Monday, April 8, 2013

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. (Douglas Adams)


Since Lisabet and Giselle and Charlotte have covered writing-related procrastination so well, and Garceus has covered sexual procrastination with such panache that I won’t even consider going there, I’d been hoping to take an entirely different tack, but of course I’ve procrastinated so long that I have no choice but to confess my own severe case of writing procrastinitis.

You might think that writing short stories rather than novels would make things a lot easier. Who can’t whip off 2000-5000 words in a couple of days at the most? Unless, of course, the particular themes require research into history, or geography, or psychology, or witchcraft, or forensics…well, you can get the picture without the thousand words it may or may not be worth. Still, even if I already know enough about the characters and their situation and their sexual idiosyncracies, and can’t imagine that I’ll need more than a few days to get 2000-3000 words about them down on (virtual) paper, my imagination plays its old tricks. Deadline day (after maybe two or three days of severe embargo of Facebook and similar sloughs of dawdling) finds my characters 2500 words into their adventure, but nowhere near its end. Sometimes I can forge on through in the nick of time (hoping an editor on the west coast doesn’t mind that my e-mailed submission is sent at 12:15 am on the east coast, which is only 9:15 pm in California.) Sometimes, though, I can’t even come close, and the next deadline I hope to make for a different anthology is coming up so soon that I have to leave my characters in a state of erotica interrupta until another likely market comes along.

If I’ve actually committed to something, I do get it done, but I’m pretty commitment-shy. I’ve never been late turning in an anthology I’ve edited; on the other hand, I’ve never turned one in early, either. I don’t generally ask for story extensions, but if editors freely offer them, I jump at the chance and do come through. The plus side, if there is one, is that as an editor I’m sympathetic when writers need extensions from me, and I try to figure extra time into the publishing equation for just that.

I recently turned in a story one day early, to an editor I’ve worked with before, for an anthology I’d really like to be in. I managed this because the piece was a sequel to something I’d published a few years ago, and the characters’ continuing story had been brewing at the back of my mind for a long time. I’d even written a thousand or so words quite a while ago, setting up the general scene. But in the course of development, it became clear that this story and the one preceding it really wanted to be combined and expanded into a novel, or a novella at the very least, and I’m not at all sure that the one I just submitted can stand by itself.

Hmm. A novella. Maybe a novel. With my procrastinative tendencies? Not likely.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Sachi!

    I think in the end we write what the story fairy gives us, and maybe for you and me the story fairy gives us short stories.

    We do the best we can.

    garce

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  2. i relate to this as well. i write short stories, long poems or series poems & am working on a novel. love the idea of a short story fairy, Garce :)

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  3. Don't be afraid to ask for extensions, Sacchi. Most editors are happy to give you an extra week or two, especially if they know who you are.

    And everybody knows who YOU are...

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