DEBORAH CROMBIE: Seventeen (almost, more on that in a minute) novels, and I'm still looking for the Magic Bullet. I know, of course, that there is no such thing, and when I speak to writers' groups I always emphasize that. But... Here's where it gets sticky.
I am admittedly slow. But this book has been a bear. On the first of July, it will be two years since I turned in the manuscript for TO DWELL IN DARKNESS. TWO. Now, that's bad. Even for me. Although there has been a book that took longer. (I'm looking at it, stacked on my desk, and the one that came after, which was half the length and took half the time.)
Dear hubby says that I lack project management skills. And that I procrastinate. Both are probably true. I SAY that multiple view point, multiple story line, and sometimes multiple time line novels are HARD. And I am a plotter and a planner, a writer who has to work out who all these characters are and how everything fits together in the intimate history of the setting... At least those are my excuses, and I'm the first to admit they probably are excuses.
BUT, I say. Surely there is a way to do it better, and faster, and that I'll get the next book finished in LESS than a year. My agent, after twenty-three years (Yikes!) just laughs.
And I'm now in what I think of as the Chute. The book--GARDEN OF LAMENTATIONS-- is in the publisher's schedule. (February, 2017!) It has a cover. It's up on my website, and doesn't it look gorgeous?
A big chunk of the manuscript has gone to the illustrator, wonderful Laura Maestro, so that she can start on the accompanying map. And I have to finish the last...(mumble, mumble) pages in the next two weeks. (This is my new downstairs library table/desk that was pristine two weeks ago. It's now a mess of multiple outlines and notes and books--and cat. Imagine what it will look like two weeks from now...)
I think this makes me the Hare.
The good news is that I know how it all fits together now. (Chapter/scene outline done all the way the way to the end!) I have to get to a certain point before I can do this, but once I do, it rocks.
REDS and writer friends, I want to know. Do you write a regular, set amount, from beginning to end? Or do you find that books reach a tipping point where it all comes together and you blast through to the last page?
And what about other big, long term projects, everyone? Are you tortoises or hares?