When I was in school, I was always that student who finished projects way ahead of schedule. I never pulled an all-nighter, I never stressed too much about a paper or project due. I worked on it a little bit at a time until it was finished.
I figured I’d do the same with the outline of book #2 that was due to my editor at Random House last week. After all, I had a loose outline in my head already and the characters were completely fleshed out. All I needed was a little bit of research on a few points and I would write it. My outline was written weeks ahead of time. Boy, was I proud of myself. In fact, I was so far ahead of my own schedule I even started writing the book and got to chapter six.
Then things fell apart.
Something went wrong and I couldn’t figure out what. It took me two weeks and the deadline was looming, rising over me like all those monsters in your worst childhood nightmares. Panic started to set in. What the heck was wrong with my story? Finally a week before it was due, it hit me. I didn’t like my hero. At all. He was boring and he did nothing for the heroine. She didn’t even like him!
I had to scrap the entire outline and start from scratch–two days before it was due. The problem was, when I finally figured my hero out, his history didn’t fit with him anymore. It was like a domino effect–I change one thing and everything else is affected.
The day of the deadline arrived and not one word is written, but I knew what I wanted to write! Luckily I have the greatest agent ever who emailed me and offered to read the synopsis. I sent it off to her, she made some comments, I worked late into that night making the changes –afraid I was going to pull my first all-nighter ever–and slid that outline in to my editor just a teeny bit over the deadline.
Deadline Hell. I lived it and survived it but never want to do that again. Whew (wiping sweat from my brow).
The good thing is that I have an awesome book to write with vibrant characters who have a long journey ahead of them.
So tell me, are you one of those who work better under pressure or do you like to get things done ahead of the deadline?