Holy Crap! A DEADLINE!

So. I agreed to write a story for Trisha Telep for the Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance, because I had such fun writing the story for the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance.

And then we moved, and we lived through Pack-Unpack Purgatory, and Getting The Internet At Our New Location Hell, and, well…

And in the back of my mind, I knew the story was due at some point, but I hadn’t received a contract yet, so I didn’t worry about the deadline. (Professional Writer Rule #1: ALWAYS worry about the deadline.)

Trisha asked me a few days ago if I’d got the contract. I said no. She said she’d send me another one.

So this morning I checked my e-mail, and there was the contract, which I printed out and signed and got ready to send out. And, being a sensible writer, I checked the due date at the same time I checked all the regular clauses. In other words, just a few minutes ago.

And [oxygen in room diminishes by 50%] the due date is June 1, 2009.

Right.

So my first order of business is to invent time travel, so I can write this story in a leisurely fashion.

Barring that, this is where you prove you can do what you say you can do, or you shut up.

I have no idea. I have no words done. And I need to have written a finished 6500-word time-travel romance to email her on Monday.

This should be fun.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

21 comments… add one
  • Holly Lisle Jun 8, 2009 @ 8:08

    Pratip—Definition of paranormal romance: Story in which the relationship between the two characters is the main plot, and in which some element of the supernatural, the mythical, or the unexplained (ghosts, elves, time travel, etc.) forms the conflict that drives the main plot.

    If the protagonists inhabit in a world in which the paranormal exists, but they are not alternately pushed together and pulled apart by the paranormal, the story is NOT a paranormal romance.

  • Pratip Majumdar Jun 8, 2009 @ 4:17

    “Paranormal Romance” if you describe the term briefly I will be helped. I am also going to start my second novel (Bangla) regarding office romance and how a domestic house-wife gradually converted into a full grown office secretary at calcutta in a Govt. Department, this is the subject where office romance, perversion, social negligence and caste system will come side by side.

  • Laraine May 30, 2009 @ 14:30

    Just as well Holly doesn’t live here, Tonye. It’s Sunday for me!

  • Tonye May 30, 2009 @ 13:21

    Here it is Saturday already. Why isn’t it finished? (kidding, of course! I know you can do it.) Still 24 hours plus to go.)

  • Leigh May 29, 2009 @ 19:08

    Somehow, I think that not only will you sail through this weekend and hit your deadline, but the seeds for a new mini-course will be planted.

  • JAMEY CREAGER May 29, 2009 @ 17:48

    I KNOW YOU’LL PRODUCE AN EXCEPTIONAL STORY. YOU ALWAYS DO. THAT’S THE REAL TREAT OF BEING A FAN: GETTING A READ ANYTHING NEW THAT YOU PRODUCE. WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR STYLE IS THE WAY THAT YOU PERSONALLY ENGAGE THE CHARACTER. NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN DO IT THE WAY YOU DO. YOU IMMEDIATELY FEEL THE PERSONA OF THE CHARACTER, AND IT’S LIKE YOU ARE LIVING THE STORY AS THE CHARACTER, AND NOT JUST READING A FANTASTIC BOOK. GOOD LUCK WITH THIS DEADLINE. WHO KNOWS, ADRENLINE CAN MAKE US SUPERMEN AND WOMEN; MAYBE ADRENLINE WILL MAKE THIS STORY EVEN BETTER THAN THE USUAL PERFECTION THAT YOU GIVE US.

  • Sandra Fikes May 29, 2009 @ 16:26

    I have every confidence you’ll get through this frazzled experience, but I’m still going to wish you good luck on getting through this one! Hopefully you’re like me and are able to sit down and “just do it” when you know that the deadline is staring over your shoulder with a stopwatch in hand.

  • Laraine May 29, 2009 @ 15:37

    I hope you have someone to protect you from interruptions, Holly. I definitely wouldn’t wish my husband on any writer. He threatened to literally drag me from my computer chair one day when visitors unexpectedly turned up and I was in the middle of writing a very harrowing scene in my novel. I wanted readers to feel unbearable anguish for my protagonist but wanted to write without any hint of sentimentality, and I thought it was going quite well so naturally I wanted to keep on writing. I felt as though a bucket of cold water, followed by one of cow dung, had been thrown over me. Best of luck! But I’m sure you’ll keep the deadline and write a “real killer” to boot. 🙂

  • Kari Wolfe May 29, 2009 @ 13:48

    Holly,

    You freaking rock! 🙂 Know what? If you were a greenstick beginner, I might be worried 🙂 You’ll get it done – maybe by the skin of your teeth, but you’ll get it done 🙂

    Here’s hoping for a great weekend for you!

    I think you can do it and I’ll be looking forward to the mini-lesson. 🙂

    –Kari

  • Holly Lisle May 29, 2009 @ 8:06

    Elizabeth–I’ll be posting my writing notes, notecards, Scrivener screenshots, first and send-out story drafts, and page by page voice-over commentaries (basically the same thing I’m doing as I’m writing Dreaming the Dead, only in this case with the whole drafts of the story) in the Think Sideways Grad Student area as a mini-lesson on hitting the ground running with no idea and no time.

    And know what you mean about contracts. I was pretty close to done with The Ruby Key when I got the contract for it.

  • Elizabeth J. Baldwin May 29, 2009 @ 7:48

    Don’t cha just love it? I got the contract back last week for a book that has been out since February. When the money is going to show up is anyone’s good guess.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your story. I know it will be good.

  • MarFisk May 29, 2009 @ 1:24

    Yeah, I know. On the other hand, one day to write gives you a whole…umm…three to edit? Glad you figured out the idea and it’s on its way. I’m sure it’ll be smashing.

  • Holly Lisle May 28, 2009 @ 21:34

    Hey, Mar—

    😀 The one big difference between this and that is that is this has to be publishable straight out of the box, with no room for error. It does increase the stakes a bit. But I did the Thinks Sideways stuff for the idea and the outlining and everything, and it’s coming together beautifully.

  • MarFisk May 28, 2009 @ 15:37

    Oh so many years ago, you invented the addicting Story A Day on Forward Motion. Come on…you have Oodles of time :). But seriously, maybe it’s time to jump back into that methodology to get it done.

  • vanity May 28, 2009 @ 12:43

    All here I thought I had a bad deadline… Good luck with the story!

  • Robert Bradley May 28, 2009 @ 12:16

    That seems like a tall order and I understand about the “Pack-Unpack Purgatory.” I’m sure you’ll take care of it. You might crash when it’s over, but it will be done.

    Let us know when it through.

  • Janey Hale May 28, 2009 @ 12:10

    Since it’s “we” moved, I assume you have someone who can transport food to the desk where you are chain to the computer for the next four days — yes?

  • Jamie D. May 28, 2009 @ 11:59

    Whoa! I’m sure you’ll pull it off…but wow, you’re going to be busy!

    Good luck!

  • Daniel May 28, 2009 @ 11:58

    Holly, it boggles my mind that you didnt just say HA! and throw it in the trash. Thats what i would have done. But that is why you are Holly Lisle. You keep your promises. I’ll be thinking of you all weekend.

    Good Luck!

  • althea preston May 28, 2009 @ 11:57

    I have no doubt you’ll do this, on time, and with a great story! If I had half your energy and drive…oh, I could conquer the world 😉

    Let us know when you email it though!

  • klharrds May 28, 2009 @ 11:49

    I think you were very restrained with merely a Holy Crap there Holly. I came up with something much more colourful when I read this and it’s not even my deadline.

    Good luck with this, I’ll have my fingers crossed for you. I think you’re gonna need a weekend free of disasters and distractions. I don’t remember the last time I managed on of those personally but … like I said fingers crossed.

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