Erin Green Author - blog
As you know, I’ve been working on the structural edits of my Christmas book with a deadline of 10th May. So, I’ll set the scene to help non-writerly folk gain some context. I had a word document which contained roughly 92,000 words, when it arrived on my desk in April. Alongside my original text, the document now has an additional column, on the right hand side, in which questions, queries and comments appear highlighting potential issues in my story telling. I need to ponder each point and figure how I tackle each issue - resolving by adding details, tweaking a description or adding deeper emotion/conflict.
I’d worked through the manuscript for three weeks, slowly and methodically addressing each issue, created new ideas, reinforced themes and rounded a few characters to highlight specific traits. The deadline is nearing, at this point, I’m doing little other than living and breathing this book. I’d got to the stage where I actually know specific words and where in the manuscript they appear. I kid you not, I’d long forgotten page and chapter numbers, I was moving through the document by searching for specific dialogue as I knew scenes off by heart, the jokes were no longer funny and I was fast approaching the stage where I am ‘slightly sick’ of the story – I’d read it so many times. I was dealing with full-blown Christmas in May!
I’d planned to complete by the 9th and return it to my editor on the morning of the 10th. Perfect. In my head, I was already making plans of how to spend my free time immediately afterwards. Just like you do after sitting important exams, you need time afterwards for the mind to download certain information that you’d hauled into the exam hall. The same applies when returning a manuscript to your editor. I was looking forward to three days of ‘down time’ Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before resuming normal service on Saturday 13th. That was the plan.
The plan worked well until deadline day, Wednesday, 10th May – when I got up bright and early ready to enjoy the moment when I’d be pressing ‘send’ and be free for three days of play. Until my brain remembered the dream I’d had the night before. A flashbulb moment when I suddenly realised that I’d dreamt about the Christmas book, dreamt about two characters and damn, they hadn’t followed the script but created one of their own!!!!!!
I’m the first to say I love my creative brain, but it is a pain in the neck when it throws up an alternative at eight o’clock on deadline day. Quandary time. Stick with what I’d edited and prepared for my editor … or have a rethink and then decide. The clock was ticking, as always.
I began to tinker with a few bits and pieces. The new idea had legs but do I go with it or not? It’s certainly a moment of faith in one’s capabilities, that’s for sure. I needed to send it ‘soon’.
‘Soon’ ended up being another thirty-six hours later at ten minutes to midnight on 11th May – let’s face it, I just scraped in before the 12th began. I’d finally finished the structural edits having amended my manuscript to include the dream scenes, totalling 99,224 words.
I had a wonderful Friday filled with play and sleep, and food, and fresh air. But this morning, Saturday, I was longing for my desk so headed back to restart the project that had originally been my CampNaNo project for April that was downgraded and affected by the structural edits and proofreading arriving. Anyway, today felt wonderful to return to the creative mode - writing upon a blank page.
Realistically, I’ll have a couple of weeks without the Christmas book so know I can plough my time into the CampNaNo project using the remainder of May, as my own ‘made-up NaNo’ month.