Due Dates

Jo here.Charlie

Susan talked about deadlines, and the less dire phrase that I liked was due date, but due date or deadline, it’s a weighty part of a writer’s life.

I’m not under the boom at the moment. My next commitment is for early January, but I can’t extend that because the book is slotted for September. (That’s because the book trickling onto shelves right now was moved from January 2007, so everything became tight.) It’s always comforting to know that the deadline can be extended by a month or so without anyone getting in a panic. I have about half the book written, but I have a busy September coming up and I’m looking ahead at October, November, and December somewhat warily.

Stuff happens, and that’s what screws up deadlines. Sometimes stuff doesn’t happen, and that’s even worse if the stuff is the story.

I’m a lousy typist but a pretty fast writer — when the story flows. I can do 5,000 goodish words in a day. I’ve done 10,000. The trouble is, such days are unpredictable. I do write every weekday and sometimes at weekends. I do the work, as Nora Roberts says. But I’m just as capable of writing, say, 3,000 words (a more typical day) which are great but wrong for the book. Or not great, and thus wrong for the book. If I force myself to produce words for the MIP (mess, monster, masterpiece in progress) they’ll probably be garbage.

What I do, therefore, is work on more than one MIP at a time, and when one gets balky I switch to another. It’s writing, it’s fun, but it can be hell on schedules. Mostly it’s worked. That back-burner MIP seems to ferment so that when I peep it’s ready to grow again. But it’s a very unpredictable way to write books.

Trarfrsm_1
Which is why deadlines is maybe the right word after all and the due date is when the book is scheduled to appear on the shelves. Which is next week in the case of To Rescue A Rogue, but it’s a tiny bit premature and is popping up here and there already.

If you’re a writer, how do you plan the writing of a book? (That reminds me. Before I wrote my first book I was overwhelmed by the idea of sitting down to do something that would take monhs, perhaps years. It seemed impossible, insane. It probably still is, but as they say, you have to be crazy to work here.)

If you’re a reader, how important is it that an author has books out frequently?

Jo

72 thoughts on “Due Dates”

  1. Jo, you’re right about the erratic laydown of TRAR–I got the call that my copy had arrived yesterday (Tuesday.) I plan to take on vacation. I’ve been waiting for Dare for YEARS!!!!
    As to writing 10K words a day–or even 5K–I WISH!
    Mary Jo, a tortoise in a world that is increasingly for hares

    Reply
  2. Jo, you’re right about the erratic laydown of TRAR–I got the call that my copy had arrived yesterday (Tuesday.) I plan to take on vacation. I’ve been waiting for Dare for YEARS!!!!
    As to writing 10K words a day–or even 5K–I WISH!
    Mary Jo, a tortoise in a world that is increasingly for hares

    Reply
  3. Jo, you’re right about the erratic laydown of TRAR–I got the call that my copy had arrived yesterday (Tuesday.) I plan to take on vacation. I’ve been waiting for Dare for YEARS!!!!
    As to writing 10K words a day–or even 5K–I WISH!
    Mary Jo, a tortoise in a world that is increasingly for hares

    Reply
  4. To paraphrase MJP – 5K in a day ? Let alone 10 K ? I feel faint. No wonder I am coming up to the 18-month mark on my own, very erratic, WIP, at the speed I write. Clearly, JB would be one of those people who start NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, = 50 K of new words in a month, held every November online) on day 1 and clock in as a winner (everyone who reaches 50K or more) before the first week was up. Leaving the rest of us poor slobs in dust, feverishly typing right up until the very last seconds before midnight on the last day of the month. Groan. Yet strangely, going back to do it all over again the next November.

    Reply
  5. To paraphrase MJP – 5K in a day ? Let alone 10 K ? I feel faint. No wonder I am coming up to the 18-month mark on my own, very erratic, WIP, at the speed I write. Clearly, JB would be one of those people who start NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, = 50 K of new words in a month, held every November online) on day 1 and clock in as a winner (everyone who reaches 50K or more) before the first week was up. Leaving the rest of us poor slobs in dust, feverishly typing right up until the very last seconds before midnight on the last day of the month. Groan. Yet strangely, going back to do it all over again the next November.

    Reply
  6. To paraphrase MJP – 5K in a day ? Let alone 10 K ? I feel faint. No wonder I am coming up to the 18-month mark on my own, very erratic, WIP, at the speed I write. Clearly, JB would be one of those people who start NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, = 50 K of new words in a month, held every November online) on day 1 and clock in as a winner (everyone who reaches 50K or more) before the first week was up. Leaving the rest of us poor slobs in dust, feverishly typing right up until the very last seconds before midnight on the last day of the month. Groan. Yet strangely, going back to do it all over again the next November.

    Reply
  7. Jo, I haven’t found TRAR yet, but I am searching. I, too, seem to have been waiting for Dare’s book forever–even longer than I waited for Rothgar. 🙂
    After a wild burst of energy, I seem to have reached a sticking point in my WIP. I wrote my first love scene ever and posted it to my critique board. I was so elated that they thought it worked that I haven’t been able to produce anything usable since. But I am going to try your method, Jo, and work on two essays that will be due in a few months. Perhaps I will use a different part of my brain with that work and meanwhile ideas for the WIP will perk away in some other part. I wish!

    Reply
  8. Jo, I haven’t found TRAR yet, but I am searching. I, too, seem to have been waiting for Dare’s book forever–even longer than I waited for Rothgar. 🙂
    After a wild burst of energy, I seem to have reached a sticking point in my WIP. I wrote my first love scene ever and posted it to my critique board. I was so elated that they thought it worked that I haven’t been able to produce anything usable since. But I am going to try your method, Jo, and work on two essays that will be due in a few months. Perhaps I will use a different part of my brain with that work and meanwhile ideas for the WIP will perk away in some other part. I wish!

    Reply
  9. Jo, I haven’t found TRAR yet, but I am searching. I, too, seem to have been waiting for Dare’s book forever–even longer than I waited for Rothgar. 🙂
    After a wild burst of energy, I seem to have reached a sticking point in my WIP. I wrote my first love scene ever and posted it to my critique board. I was so elated that they thought it worked that I haven’t been able to produce anything usable since. But I am going to try your method, Jo, and work on two essays that will be due in a few months. Perhaps I will use a different part of my brain with that work and meanwhile ideas for the WIP will perk away in some other part. I wish!

    Reply
  10. Ah, but I’d rather be a 1,000 word a day writer if that was consistent. It would be so much less stressful. As it is, over the long term, I average less than 1,000 words a day of _finished_ (published) words and ride this rollercoaster all the way to the end.
    I’m contemplating that metaphor.Neither part of the rollercoaster ride is wonderful. The chugging up the hills is dull and somewhat fearful, and the hurtling down is intense, scary, and way too much for sanity. The occasional 10K day leaves me a physical and mental wreck for a week.
    1,000 words a working day. Let’s say 46 weeks a year (6 weeks holiday.) Five days a week. (We deserve some breaks.) That’s 230,000 words, or two books and a novella. And by this system, when I’d written my 1,000 words I could clock off and play in the garden, or read a book, or pick up any number of crafts I haven’t done in years.
    ::sigh:: Wouldn’t that be luvverly?
    You know, I might even try it one of these year, but all my instincts say I’d be writing cereal-box stuff, and that the rollercoaster is my process. I’m stuck with it.Let’s hope today’s an intense, overload wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! sort of day.
    Yesterday was pretty good.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  11. Ah, but I’d rather be a 1,000 word a day writer if that was consistent. It would be so much less stressful. As it is, over the long term, I average less than 1,000 words a day of _finished_ (published) words and ride this rollercoaster all the way to the end.
    I’m contemplating that metaphor.Neither part of the rollercoaster ride is wonderful. The chugging up the hills is dull and somewhat fearful, and the hurtling down is intense, scary, and way too much for sanity. The occasional 10K day leaves me a physical and mental wreck for a week.
    1,000 words a working day. Let’s say 46 weeks a year (6 weeks holiday.) Five days a week. (We deserve some breaks.) That’s 230,000 words, or two books and a novella. And by this system, when I’d written my 1,000 words I could clock off and play in the garden, or read a book, or pick up any number of crafts I haven’t done in years.
    ::sigh:: Wouldn’t that be luvverly?
    You know, I might even try it one of these year, but all my instincts say I’d be writing cereal-box stuff, and that the rollercoaster is my process. I’m stuck with it.Let’s hope today’s an intense, overload wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! sort of day.
    Yesterday was pretty good.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  12. Ah, but I’d rather be a 1,000 word a day writer if that was consistent. It would be so much less stressful. As it is, over the long term, I average less than 1,000 words a day of _finished_ (published) words and ride this rollercoaster all the way to the end.
    I’m contemplating that metaphor.Neither part of the rollercoaster ride is wonderful. The chugging up the hills is dull and somewhat fearful, and the hurtling down is intense, scary, and way too much for sanity. The occasional 10K day leaves me a physical and mental wreck for a week.
    1,000 words a working day. Let’s say 46 weeks a year (6 weeks holiday.) Five days a week. (We deserve some breaks.) That’s 230,000 words, or two books and a novella. And by this system, when I’d written my 1,000 words I could clock off and play in the garden, or read a book, or pick up any number of crafts I haven’t done in years.
    ::sigh:: Wouldn’t that be luvverly?
    You know, I might even try it one of these year, but all my instincts say I’d be writing cereal-box stuff, and that the rollercoaster is my process. I’m stuck with it.Let’s hope today’s an intense, overload wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! sort of day.
    Yesterday was pretty good.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  13. Ya know, I’ve always wondered why authors worked on more than one MIP at a time. Those babies need to ferment. Makes perfect sense. Maybe that’s why SECRETS OF THE NIGHT always made me yearn for the sweet taste of strawberry wine. I’m looking forward to Dare’s story.
    As a writer, if I even dare think about planning my book, it gets up and walks off stage. My characters are of the moody, bull-headed sort. Kind of like me. So in the wee hours of the morning just as the sun pinks the sky I sneak down to my writing chamber and scribble out little ideas on scraps of paper. But if I even breathe the word outline my heroine rises from murky depths and vaporizes the poor fledgling thought before pen touches paper. *sigh* Then I spend the weekend doing nothing but rewrites.
    It’s been a touch over a year that I’ve been spending me weekends working on my ‘mess monster’ and I must say that I would be spending my time doing something else if it wasn’t for the Word Wenches. You all came along just as I was about to hang up my quill for good. The lessons on POV, sagging middles, bantering about process and the honest words around working the business gave me great pause. Challenged me to look back. Reconsider. I felt loved by you. Cared for. Understood. Writing is hard, hard work. There’s nothing else I would rather do. But I can’t imagine doing it without all of you. Many heartfelt thanks.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  14. Ya know, I’ve always wondered why authors worked on more than one MIP at a time. Those babies need to ferment. Makes perfect sense. Maybe that’s why SECRETS OF THE NIGHT always made me yearn for the sweet taste of strawberry wine. I’m looking forward to Dare’s story.
    As a writer, if I even dare think about planning my book, it gets up and walks off stage. My characters are of the moody, bull-headed sort. Kind of like me. So in the wee hours of the morning just as the sun pinks the sky I sneak down to my writing chamber and scribble out little ideas on scraps of paper. But if I even breathe the word outline my heroine rises from murky depths and vaporizes the poor fledgling thought before pen touches paper. *sigh* Then I spend the weekend doing nothing but rewrites.
    It’s been a touch over a year that I’ve been spending me weekends working on my ‘mess monster’ and I must say that I would be spending my time doing something else if it wasn’t for the Word Wenches. You all came along just as I was about to hang up my quill for good. The lessons on POV, sagging middles, bantering about process and the honest words around working the business gave me great pause. Challenged me to look back. Reconsider. I felt loved by you. Cared for. Understood. Writing is hard, hard work. There’s nothing else I would rather do. But I can’t imagine doing it without all of you. Many heartfelt thanks.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  15. Ya know, I’ve always wondered why authors worked on more than one MIP at a time. Those babies need to ferment. Makes perfect sense. Maybe that’s why SECRETS OF THE NIGHT always made me yearn for the sweet taste of strawberry wine. I’m looking forward to Dare’s story.
    As a writer, if I even dare think about planning my book, it gets up and walks off stage. My characters are of the moody, bull-headed sort. Kind of like me. So in the wee hours of the morning just as the sun pinks the sky I sneak down to my writing chamber and scribble out little ideas on scraps of paper. But if I even breathe the word outline my heroine rises from murky depths and vaporizes the poor fledgling thought before pen touches paper. *sigh* Then I spend the weekend doing nothing but rewrites.
    It’s been a touch over a year that I’ve been spending me weekends working on my ‘mess monster’ and I must say that I would be spending my time doing something else if it wasn’t for the Word Wenches. You all came along just as I was about to hang up my quill for good. The lessons on POV, sagging middles, bantering about process and the honest words around working the business gave me great pause. Challenged me to look back. Reconsider. I felt loved by you. Cared for. Understood. Writing is hard, hard work. There’s nothing else I would rather do. But I can’t imagine doing it without all of you. Many heartfelt thanks.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  16. Jo here.
    Wylene, I hope taking a writing break will work for you. Sometimes I think it’s just psychology. As long as that MIP thinks it has us hooked it acts up. When we walk away and dance with another, it desperately wants us back.*g*
    Nina,on behalf of the wenches, thanks for the thanks! Writing can be so hard and solitary that we all need others. Do you belong to a local writers’ group? Are you in RWA? There are e-mail lists for RWA members.
    And hold onto the joy of writing. It’s not just for publication. I mean that, honestly. It’s exciting and joyous, and we should never lose sight of that. In the other arts we don’t think the only worthwhile (painter, pianist, singer, quiltmaker, actor, potter) is the one who’s selling their creations.
    We’re so lucky to have such rich imaginations and the words to spin them with.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  17. Jo here.
    Wylene, I hope taking a writing break will work for you. Sometimes I think it’s just psychology. As long as that MIP thinks it has us hooked it acts up. When we walk away and dance with another, it desperately wants us back.*g*
    Nina,on behalf of the wenches, thanks for the thanks! Writing can be so hard and solitary that we all need others. Do you belong to a local writers’ group? Are you in RWA? There are e-mail lists for RWA members.
    And hold onto the joy of writing. It’s not just for publication. I mean that, honestly. It’s exciting and joyous, and we should never lose sight of that. In the other arts we don’t think the only worthwhile (painter, pianist, singer, quiltmaker, actor, potter) is the one who’s selling their creations.
    We’re so lucky to have such rich imaginations and the words to spin them with.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  18. Jo here.
    Wylene, I hope taking a writing break will work for you. Sometimes I think it’s just psychology. As long as that MIP thinks it has us hooked it acts up. When we walk away and dance with another, it desperately wants us back.*g*
    Nina,on behalf of the wenches, thanks for the thanks! Writing can be so hard and solitary that we all need others. Do you belong to a local writers’ group? Are you in RWA? There are e-mail lists for RWA members.
    And hold onto the joy of writing. It’s not just for publication. I mean that, honestly. It’s exciting and joyous, and we should never lose sight of that. In the other arts we don’t think the only worthwhile (painter, pianist, singer, quiltmaker, actor, potter) is the one who’s selling their creations.
    We’re so lucky to have such rich imaginations and the words to spin them with.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  19. Jo, I saw TRAR in a grocery store near my office yesterday. On a complete side note, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book other than a cookbook at a grocery store. One of the things that surprised me when I started writing and therefore started studying the industry was how important grocery stores, Walmart, Target, etc. are to the market, because that’s just not how I shop for books–the selection is just much too small for the blissed-out joy of bookstore browsing! Auto-buys are pre-ordered on Amazon, for everything else I crave my bookstore high.
    As for how I plan and write, I try my best to write every day, though I average 5 days/week. I usually measure page counts rather than word counts, and lately I’ve been writing 15-20 pages/week, which sounds pathetic but probably isn’t half bad for working full-time and having a 2-year-old at home!
    I don’t let myself work on more than one book at a time, because I’m afraid I’d end up with 30-100 pages each on ten different stories and never finish any of them. That’s what I did all through high school–you wouldn’t believe the number of times I wrote the first three chapters of a semi-autobiographical YA romance (starring heroines just like me, only petite and with better hair), only to get bored and drop the clarinet player with the long black curls in favor of the tale of the trumpeter with the long auburn curls.
    Now that I think about it, the heroines of my first two completed manuscripts are both petite with curly hair. Huh.
    I don’t do outlines, character biographies, or any planning of that kind, but I can’t start writing a story until I’ve spent enough time (several months, at least) mulling it over in the back of my mind. I have ~10 story ideas in some stage of development now, but only my current MIP has simmered enough to be soup.

    Reply
  20. Jo, I saw TRAR in a grocery store near my office yesterday. On a complete side note, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book other than a cookbook at a grocery store. One of the things that surprised me when I started writing and therefore started studying the industry was how important grocery stores, Walmart, Target, etc. are to the market, because that’s just not how I shop for books–the selection is just much too small for the blissed-out joy of bookstore browsing! Auto-buys are pre-ordered on Amazon, for everything else I crave my bookstore high.
    As for how I plan and write, I try my best to write every day, though I average 5 days/week. I usually measure page counts rather than word counts, and lately I’ve been writing 15-20 pages/week, which sounds pathetic but probably isn’t half bad for working full-time and having a 2-year-old at home!
    I don’t let myself work on more than one book at a time, because I’m afraid I’d end up with 30-100 pages each on ten different stories and never finish any of them. That’s what I did all through high school–you wouldn’t believe the number of times I wrote the first three chapters of a semi-autobiographical YA romance (starring heroines just like me, only petite and with better hair), only to get bored and drop the clarinet player with the long black curls in favor of the tale of the trumpeter with the long auburn curls.
    Now that I think about it, the heroines of my first two completed manuscripts are both petite with curly hair. Huh.
    I don’t do outlines, character biographies, or any planning of that kind, but I can’t start writing a story until I’ve spent enough time (several months, at least) mulling it over in the back of my mind. I have ~10 story ideas in some stage of development now, but only my current MIP has simmered enough to be soup.

    Reply
  21. Jo, I saw TRAR in a grocery store near my office yesterday. On a complete side note, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book other than a cookbook at a grocery store. One of the things that surprised me when I started writing and therefore started studying the industry was how important grocery stores, Walmart, Target, etc. are to the market, because that’s just not how I shop for books–the selection is just much too small for the blissed-out joy of bookstore browsing! Auto-buys are pre-ordered on Amazon, for everything else I crave my bookstore high.
    As for how I plan and write, I try my best to write every day, though I average 5 days/week. I usually measure page counts rather than word counts, and lately I’ve been writing 15-20 pages/week, which sounds pathetic but probably isn’t half bad for working full-time and having a 2-year-old at home!
    I don’t let myself work on more than one book at a time, because I’m afraid I’d end up with 30-100 pages each on ten different stories and never finish any of them. That’s what I did all through high school–you wouldn’t believe the number of times I wrote the first three chapters of a semi-autobiographical YA romance (starring heroines just like me, only petite and with better hair), only to get bored and drop the clarinet player with the long black curls in favor of the tale of the trumpeter with the long auburn curls.
    Now that I think about it, the heroines of my first two completed manuscripts are both petite with curly hair. Huh.
    I don’t do outlines, character biographies, or any planning of that kind, but I can’t start writing a story until I’ve spent enough time (several months, at least) mulling it over in the back of my mind. I have ~10 story ideas in some stage of development now, but only my current MIP has simmered enough to be soup.

    Reply
  22. Jo–
    As a reader, I am not concerned so much with quantity, as quality. I have faith in the writers that I’ve read for years, that if I’m waiting, it’s for a good reason :-).
    I also like to think that I read enough that I’m not sitting around waiting for one or two writers to finish something just so that I have a new book to read. Right now, I’ve had to pace myself. . .with new releases by Balogh, Brockmann, Roberts, Beverley and j.r. ward in the last week or so. . .I’m a bit overloaded!
    On the other hand, waiting 5+ years between Gabaldons (and then having the new one be so long), my interest waned somewhat. I have not even looked at the newest one.

    Reply
  23. Jo–
    As a reader, I am not concerned so much with quantity, as quality. I have faith in the writers that I’ve read for years, that if I’m waiting, it’s for a good reason :-).
    I also like to think that I read enough that I’m not sitting around waiting for one or two writers to finish something just so that I have a new book to read. Right now, I’ve had to pace myself. . .with new releases by Balogh, Brockmann, Roberts, Beverley and j.r. ward in the last week or so. . .I’m a bit overloaded!
    On the other hand, waiting 5+ years between Gabaldons (and then having the new one be so long), my interest waned somewhat. I have not even looked at the newest one.

    Reply
  24. Jo–
    As a reader, I am not concerned so much with quantity, as quality. I have faith in the writers that I’ve read for years, that if I’m waiting, it’s for a good reason :-).
    I also like to think that I read enough that I’m not sitting around waiting for one or two writers to finish something just so that I have a new book to read. Right now, I’ve had to pace myself. . .with new releases by Balogh, Brockmann, Roberts, Beverley and j.r. ward in the last week or so. . .I’m a bit overloaded!
    On the other hand, waiting 5+ years between Gabaldons (and then having the new one be so long), my interest waned somewhat. I have not even looked at the newest one.

    Reply
  25. Sherrie, here.
    Jo, I’m so glad to hear you say you often work on more than one manuscript at a time. Years ago, when the earth was still warm and I was a new writer, I began my first novel. Eons later it was bogged down. Like many new writers, I spent endless hours tweaking and polishing each chapter until it was perfect before moving on. I grew bored and the story lost its charm.
    Yet I refused to give up and start another story, fearing I’d be setting a precedent of never finishing a manuscript. But a new idea had been following me around like a loud and obnoxious teenager. Eventually, I gave in. I tossed the old story, and my enthusiasm for the new project carried me right to the end–my first finished manuscript! Before I wrote “The End” on that manuscript, however, the villain of that piece began whispering to me. He wanted his own book, and he wooed me nonstop until I gave in. That book is now 9/10ths done.
    And then I wrote a throw-away vignette last year, and posted it on a writer’s loop I belong to. It was only a few paragraphs, done in response to a list member’s question about the kinds of night sounds a duke would hear at his country estate. From that, grew a novel. It is now almost done. Like Jo, I have learned that working on more than one project at a time can inject life into a stalled story.
    Last night in bed, the first line of a new story struck me. The Regency hero had it in for the heroine, because she had made him look stupid. Again. In public. I turned on the light, grabbed my notebook, and wrote that line. Today, the hero is occupying a small corner of my brain, rubbing his hands together and thinking up diabolical ways to get even with the heroine. Perhaps I’ll begin another story, even though my current WIP is not finished.

    Reply
  26. Sherrie, here.
    Jo, I’m so glad to hear you say you often work on more than one manuscript at a time. Years ago, when the earth was still warm and I was a new writer, I began my first novel. Eons later it was bogged down. Like many new writers, I spent endless hours tweaking and polishing each chapter until it was perfect before moving on. I grew bored and the story lost its charm.
    Yet I refused to give up and start another story, fearing I’d be setting a precedent of never finishing a manuscript. But a new idea had been following me around like a loud and obnoxious teenager. Eventually, I gave in. I tossed the old story, and my enthusiasm for the new project carried me right to the end–my first finished manuscript! Before I wrote “The End” on that manuscript, however, the villain of that piece began whispering to me. He wanted his own book, and he wooed me nonstop until I gave in. That book is now 9/10ths done.
    And then I wrote a throw-away vignette last year, and posted it on a writer’s loop I belong to. It was only a few paragraphs, done in response to a list member’s question about the kinds of night sounds a duke would hear at his country estate. From that, grew a novel. It is now almost done. Like Jo, I have learned that working on more than one project at a time can inject life into a stalled story.
    Last night in bed, the first line of a new story struck me. The Regency hero had it in for the heroine, because she had made him look stupid. Again. In public. I turned on the light, grabbed my notebook, and wrote that line. Today, the hero is occupying a small corner of my brain, rubbing his hands together and thinking up diabolical ways to get even with the heroine. Perhaps I’ll begin another story, even though my current WIP is not finished.

    Reply
  27. Sherrie, here.
    Jo, I’m so glad to hear you say you often work on more than one manuscript at a time. Years ago, when the earth was still warm and I was a new writer, I began my first novel. Eons later it was bogged down. Like many new writers, I spent endless hours tweaking and polishing each chapter until it was perfect before moving on. I grew bored and the story lost its charm.
    Yet I refused to give up and start another story, fearing I’d be setting a precedent of never finishing a manuscript. But a new idea had been following me around like a loud and obnoxious teenager. Eventually, I gave in. I tossed the old story, and my enthusiasm for the new project carried me right to the end–my first finished manuscript! Before I wrote “The End” on that manuscript, however, the villain of that piece began whispering to me. He wanted his own book, and he wooed me nonstop until I gave in. That book is now 9/10ths done.
    And then I wrote a throw-away vignette last year, and posted it on a writer’s loop I belong to. It was only a few paragraphs, done in response to a list member’s question about the kinds of night sounds a duke would hear at his country estate. From that, grew a novel. It is now almost done. Like Jo, I have learned that working on more than one project at a time can inject life into a stalled story.
    Last night in bed, the first line of a new story struck me. The Regency hero had it in for the heroine, because she had made him look stupid. Again. In public. I turned on the light, grabbed my notebook, and wrote that line. Today, the hero is occupying a small corner of my brain, rubbing his hands together and thinking up diabolical ways to get even with the heroine. Perhaps I’ll begin another story, even though my current WIP is not finished.

    Reply
  28. Jo here.
    Susan W, working full time and a 2-year-old. It’s a miracle you can write as much as you do!
    Sherrie, I believe in going where the energy is strong if I can. Some stories are burning to be written, and if we resist, we lose that.
    The trick, however, is not to fall into flitting around after fireflies instead of furnaces.
    My, what a day for weird metaphors.*G*
    Jo

    Reply
  29. Jo here.
    Susan W, working full time and a 2-year-old. It’s a miracle you can write as much as you do!
    Sherrie, I believe in going where the energy is strong if I can. Some stories are burning to be written, and if we resist, we lose that.
    The trick, however, is not to fall into flitting around after fireflies instead of furnaces.
    My, what a day for weird metaphors.*G*
    Jo

    Reply
  30. Jo here.
    Susan W, working full time and a 2-year-old. It’s a miracle you can write as much as you do!
    Sherrie, I believe in going where the energy is strong if I can. Some stories are burning to be written, and if we resist, we lose that.
    The trick, however, is not to fall into flitting around after fireflies instead of furnaces.
    My, what a day for weird metaphors.*G*
    Jo

    Reply
  31. Jo, I should have said that I know Dare will be worth waiting for, as Rothgar was. I think what I–and indeed, most
    readers– want from their favorite authors is the quality that led them to fall in love with the author’s work in the first place. If that means two books a year or one book every two years or more, so be it. Since I am a great rereader, I never run out of things I love to read by my favorite writers. In fact, I have been rereading the Rogues in preparation for Dare. I just finished Hazard today, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time i read it.

    Reply
  32. Jo, I should have said that I know Dare will be worth waiting for, as Rothgar was. I think what I–and indeed, most
    readers– want from their favorite authors is the quality that led them to fall in love with the author’s work in the first place. If that means two books a year or one book every two years or more, so be it. Since I am a great rereader, I never run out of things I love to read by my favorite writers. In fact, I have been rereading the Rogues in preparation for Dare. I just finished Hazard today, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time i read it.

    Reply
  33. Jo, I should have said that I know Dare will be worth waiting for, as Rothgar was. I think what I–and indeed, most
    readers– want from their favorite authors is the quality that led them to fall in love with the author’s work in the first place. If that means two books a year or one book every two years or more, so be it. Since I am a great rereader, I never run out of things I love to read by my favorite writers. In fact, I have been rereading the Rogues in preparation for Dare. I just finished Hazard today, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time i read it.

    Reply
  34. As a reader, I like quality over quantity as well. It doesn’t matter that books are cranked out on a regular schedule, even when it’s an announced series. There are lots of good books to read in between.
    I’ve seen cases where authors crank out book after book, and I believe that quality often suffers. I’ve seen dialog repeated in some cases, and that annoys me more than a book being “late”.

    Reply
  35. As a reader, I like quality over quantity as well. It doesn’t matter that books are cranked out on a regular schedule, even when it’s an announced series. There are lots of good books to read in between.
    I’ve seen cases where authors crank out book after book, and I believe that quality often suffers. I’ve seen dialog repeated in some cases, and that annoys me more than a book being “late”.

    Reply
  36. As a reader, I like quality over quantity as well. It doesn’t matter that books are cranked out on a regular schedule, even when it’s an announced series. There are lots of good books to read in between.
    I’ve seen cases where authors crank out book after book, and I believe that quality often suffers. I’ve seen dialog repeated in some cases, and that annoys me more than a book being “late”.

    Reply
  37. Hi Jo and wenches! I think as a writer it’s good to know both what you’re *capable* of producing per day against a deadline and what’s *comfortable* to produce against a deadline—often two different things. The first is kind of like…learning how far you can go when the needle of the gas gauge is on “empty.” LOL. (Pretty far, as it turns out, in the 1970 Duster I had growing up). My record is 28 pages a day—and OMG, I *never* want to do that again. But now I know that I *can* write that much if circumstances force it, and as life often happens unexpectedly in the midst of deadlines, you never know when that need might arise again. But seven-to-ten pages per day are comfortable for me. Depends on the scene or scenes I’m working on. And I’m happy to hear, Jo, that you move from one MIP to another…because I don’t write sequentially until I’m almost finished with the book, and I often get odd looks when I say that. I frequently write my scenes out of order, as I might be more in the mood to work on, say, a lighter scene or a particular character on a given day, and so I follow that impulse. It’s kind of like the way they film the scenes from movies out of order—they might need to wait for the appropriate lighting for one scene, or for a given actor to become available. 🙂 And I generally know the story as a whole before I embark on it, but as I write I’m open to diverging a bit from my originally (loosely) planned path if the story allows for it.

    Reply
  38. Hi Jo and wenches! I think as a writer it’s good to know both what you’re *capable* of producing per day against a deadline and what’s *comfortable* to produce against a deadline—often two different things. The first is kind of like…learning how far you can go when the needle of the gas gauge is on “empty.” LOL. (Pretty far, as it turns out, in the 1970 Duster I had growing up). My record is 28 pages a day—and OMG, I *never* want to do that again. But now I know that I *can* write that much if circumstances force it, and as life often happens unexpectedly in the midst of deadlines, you never know when that need might arise again. But seven-to-ten pages per day are comfortable for me. Depends on the scene or scenes I’m working on. And I’m happy to hear, Jo, that you move from one MIP to another…because I don’t write sequentially until I’m almost finished with the book, and I often get odd looks when I say that. I frequently write my scenes out of order, as I might be more in the mood to work on, say, a lighter scene or a particular character on a given day, and so I follow that impulse. It’s kind of like the way they film the scenes from movies out of order—they might need to wait for the appropriate lighting for one scene, or for a given actor to become available. 🙂 And I generally know the story as a whole before I embark on it, but as I write I’m open to diverging a bit from my originally (loosely) planned path if the story allows for it.

    Reply
  39. Hi Jo and wenches! I think as a writer it’s good to know both what you’re *capable* of producing per day against a deadline and what’s *comfortable* to produce against a deadline—often two different things. The first is kind of like…learning how far you can go when the needle of the gas gauge is on “empty.” LOL. (Pretty far, as it turns out, in the 1970 Duster I had growing up). My record is 28 pages a day—and OMG, I *never* want to do that again. But now I know that I *can* write that much if circumstances force it, and as life often happens unexpectedly in the midst of deadlines, you never know when that need might arise again. But seven-to-ten pages per day are comfortable for me. Depends on the scene or scenes I’m working on. And I’m happy to hear, Jo, that you move from one MIP to another…because I don’t write sequentially until I’m almost finished with the book, and I often get odd looks when I say that. I frequently write my scenes out of order, as I might be more in the mood to work on, say, a lighter scene or a particular character on a given day, and so I follow that impulse. It’s kind of like the way they film the scenes from movies out of order—they might need to wait for the appropriate lighting for one scene, or for a given actor to become available. 🙂 And I generally know the story as a whole before I embark on it, but as I write I’m open to diverging a bit from my originally (loosely) planned path if the story allows for it.

    Reply
  40. Jo here.
    Julie, I’m in awe of anyone who can write out of order. It seems like a good idea, but I can’t do it.
    Oh, writing is such a weird business.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  41. Jo here.
    Julie, I’m in awe of anyone who can write out of order. It seems like a good idea, but I can’t do it.
    Oh, writing is such a weird business.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  42. Jo here.
    Julie, I’m in awe of anyone who can write out of order. It seems like a good idea, but I can’t do it.
    Oh, writing is such a weird business.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  43. I remember once doing a review of three books dealing with writing by Annie Dillard, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robert A. Heinlein.
    Dillard felt she’d really accomplished a lot if she produced half a page of usable prose in a day’s work.
    Le Guin wrote about scribbling her stories on pads in the interstices of real life as a mother and faculty wife.
    Heinlein wrote the mammont STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND in about six weeks.

    Reply
  44. I remember once doing a review of three books dealing with writing by Annie Dillard, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robert A. Heinlein.
    Dillard felt she’d really accomplished a lot if she produced half a page of usable prose in a day’s work.
    Le Guin wrote about scribbling her stories on pads in the interstices of real life as a mother and faculty wife.
    Heinlein wrote the mammont STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND in about six weeks.

    Reply
  45. I remember once doing a review of three books dealing with writing by Annie Dillard, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robert A. Heinlein.
    Dillard felt she’d really accomplished a lot if she produced half a page of usable prose in a day’s work.
    Le Guin wrote about scribbling her stories on pads in the interstices of real life as a mother and faculty wife.
    Heinlein wrote the mammont STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND in about six weeks.

    Reply
  46. I walked right by TRAR. Seriously, and now I’m self annoyed. I went ‘that must be a new cover reprint, TRAR isn’t out yet.’
    Gr and argh. Well, I can correct that next week. (!! next week!!!)
    No, no point. Just Grring and Arrghing.

    Reply
  47. I walked right by TRAR. Seriously, and now I’m self annoyed. I went ‘that must be a new cover reprint, TRAR isn’t out yet.’
    Gr and argh. Well, I can correct that next week. (!! next week!!!)
    No, no point. Just Grring and Arrghing.

    Reply
  48. I walked right by TRAR. Seriously, and now I’m self annoyed. I went ‘that must be a new cover reprint, TRAR isn’t out yet.’
    Gr and argh. Well, I can correct that next week. (!! next week!!!)
    No, no point. Just Grring and Arrghing.

    Reply
  49. I found TRAR on my Wal-Mart shelves today.
    Not a writer, but as a reader, anything more than a year wait between fav. authors is difficult if it’s a series. I don’t retain much of what I read unless I write it down or talk with someone about it (that’s why I have my book database). So, I forget what’s happened previously, get disgusted with myself for not remembering characters, feel like I need to re-read the series and then get discouraged because I already have over 300 tbr books and I don’t have time to re-read. What I end up doing is buying the books as they come out and then waiting to read several in a row (The Rogue’s Return is still on my tbr so I can read it right before TRAR).
    For non-series, I don’t mind waiting so much. I’d much rather have exactly what the author wanted in print than to have something that was rushed to meet a deadline.

    Reply
  50. I found TRAR on my Wal-Mart shelves today.
    Not a writer, but as a reader, anything more than a year wait between fav. authors is difficult if it’s a series. I don’t retain much of what I read unless I write it down or talk with someone about it (that’s why I have my book database). So, I forget what’s happened previously, get disgusted with myself for not remembering characters, feel like I need to re-read the series and then get discouraged because I already have over 300 tbr books and I don’t have time to re-read. What I end up doing is buying the books as they come out and then waiting to read several in a row (The Rogue’s Return is still on my tbr so I can read it right before TRAR).
    For non-series, I don’t mind waiting so much. I’d much rather have exactly what the author wanted in print than to have something that was rushed to meet a deadline.

    Reply
  51. I found TRAR on my Wal-Mart shelves today.
    Not a writer, but as a reader, anything more than a year wait between fav. authors is difficult if it’s a series. I don’t retain much of what I read unless I write it down or talk with someone about it (that’s why I have my book database). So, I forget what’s happened previously, get disgusted with myself for not remembering characters, feel like I need to re-read the series and then get discouraged because I already have over 300 tbr books and I don’t have time to re-read. What I end up doing is buying the books as they come out and then waiting to read several in a row (The Rogue’s Return is still on my tbr so I can read it right before TRAR).
    For non-series, I don’t mind waiting so much. I’d much rather have exactly what the author wanted in print than to have something that was rushed to meet a deadline.

    Reply
  52. Oh, and then all my fav. authors have their books pub’d in the same month and I can’t decide what I want to read first. My biggest problem is that I’ve got so many great books on my tbr that I can’t decide what to read next. Instead, I check out a bunch at the library and read them because they’ve got a dealine and I have to.
    I’m hopeless!

    Reply
  53. Oh, and then all my fav. authors have their books pub’d in the same month and I can’t decide what I want to read first. My biggest problem is that I’ve got so many great books on my tbr that I can’t decide what to read next. Instead, I check out a bunch at the library and read them because they’ve got a dealine and I have to.
    I’m hopeless!

    Reply
  54. Oh, and then all my fav. authors have their books pub’d in the same month and I can’t decide what I want to read first. My biggest problem is that I’ve got so many great books on my tbr that I can’t decide what to read next. Instead, I check out a bunch at the library and read them because they’ve got a dealine and I have to.
    I’m hopeless!

    Reply
  55. I’m a reader and while I can wish that my most favourite authors could publish a book a month (I can hear the gasps and screams of horror all the way from here in Canada – notice i said wish!!) I do realize that if I want a well written book, I have to wait.
    I have waited a really long time for some (diana gabaldon – but well worth the wait)and long time for others (JK rowling – Amazing – nuff said there)and a reasonable amount of time for still others and I don’t mind it too much. I think it is because I have found some of my new favourite authors while waiting for my old favourites to come out with a new book.
    I recently discovered Julia Quinn and Stephanie Laurens adn now i have an entire back log of their books to read. I also have a number of authors that I regularly re-read – Mary Jo just to name one.
    so, i guess the bottom line for me is…quality over quantity. And I know if I have to wait a bit I am probably going to get a quality book out of it that I am going to read over and over and over again.

    Reply
  56. I’m a reader and while I can wish that my most favourite authors could publish a book a month (I can hear the gasps and screams of horror all the way from here in Canada – notice i said wish!!) I do realize that if I want a well written book, I have to wait.
    I have waited a really long time for some (diana gabaldon – but well worth the wait)and long time for others (JK rowling – Amazing – nuff said there)and a reasonable amount of time for still others and I don’t mind it too much. I think it is because I have found some of my new favourite authors while waiting for my old favourites to come out with a new book.
    I recently discovered Julia Quinn and Stephanie Laurens adn now i have an entire back log of their books to read. I also have a number of authors that I regularly re-read – Mary Jo just to name one.
    so, i guess the bottom line for me is…quality over quantity. And I know if I have to wait a bit I am probably going to get a quality book out of it that I am going to read over and over and over again.

    Reply
  57. I’m a reader and while I can wish that my most favourite authors could publish a book a month (I can hear the gasps and screams of horror all the way from here in Canada – notice i said wish!!) I do realize that if I want a well written book, I have to wait.
    I have waited a really long time for some (diana gabaldon – but well worth the wait)and long time for others (JK rowling – Amazing – nuff said there)and a reasonable amount of time for still others and I don’t mind it too much. I think it is because I have found some of my new favourite authors while waiting for my old favourites to come out with a new book.
    I recently discovered Julia Quinn and Stephanie Laurens adn now i have an entire back log of their books to read. I also have a number of authors that I regularly re-read – Mary Jo just to name one.
    so, i guess the bottom line for me is…quality over quantity. And I know if I have to wait a bit I am probably going to get a quality book out of it that I am going to read over and over and over again.

    Reply
  58. I tend to a) plan out scenes in point form ahead of time (though often what’s planned doesn’t actually happen when I write) and b) switch things up with HOW I’m writing – some days at the computer, others on my AlphaSmart outside and others by hand in a big notebook, which I type in later. Using that method I can usually get 500-1000 words per day.

    Reply
  59. I tend to a) plan out scenes in point form ahead of time (though often what’s planned doesn’t actually happen when I write) and b) switch things up with HOW I’m writing – some days at the computer, others on my AlphaSmart outside and others by hand in a big notebook, which I type in later. Using that method I can usually get 500-1000 words per day.

    Reply
  60. I tend to a) plan out scenes in point form ahead of time (though often what’s planned doesn’t actually happen when I write) and b) switch things up with HOW I’m writing – some days at the computer, others on my AlphaSmart outside and others by hand in a big notebook, which I type in later. Using that method I can usually get 500-1000 words per day.

    Reply
  61. Liz, interesting that you walked by To Rescue A Rogue. I suppose with a similar cover look to The Rogue’s Return there might be a bit of confusion. Oh, worry, worry, worry.
    Not really.*G*
    All who’ve found it, I hope you enjoy it.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  62. Liz, interesting that you walked by To Rescue A Rogue. I suppose with a similar cover look to The Rogue’s Return there might be a bit of confusion. Oh, worry, worry, worry.
    Not really.*G*
    All who’ve found it, I hope you enjoy it.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  63. Liz, interesting that you walked by To Rescue A Rogue. I suppose with a similar cover look to The Rogue’s Return there might be a bit of confusion. Oh, worry, worry, worry.
    Not really.*G*
    All who’ve found it, I hope you enjoy it.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  64. Here’s another question for discussion: I just finished the latest book in one of my favorite mystery/thriller series in which one continuing character was “killed,” then brought back (it was a trick); two other continuing characters, the good-guy homicidal maniac and the bad-guy homicidal maniac were fighting to the death with knives on a boat when they fell into the Harlem River; we are told that one wounded the other and made it out of the river, BUT NOT WHICH ONE (or whether the wounded one survived, too). And at the end, when all the bad guys seem to have been rounded up, the hero is shot and left lying on the sidewalk, bleeding from many wounds, having an out-of-body experience in which he’s going toward a bright light while people try desperately to stanch his wounds–THE END.
    I HATE this sort of thing–whether it’s really going to be a kill-off or if it’s just a cliffhanger.
    Discuss.
    (And I just wanted to brag that I wrote this whole thing with a good-sized fluffy cat standing between me and the monitor and only made three typos.)

    Reply
  65. Here’s another question for discussion: I just finished the latest book in one of my favorite mystery/thriller series in which one continuing character was “killed,” then brought back (it was a trick); two other continuing characters, the good-guy homicidal maniac and the bad-guy homicidal maniac were fighting to the death with knives on a boat when they fell into the Harlem River; we are told that one wounded the other and made it out of the river, BUT NOT WHICH ONE (or whether the wounded one survived, too). And at the end, when all the bad guys seem to have been rounded up, the hero is shot and left lying on the sidewalk, bleeding from many wounds, having an out-of-body experience in which he’s going toward a bright light while people try desperately to stanch his wounds–THE END.
    I HATE this sort of thing–whether it’s really going to be a kill-off or if it’s just a cliffhanger.
    Discuss.
    (And I just wanted to brag that I wrote this whole thing with a good-sized fluffy cat standing between me and the monitor and only made three typos.)

    Reply
  66. Here’s another question for discussion: I just finished the latest book in one of my favorite mystery/thriller series in which one continuing character was “killed,” then brought back (it was a trick); two other continuing characters, the good-guy homicidal maniac and the bad-guy homicidal maniac were fighting to the death with knives on a boat when they fell into the Harlem River; we are told that one wounded the other and made it out of the river, BUT NOT WHICH ONE (or whether the wounded one survived, too). And at the end, when all the bad guys seem to have been rounded up, the hero is shot and left lying on the sidewalk, bleeding from many wounds, having an out-of-body experience in which he’s going toward a bright light while people try desperately to stanch his wounds–THE END.
    I HATE this sort of thing–whether it’s really going to be a kill-off or if it’s just a cliffhanger.
    Discuss.
    (And I just wanted to brag that I wrote this whole thing with a good-sized fluffy cat standing between me and the monitor and only made three typos.)

    Reply

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