Writing Under a Deadline

Hi everyone!

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

To begin with, I have some exciting news!  I’ve registered for the Colorado Gold Writing Conference hosted by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!  This will be my first ever writers’ conference that I’ve ever attended…  *gulp*

Having said that, has anyone else who reads my blog attended a conference?  Any tips on what I might expect, and what I should have to be best prepared?  I’m going to research like crazy online too, but personal experiences would be helpful :)

One of the coolest parts about this is that I get a free pitch session with an agent!  Personally I think this will be a great thing!  It doesn’t guarantee that I’ll land an agent, but I think that my in-person excitement will help me sell my story.  Furthermore, I know that agents aren’t just looking for a good story, they’re looking to see if a writer is someone they could see themselves working with, and if that person would provide a positive image for their agency.

The Deadline

Image Source - http://infocus.emc.com/
Image Source – http://infocus.emc.com/

This does, however, bring me to the title of this blog.  You see, when I found out I would be able to pitch  to an agent, I had a decision to make.  Do I pitch The Sword of Dragons, currently my only completed manuscript?  Or do I try to finish Chronicles of the Sentinels in time?

When asking around, I pretty much got a consensus: the story of Chronicles (and its genre) combined with just how excited I’ve been for this story ever since I first thought about it makes it more likely that I’ll be able to convince an agent to at least ask for the full manuscript.

This puts me on a deadline.  I have to have Chronicles as finished as possible by September 5th!

I am no stranger to deadlines in general.  I was an English major in college, and that meant having essays due by certain dates.  Lots of them.  Including long and involved research papers.  I also took every creative writing class I could, and every single story we had to write was due by a certain date, as were revisions.

But I have never had a deadline for a novel before, so this is a new experience.  It is true that I could always fall back on The Sword of Dragons, but you know what?  I’m not going to.  I’m not even going to consider that an option.  Why?

First, I want the experience of writing a novel under a deadline.  I don’t know what kind of deadlines I’ll fall under when I am finally able to write full-time, but I don’t ever want to be late with a manuscript or revision.  But more than that, because I know I can do this.  I’m already well on my way to it.  I just started writing chapter 10 tonight, and it’ll be a 25 chapter novel.

So, I have created a schedule for myself, one which I believe I’ll easily remain ahead of.  It’s as follows:

17 August: First draft of manuscript completed
19 August: First proofread completed, print out hardcopy
22 August: Second proofread completed
23 August: Complete digital revisions based on hard-copy proofread.  Email copies to beta readers.
03 September: Final Revisions

I already have a few beta-readers who have volunteered to try to read as fast as possible once I get a copy to them.  I’d like to ask if anyone who reads my blog would like to volunteer as well?  I know a week and a half isn’t much time to read, but honestly I think I’ll have it ready much sooner than 23 August.  It is also my intent to make Chronicles a fun read, and being geared towards YA or YA Crossover, it’ll be relatively short.

Something Special

I don’t know how I know, but I know that this is the one.  The more I write this novel, the more I feel like this is something special.  I’ve kinda felt that way from the get-go, but now, 10 chapters into it, I am certain.

The story, the characters (especially the characters,) everything is coming together so well!  I think I’ve found that balance between serious and light, comical and emotional, the same kind of qualities my favorite novels, movies, and TV shows have always had (think Stargate SG-1 :) )

Image Source - www.stargate-sg1-solutions.com
Image Source – http://www.stargate-sg1-solutions.com

Even if I don’t get signed on to an agent in this conference, there will be valuable experiences and valuable contacts made.  But I truly feel like this is the novel that is going to make my career take off.

I’m certainly not saying that The Sword of Dragons isn’t a great novel in its own right.  Just this week two coworkers started reading it, and both of them were hooked in the first few chapters!  The email one sent me after just reading the first four chapters was so encouraging and made my day!  I know TSOD will do well once published, but getting that first agent, that first publisher, that is the hard part.

I think for the first time in my life, I truly believe that I can do this.  I can make it as a writer.  :)


2 thoughts on “Writing Under a Deadline”

  1. I also find that deadlines help me get stuff done – I’ll write more in a day for a deadline than the rest of that week. Looks like you’ve got ambitious goals there, good luck hitting them.

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