Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An In-House Writing Retreat

Those of you who might read this know that I've been trying to get my final final revision done and my query package for True. At the same time life is happening. I've been quite busy at work and when I've got clients I really want to see them for thin days could be ahead. I was fretting about these two things - the fact that I thought I'd have a tonne of time in January and February to write and I don't - and the loveliness of having some dough coming in. This week I'm seeing about twelve clients and have a three hour supervision. So that's about 16 clients worth. A GREAT week!
On Sunday, when I looked at my book I was happy and freaked. Most of my deadlines are ones that I impose - moving them about is annoying but truly no big deal - so I put off  fame and fortune for a month or so? But one of the deadlines for my manuscript is not self-imposed. It is a submission to a contest and it requires the whole meghilla! The complete manuscript, bio, longish synopsis and a few questions answered that pertain to the contest. The deadline is in 21 days.
My reasoning is if I have to have ALL of that out the door in three weeks - might as well have the other four submission packages ready too. For them it will be various lengths of synopsis - let's say if I have a four pager and a one pager I think I'll be covered, between the first four and the first ten pages of the novel, and a good query letter etc...
All this to say that I carved out a five day writing marathon for myself. I am only taking two days off from seeing clients (Monday and Wednesday) Tuesday is a writing day anywho and I'll start this Saturday. I think I can work up to seven hours a day - so that would be 35 hours of work - the bulk of which, I think, will be on some changes I'm making to the manuscript itself. I have them well in hand - met with my editor and she gave me some she'd like to see and I talked over a few I was thinking of. Some of these are minute (find all sentences beginning with 'And' and destroy), some are middling (slash and burn a few info dump scenes) and some are huge (change a major plot point).
My intuition tells me that the best way to go about this is to move between the revision and the writing the package bits. The work I've been doing on the synopsis is what led me to get that I needed to make some changes still. (thank you Alexandra Sokoloff at Dark Salon for your Hero's Journey Structure Cheat Sheet) .

To get ready for this I've cleared my decks, promised the lad if I did my hours I'd be free to watch Holmes and Watson at night or help with dinner etc... but that fundamentally I'm not here. I cannot afford to go away to a snowy cottage and write in that wonderful romantic way I have at times. No, this is journeyman stuff. I have to stay here - make my office even more geared to the novel and pitter-patter fly atter.
I think I will make a big mind-map for the wall - a bit of a beat sheet and see how she all goes.  I have the copy of the manuscript my editor worked on and all the notes I've been making.
How about you and marathons? Should I carb-load to get ready? Do I have my lucky thingy? See you on the other side...

8 comments:

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Good luck. It sounds like you've made some great progress.

Carol Kilgore said...

Make sure you have your lucky thingy :) And a couple of choices of snacks. And a timer so you get up and move every hour or so. [see those AND sentences :)]

Caroline Gerardo said...

Just keep the fingers marching. Put a carrot out in front of the goal. If I get x chapters edited and put to bed I can go for a walk.
I wear a lucky hat, it scares my children to leave mommy typing

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I think you're doing such a wise, wise thing to take some time and put your head down and just do it. I like the way you have your priorities! I wish you well and I look forward to hearing how it's going :-).

Clarissa Draper said...

I love your idea of an in-house writing retreat. I think it's great.

Liza said...

Good luck Jan! I'll be looking forward to when you make it out the other side.

Talli Roland said...

Good luck, Jan! I'd go with the carb-loading. :)

Faith Pray said...

Hurrah, Jan! I hope you can make a big chart on your wall, or something equally visual, so that you can feel all wrapped up in your writing world quilt, consumed and whole, until it's time to take a food or Holmes break.