36 days. That’s what I’m giving myself to finish this YA romance, work-in-progress, year and a half of research, changed the plot at least twenty times, labor of love, sweat and tears, great American teen novel.
July 31st, 2008. That’s my deadline. The day the Disco Mermaids leave town and head to the annual SCBWI national conference in Los Angeles. I told my agent I’d have the draft to her sometime this summer, and we’ll be getting together at the conference. So, the pressure’s on!
This is pretty much how I tackle all giant projects…slow, slow, slow, plan, plan, plan, re-think, re-think, research, research, think some more, do some outlining, then…GO!
Realistically, I’m about 1/4 finished. Because I’ve changed the main plot so many times, the beginning has been reworked to death (no pun intended, as this is essentially a story about a young girl learning to die with dignity). This is exactly how I wrote my first novel, Ring of Fire, as well. I wrote, edited, re-wrote, critiqued, and revised the first six chapters for three years! Then, when I finally had the exact beginning I wanted, and created a general outline of the remaining ¾ of the book, the rest of the writing went really quickly. I actually spent one entire month sitting at my dining room table, sucking down Diet Coke and red licorice (a surprisingly delicious combo!), writing like a madwoman for 10-12 hours a day.
Remember that, Jay and Robin? When you couldn’t get me on the phone or email for days at a time, and then you’d pop by my house to check if I was still alive, and you’d find me greasy-haired and sweaty with licorice in my un-brushed teeth, surrounded by crushed empty Coke cans? Well, prepare yourselves because that time is upon us again.
I’m afraid you won’t see much of me for the next 36 days. Unless, of course, you happen to be shopping in Trader Joe’s and wander down the sweets isle (it’s the third from the left), and accidentally drop some Australian Kookabura red licorice into your cart, then find yourself driving through my neighborhood. Then, and only then, should you walk into my house and disturb me. Thanks in advance!