Writing to Deadlines
By Rosemary Johnson
|Typescript of A La Recherche Du |
Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust
I nearly forgot to write this post. Bit tied up at the moment. I’m having to reschedule my writing, and my life generally, because of I'm entering The Novel for three competitions this summer and they all have serious deadlines. Well scary!
I finished writing The Novel a year ago and I’m now editing it. The Curtis Brown First Novel Prize (1 August) I’ve already submitted to: they wanted only a synopsis and 10,000 words. I'm ready for the Page 100 Competition (Louise Walters Books) (29 August) because I’ve already edited up to page 156. However, I would also like to enter the HWA & Sharpe Books Unpublished Novel Award (30 September) and they want… deep breath… the whole novel. All 96,000 words of it.
Editing shouldn’t be such a big deal, should it? Especially as this will be edit number four and for this iteration I'm able to use beta-readers’ feedback. Well, I’m afraid it is, partly because I always want to tweak (my problem) and I also find errors which I can’t believe I’ve never spotted before. I like to read my work aloud, which takes time but is a good way of highlighting omitted words (my besetting sin) and any awkward dialogue or phrasing. Additionally, of course, I have other commitments, including two holidays, and I won’t be able to edit on holiday.
Sooo… I’ve set myself a schedule. For all non-holiday days, my target is to edit two chapters per day (each chapter is roughly 2000 words long), come what may. This involves a realistic assessment each day of other commitments: I didn’t go to church yesterday – naughty girl. To be honest, finishing the editing will be an enormous relief because I'm ready to move on and I would really like to attempt NanoWriMo this November – more deadlines. 50,000 during month of November.
I’m about to start Chapter 21 and the last one is Chapter 49. Wish me luck. I'll be back editing as soon as I finish this post.
Rosemary Johnson has had many short stories published, in print and online, amongst other places, Cafe Lit, The Copperfield Review and 101 Words. She has also contributed to Together magazine. In real life, she is a retired IT lecturer, living in Suffolk with her husband and cat. Her cat supports her writing by sitting on her keyboard and deleting large portions of text.