Sunday, April 18, 2010
Under the Gun
Wednesday I got a call from the person agenting a particular project of mine, letting me know she'd had lunch with an editor from a well-known British publishing company and said editor was interested in my project. She needed me to beef up the outline, make it 'kick ass,' and polish up the finished chapters and get it to her that evening.
Mind you, I was at work when I talked to her and still had about four or five hours to go. I also had plans with friends that evening. My response?
"Sure, I can do that!"
I mean, what else do you say? A job is a job and when you have to work overtime, you do it. Especially when a possible publishing contract is a potential reward.
I did get both the outline and chapters beefed up, cleaned up, and even kick-assified. I had three writer friends read the outline to catch any spelling/grammatical errors, plot holes, or story points that made them go 'WTF is wrong with you, Fredsti?' I went over the chapters several times with spell and grammar check, read them for continuity, flow, character development, really stupid, self-indulgent bits that needed to come out. And then I hit the 'send' button and poured myself a restorative glass of wine.
Since then I've resisted the temptation to re-read either the outline or the chapters. If there's a mistake I missed, I just don't want to know about it. It's too late to do anything about it. It's always scary getting things done as a rush job under a tight deadline. It's motivating as hell, but not always conducive to turning in your best work. And I've found no matter how many times I read over my own writing, I will invariably find an error or two during a later read. Drives me mad, but if spell check and repeated line edits don't catch it, whatcha gonna do?
What about you? What's the tightest deadline crunch you've ever had? How did you insure the quality of your work? Would you rather work with or without a deadline? And where's that glass of wine?!