Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Barb's Musing: Deadline Epiphany (& an Excerpt!)

I had an epiphany of sorts last week.  I'm still sorting it out in my head, but basically I realized I've been approaching this whole deadline business wrong. 

Since I sold to Harlequin in 2009, my process has been basically the same.  Plan on six months to write a book.  Spend the first 4 1/2 months screwing around with the first three chapters, then go nuts and write the draft in six weeks, making my deadline with hours (or minutes) to spare.  After every book I tell myself that next book I'll be more efficient.  That I'll use my time more wisely.  Then 4 1/2 months go by and I'm back in a blind panic. 

I used to think the answer would be to ask for more time between books.  If I have seven months, perhaps I won't have that craziness.  Then, last week it dawned on me: It doesn't matter how much time I give myself,  I am at my most focused during those last six weeks.  Not only that - I produce more. The story actually comes out easier.  I think the pressure of an encroaching deadline is what finally silences my internal editor.  Moreover, my focus and productivity expands and contracts based on how much time I have.  Give me seven months and I'll take seven months.  Give me two and I'll take two.

Which makes me wonder....Perhaps the answer isn't longer deadlines but shorter ones.  Maybe instead of saying I can only write two books a year, I need to push myself into writing three.  It deserves more thought. And perhaps a chat with my editor.

What about you?  Do you think having a shorter turnaround time would make you more productive?  Or do you need more?


Speaking of deadlines... (How's that for a marketing tie in?)  I have an ebook out with Entangled Press on March 15.  It's my 2007 Golden Heart winning manuscript WEEKEND AGREEMENT.  In it, Daniel Moretti gives Professor Charlotte Doherty a deadline of sorts as well.  Okay, maybe more an ultimatum.  If she wants to win back her family farm, she needs to spend the weekend with him!  Here's a brief excerpt:

“Wait, please.” A soft hand came down on his. Daniel could feel the contact all the way to his elbow. He looked up to find her staring plaintively at him. “Surely there’s something I can do to convince you to change your mind.”

Dear God, did her eyes have to be so green? He wanted to coolly dismiss Charlotte Doherty as he would any other pesky entrepreneur but he couldn’t. She looked so wide-eyed and dejected. He could almost hear the silent pleading she was trying so hard to hide from their depths. Made him feel like the bad guy in one of those old-fashioned melodramas. The cape-wearing villain twirling his mustache while the pretty young maiden pleads that she’d do anything, anything to save the family farm from
his clutches.

Or was that how he was supposed to feel? A bitter taste rose in his mouth as he pulled his hand away from hers. Suddenly her insistence on meeting face-to-face made sense. She had to know what those moisture-rimmed eyes would do to a man. And, if that failed, then there was the dress and those gorgeous long legs. Professor Doherty was just like Valerie or his mother or any other woman who crossed his path.

She was waiting for his answer. “Mr. Moretti?”

Daniel squeezed his fist tight, his nails digging into his palm, their sting erasing the memory of her touch. Dammit! Why didn’t he recognize the signs earlier? Hadn’t he just finished lecturing himself on this very subject?

God, but he was so sick of being nothing to women but a walking checkbook. Just once he’d like to a meet a woman who’d prove him wrong. But no, his entire life, all he ever heard were lies and promises and declarations of affection that weren’t worth the breath used to carry them.

Well, no more. He’d had enough. Enough games, enough pretense.

Without realizing it, his gaze had switched to the discarded invitation on his desk. So Charlotte Doherty wanted to know if they could make some kind of arrangement, did she? Fine, he’d offer her an arrangement. He’d offer a doozy. A straight-up exchange of assets. If she wanted this farm as badly as she claimed, she’d accept. If not, well…no skin off his nose.

“I’ll tell you what,” he said. “I’ll sell back the land–at the price I paid your brother–on one condition. There has there to be something in this deal for me.”

"Such as…?”

Want to read more? Well, then you'll just have to buy a copy won't you?  Click here if you're interested. (The book will be available on March 15)

Tell next week, happy writing!