Category: Fiction Writing in Progress


The simple answer is yes. They are very important. Whether the deadline you’re working on is self-imposed or one set upon you by some faceless name is of little importance. What is important is what’s behind that deadline, the bottom line. Most of us strive for publication and if that is our goal then a deadline will ultimately be a part of our lives at some point in our chosen career.

Giving ourselves a deadline is oft times just as important as one given by an agent or a publisher. hey make us accountable to ourselves. We no longer can allow dilly-dally. We are working toward a goal and the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (I know too many cliches.)

Without the dreaded looming deadline we get very little done. We don’t see the number on the calendar march on, we don’t see the possibilities evaporate or the contest date expiring. What we see is plenty of time. What that normally means is time wasted. Nothing constructive gets done. Our stories remain unfinished. We can claim nothing. Eventually when someone asks, “Are you published yet?” and you answer, “Not yet,” you will become a non-writer in their eyes. They will call your, ‘I’m a writer,’ remark nothing more than, ‘calling wolf.’ You’ll find yourself a has-been and you haven’t even been anything.

So are deadlines important? You bet they are. Start this month with a goal of writing something with a date in mind for its completion. Don’t give yourself anything that is unrealistic. Play fair with yourself. Remember that word count has a lot to do with the time allotted and that there should be time for editing included.

 

Example: A 3,000 word story may take 2-3 weeks but a non-fiction article of the same length may take only a week. It all depends on the amount of variables.

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A fellow writer put up a challenge that she was given and has passed it on. I now answer her challenge and give it back to my writing friends too. At random I will pick seven of you. Your job is to take the first seven paragraphs or lines from page 7, 70, 170 of your current work in progress book and share it with your readers and pick some unsuspecting friends to challenge to do the same.

 

Here’s mine. The title is “Candy” Have fun with her as she learns more about herself and what she wants in life. At the moment we find her confused and very frustrated. Can you tell? This is taken from page 7.

 

My name’s Candace Peters but my friends call me Candy. But I guess you don’t much care what people call me,” Candy went on without letting Jeff answer. “I live on Brownie Boulevard. Number 401. There’s a crack in my foundation and there’s water coming in. I’ve fought it for two, three, maybe five hours. I don’t know anymore. I need a plumber or a carpenter or, I don’t know. I need help. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I swept and swept and swept and the water kept coming. Then the power went out. I walked into a wall and I think I’ve broken my nose. I’m headed to the hospital but I don’t know where it is. I’m looking for a blue sign but I don’t see one. Do you have any idea where it is?” Candy said all in a rush of frustrated anxiety.

Ms Peter’s the hospital is on Poison Ivy Lane.”

What?” Interrupted Candy. “Did you say Poison Ivy Lane? Who on earth would build a hospital on a street named Poison Ivy? Where is it? I’ve been driving around for what feels like hours and I haven’t seen any street named Poison Ivy. Are you sure there is such a street?”

Jeff laughed. “Yea. I’m sure. Though, honestly, I’ve always wondered about the name myself. Now listen carefully. From your house you want to take a left on Gnome Avenue, then a right to Pixie Parkway. Go through the stoplight out of the subdivision. Go another light and then turn right down Maple Drive. The first left is Poison Ivy Lane. You can’t miss the hospital. It’ll be right in front of your face.”

At this point I don’t think being in front of my face would help any,” Candy muttered. “Sorry. This is not your problem. Thanks for your help,” she said wearily. “I’m heading back to the house and I’ll start fresh from there. You’ve been a big help. By now,”

Hey, wait…” Jeff yelled loud enough to be heard a foot away from the phone. “Don’t hang up. How do I get in your house to fix the plumbing?”

Oh, sorry. Forgot. It’s been a long day. There’s a spare key under the mat.”

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