manuscript by 1000 words a day...usually seven days a week. And that is inviolable (except when it's not!. But it can also include revisions work, but I don't allow a need to revise to stop the manuscript from growing.

So yes you can write four thousand words and it's all bad, but the next day, if you CUT the four thousand words (and believe me I've done it-well, maybe not 4000 at once, but I've sure cut big chunks) the manuscript STILL NEEDS TO GROW 1000 words. So you have to write 5000.

There, problem solved. LOL

Sarah Claucherty said...

This is a fantastic plan for getting a solid draft complete and submitted on time. It made me consider how to tailor it to other big deadlines, as well.

Thanks for visiting Seekerville! I'm not writing anything right now due to a busy college semester, but I'm cheerleading all month long here in Seekerville. I'd love to be included in the drawing for your book, Diann!

Sarah Claucherty

Vince said...

Hi DiAnn:

You gave me the answer I was praying for!

"By the time you are published and have genuine publisher deadlines, are you to the point where you can count on getting four hours of useful writing completed in four hours?

"My answer is yes. Mind and fingers in gear. I'm not saying that some areas are not difficult and the writer may have to think through a plot line, but it does get easier."


Thanks!

Vince

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

My old boss used to ask: "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"

I think I'd be a day trader in the stock market. : )

I think the question expresses what life is like for writers who know their work is going to be sold and make money.

Did you wake up at 3:30 am before you were published? If you did, you're a writing saint!

I just think the whole world changes when you are very sure your work will be published. Don't you think that is true?

Vince

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

I'd like to be in on the Missy intervention.

I've had Scrivener classes I, II, and III and I'd really like to take I again now that I think I understand it.

Here's the thing: Scrivener is so complex you have to use it and use many of its features often or you will quickly lose them.

Also, you have to train your eyes to all that is going on with the screen. I have so many notes and annotations in my RPP manuscript it is hard read it as a reader would read it. I have to figure a way to get all those notes out of the copy. I'm thinking of setting up a second RPP Scrivener project and pasting just the copy into it as I get it ready. (I may have to use two computers side by side!) Believe me, this is not a simple editing job.

Scrivener: Use it or Lose it.

Vince

Chill N said...

A surprising statistic about more authors missing deadline than meeting it. I never experienced that option in newspaper and magazine writing -- hence my amazement :-)

What does an editor do when a manuscript can't meet deadline and there's no time for an extension? Or do editors build in a cushion of time in case the writer misses deadline? Have you ever had one of your completed books moved up on the publishing calendar because some one else's book didn't meet deadline?

Thanks for sharing!

Nancy C

Myra Johnson said...

SO EXCITED!!!

My author copies of The Oregon Trail Romance Collection just landed on my doorstep! So thrilled to be a part of this collection with Seeker PAM and today's guest, DIANN MILLS!!!

YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Myra Johnson said...

VINCE, I'm sure there are a lot of Scrivener features I've yet to discover, but the ones I do make regular use of are invaluable! I cannot imagine going back to composing in Word!

Vince said...

Hi Audra:

You wrote:

"I find using an outline to write against will keep me on track. I've got to get the words down in order to revise them.

Whatcha think?"


As a plotter I can agree how useful it is to have a plot to show you what to do next. But there is still this problem:

A paragraph or scene can accomplish over a dozen different things for the story*. I've noticed that mega-selling authors can do 8 to 9 different things in one paragraph. This makes their writing very rich. Lee Child for example. And sometimes this is not just the wording. It can be how the scene is approached. I look at a choice Lee Child paragraph and see this thick subway sandwich while my paragraph looks like Pita bread air sandwich!

A plot tells you where to go next. The scene needs to show how best to do that. These are rather different skills.

That's what I think. The more you learn about writing, the harder it gets -- unless you start doing all the right things by habit and not by looking at a checklist. I'm in the checklist phase hoping to become more like a professional writer.

Vince

*You can develop character, use setting to set an emotional tone, foreshadow or mirror events, create a red herring, start an anticipatory even, resolve an AE, add a reader reward, reveal a little backstory, develop a unique speech pattern for a character, use subtext, hint at a future conflict, etc.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, I love that we made you do MATH today!! :) :)

Missy Tippens said...

Sarah, we're glad you're focusing on your studies! And appreciate you cheering us on. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Oh my gosh, Vince! I'm laughing so hard at the pita bread air sandwich comment!!! But I know exactly what you mean!! I've felt that way too!

:) :)

Missy Tippens said...

Yay, Myra, Pam and DiAnn!!! I'm excited about your new book!

Vince said...

Hi Janet:

You wrote:

" If I keep my characters' goals in mind, I'm not likely to write scenes I have to scrap. But, since I can't stop revising as I write, I'd have fewer words to show for those four hours of work."

Yes, but your words are 'crystal clear' and I'd spend many extra hours too if I knew they were going to come out as well. Just keep doing what you are doing. Your books are well worth the wait.

Vince

Missy Tippens said...

Nancy C, I think editors do build in a little cushion. And I've heard of writer friends having books moved up to fill in for one that was late. I think it must be stressful for the publishing company and editors!

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, doesn't Scrivener have a section for notes at the side? You can insert your whole document in Scrivener, then cut and paste the notes over to the side feature. I think.

See! I need to go study more on it. :)

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

About those "Oregon Trail Romance Colletion" books, are they like the "Homestead Brides" book. That is, do they have extra thick paper, scored edges, and flyleaves with full artwork on the inside covers? "Homestead Brides" is one beautiful book.

No Kindle is mentioned.

The "Oregon Trail" is one of the few books I've read three or four times. Parkman puts you on the trail. Can't wait for this book.

Vince

Vince said...

Hi Missy:

You wrote:

"Vince, doesn't Scrivener have a section for notes at the side?"

Yes, but I'm not sure if they have to be anchored by a word in the text section. Also some notes say they are global and some are document specific and some are really inline annotations and I wrote this in Scrivener when I was putting notes in the text but only in different colors -- so it is a mess.


I need to figure out how to do all these things in a way in which I get the results I need and not make things worse. I used a lot of Scrivener power features without knowing what I was doing. In an airplane this gets you killed! : )

Scrivener and taxes -- you can't learn it all and there is no end of jobs to do.

Vince

DebH said...

hi Missy
thanks for having DiAnn visit today. I LOVE the list for production. Will be copy/pasting/laminating for future use. I'm terrible at self-imposed deadlines. Give me someone else (say, an editor or boss) to disappoint if I don't meet the deadline and I'm good.

I need more discipline at the self-imposed stuff if I'm ever going to get published.

Speedbo is not going well in my house *sigh* At least most of the reports at Seekerville are going well. My mantra at this point is Baby steps... one bite at a time... baby steps...

You know me. All in on any and every give away Seekerville is willing to provide. Such wonderful authors discovered.

Vince said...

Hi Mary:

You wrote:

"I 'grow' my manuscript by 1000 words a day...usually seven days a week."

Yes, but I think you get back, with interest, all the time you spent writing manuscripts before being published in that you have developed good habits that prevent you from making many of the mistakes nonprofessional writers make all the time. You probably can't make yourself make those mistakes even in a fast first draft.

In short: it pays, to have paid your dues. I think that this is why you and Ruth are running wild now writing great books.

Vince

Wilani Wahl said...

Thank you Missy! I did get 600 words written and the day is young.

Candee Fick said...

Thanks so much for the practical tips to help us be professional writers by keeping (and even beating) deadlines. Now this particular writer is off to do a little calendar math.

Would love to read DiAnn's newest book, too!

DiAnn said...

Jeanne, thanks for commenting! You asked: I am guessing you've already thought out the book, and probably written synopsis for it?
I'm pretty much an organic writer, but I do know the basics about character and plot before I begin. The synopsis may be written, but that doesn't mean things won't in the writing process. :)

DiAnn said...

Janet, Great to hear from you! You asked:
What's the harder part for you--writing the draft or revising it?
I'd say the writing it. Revising is pure fun. :)

DiAnn said...

Myra, I love that aspect of Scrivener. Keeps us all on track!

DiAnn said...

Wilani, We all need to take a break from our writing. If not, the work becomes a chore instead of joy. God is always our priority.

DiAnn said...

Connie, thanks for posting. It sounds simple, but life is filled with interruptions.

DiAnn said...

Carolyne, Like you, I'm lost without GhostReader. Rather I hear the mistakes than an editor!

DiAnn said...

Julie, your writing is so amazing, I think your storytelling and editing skills are to be emulated!

DiAnn said...

Christina

Glad I could help! Have a great day.

DiAnn said...

Hi Debby, Thanks for the great question. You asked: How long do you give yourself from contract to deadline?
Depends on the deadline date, which dictates the daily word count

DiAnn said...

Helen, my coffee cup is empty!

DiAnn said...

Mary, thanks for commenting!

DiAnn said...

Sarah, keep writing and set those goals. You won't be disappointed.

DiAnn said...

Hi Nancy,

You asked a fabulous question. Publishing houses have all of their departments on a schedule. When writers don't meet their deadlines, everything shifts. So how do you think an editor feels about working with that writer? Granted emergencies can throw us all, but we can be proactive.

DiAnn said...

Hi Candee, hope your calendar math works great for you!

Becky Dempsey said...

Man, I've had coffee and I'm still dragging! I got the same number of hours as normal (generally) so it doesn't seem like it is the time change, but I just want to curl up and sleep!

I didn't mention before that I'd love to win the book!

Speedbo update: I filled in another scene in the middle of my manuscript. There are at least 2 more scenes I know of that I need to add to. Then I need to go back through and add in my hero's point of view since I started out using only my heroine's point of view.

Pam Hillman said...

Love this very specific guide to meeting a deadline. Thanks, DiAnn. :)

And the joke made me LOL. Spew alert needed.

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, Myra! Cool! I'll be watching for the UPS truck! :)

Jan Drexler said...

Hi DiAnn! Thank you for the tips!

I have a deadline looming...okay, it's almost six months away, but that feels like looming to me! Getting my calendar out right now :)

BTW - When I tell non-writer friends (or even some writer friends who have never had a deadline) when my deadline is, they shrug like it's no big deal. Ha! Little do they know how loudly the clock is ticking!

Janet Dean said...

Vince, I'm plugging away revising and feeling like I'll never finish. Your kind words made my day!! Thank you!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

DiAnn, I feel the same! Perhaps the reason I can't write a rough draft without tweaking is I'm avoiding writing new. Now that's an ugly thought.

Janet

Missy Tippens said...

Deb H, I'm with you. I NEVER want to disappoint anyone. So deadlines are like that to me!

Baby steps are good, because at least you're moving forward!

Missy Tippens said...

Excellent, Wilani!! Keep it up!

Missy Tippens said...

Candee, glad you're doing some calendar math! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Becky, that sounds like a good plan! I've had one of those stories, too, where I started out in one POV. (Was changing a romantic women's fiction to a romance). :)

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Jan! Yeah, six months is "looming"! :)

Pam, I hope you get your book copies soon too!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

DiAnn, this is going to sound simplistic, but I've found that to keep my schedule stress-free, I do it every day. That way there's no temptation to sleep in.

But I'm a witch at night so any pretense of being a nice person disappears!

So important to work your God-given framework, isn't it???

The Artist Librarian said...

Wow, Julie --the legal department got involved??? Thank goodness your books are so popular ... ;-)

Sandy Smith said...

Very interesting to read about how you keep up with deadlines.

The book looks great. Please enter me into the drawing.

DiAnn said...

Hi Sandy, thanks for the comments!

DiAnn said...

All of you have been awesome! So many comments. I don't know who will be the winner, but you're all winners to me!

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, yeah, I saw that reference to a "time management spreadsheet".

Yep, all over that! :)

However, I covet one of those HUGE 3x4 foot wall calendars for charting yearly projects. Not sure I have enough walls to spread out a 3-4 year plan though.

But it would look cool to the IRS or at the very least to my hubby when he asks what I'm working on. Ha!

Missy Tippens said...

I'm back! My daughter had a high school tennis match (and won!).

Now I'll go catch up...

Missy Tippens said...

Got you entered, Sandy.

DiAnn, I'm keeping track of names and will draw the winner. We'll announce it this weekend. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Pam, my husband has a huge wall calendar at his office. I think it actually covers two years. He loves it!

Bettie said...

Thanks DiAnn. Hopefully one of these days I'll be able to put your advice to use. I would love to read your new book. I've enjoyed many of your other ones. Better get back to speedbo...plugging away at 6200 so far for 9 days.

Walt Mussell said...

I'm used to reading out loud but hadn't thought about having it voiced to me like that.

Dana R. Lynn said...

Wow...so much great information. I guess I should check out Scrivener. Are there any Windows friendly programs like Ghostreader?

Chill N said...

Thanks to DiAnn and Missy for answering my questions!

Nancy C

Unknown said...

Great blog post - if ever I'm lucky enough to have a deadline! :) but that method sounds really sensible. I have procrastination problems, so laying it out like that is very helpful to me. Your book sounds terrific, too, so put me in a drawing.

Pam Jernigan

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

DiAnn, I just love these tips. Especially the immediate chopping of the two months off your deadline. I am a girl who needs wiggle room.

I like the way you think! I also loved the software recommendation. I didn't even know software like that existed!

I am dreaming of the day I need a deadline, but embracing the freedom now!

This year I hope to be able to enter some contests. I know your tips are going to be invaluable.

Thank you for sharing here!

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Great tips, Diane. I couldn't live without my calendar!

LoRee Peery said...

Great points. Each of us needs to know ourselves and figure out what works. One thing I do is get my words in before I check email or get on social networking sites. I've been a fan, DiAnn, and would love to be a winner.

Missy Tippens said...

Great job, Bettie!! Nice work!

Tanya Agler said...

DiAnn, Thank you for the post. While I am unpublished, I look forward to the days of having a deadline other than the ones I set for myself.

This post is topical for me today because I was driving my son home from Boy Scouts. I was going the speed limit on a slick road and a truck passed me on a double yellow. I told my son, "I'll tell you what my father always told me: if you're in a hurry, leave five minutes early." Your advice reminded me of this (albeit in reverse): If you think you may have real life emergencies, build that time into your schedule.

Sorry I was so long-winded. Thanks for a great post.

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Walt! Glad you stopped by.

Dana, I'm not sure. But I do know most computers have some sort of program built in that reads to you. (though it may not sound as good)

Missy Tippens said...

Pam, I think it's a great plan for a procrastinator.

Missy Tippens said...

Kelly, you'll have to let us know if you enter any contests. We'll be cheering you on!

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Jess! Glad to see you here. I'm the same with my calendar. And if I didn't put everything into my phone as well, I'd be lost. :)

Missy Tippens said...

LoRee, setting those priorities is key!

Tanya, what your dad said is so true. You know, people drive crazy sometimes, and I figure they get there maybe five minutes sooner at the most. It's ridiculous.

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, DiAnn!

I'm definitely taking notes here. Thanks for sharing your system with us!

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, DiAnn ... you just made my day, my week, and probably my month, my friend, with your incredible comment -- THANK YOU!!

Kind words from reader friends are such a blessing, but when it's a comment from a respected peer such as yourself whom I admire greatly, it blesses me to no end. Almost to be point of speechless, which as you may know from my 500-plus-page books, is not easy to do! :)

Thank you again!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MISSY ... and I couldn't imagine NOT writing that many words, which is why novellas scared me to death. But thanks to the legal department, I'm getting pretty good at paring things down to size. ;)

ARTIST LIBRARIAN: Thanks, Jenn, I was pretty surprised, too, as was my editor, I think. But a great lesson both editing and contracts! ;)

AND ... I did get a novella out of it for the Seeker Hope for the Holidays Collection, which was a Mitch and Charity subplot that I cut from the sixth book, so waste not, want not, right? ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Kathy Sheldon Davis said...

Thanks, Diann! Your game plan for approaching a deadline is so do-able for an independent thinker like me. It's especially empowering because I'd be setting those milestones in place myself.

Marilyn Turk said...

Great stuff, DiAnn! I love to have a check list of what to do when. Thanks for sharing yours.

Deanna Stevens said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts today!
Please put me in the dish for Double Cross, thanks

Jon and Vicki Marney said...

Enjoyed your article, even though I don't have any deadlines--only self-imposed. Throw my name in the dish too....
Vicki

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

DiAnn, I'm bookmarking this page for later use. Thanks so much for sharing your process with us!

Please drop my name in for the giveaway. :)

Leola Ogle said...

I smiled AND laughed. And what are the chances of two writers on a deserted island? Captivating! Love this post. Please drop my name in for a giveaway as long as it's not a trip to a deserted island via a piece of wood.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

So simple. So perfect!

Thank you so much!
Go #Speedbo2015 !!