Strict Deadlines and a Request for Nagging

I made a fairly big commitment last night.

I’ve booked an editor for my upcoming novel, Manifestation. Angi Nicole Black, who is both a freelance editor and a cool person on Twitter, is running a holiday special on her services until January 15th. Which means if you contact her before January 15th, you’ll get the discounted rate, even if you schedule the services several months down the line. If you’re in need of proofreading, copyediting, or anything else along those lines, you should go check her out.

Now, if you read my blog semi-regularly, you know I’ve been slacking big time when it comes to finishing Manifestation. I needed a serious deadline to make myself sit down and get to work. I’ve already made a down payment for the editing services, so that’s a nice big sign that says “YOU HAVE TO DO THIS NOW!” Or, more accurately, a sign I made for myself in red marker:

This will sit on my desk in plan sight until March 6.
This will sit on my desk in plan sight until March 6.

Having a deadline means no more fucking around. It means I need to finish this novel and have it ready for editing, and then for publication. So I’m setting a schedule, and posting it here so people can hold me accountable for it.

Here is the list of what currently needs to be done:

  1. Finish Draft One of Collapse so I can move from “writing mode” to “revising mode.” In order to have everything done on time, I think I need to finish this draft (about another 25,000 words or so) before Christmas. So the official DEADLINE for Collapse is December 25th. That’s an estimated 3125 words per day.
  2. Finish revising Draft Three of Manifestation and send it out for a first round of critiques. I want to get feedback and critiques done on the book before it goes out for editing, since the editor will then be receiving the most complete book I can provide. I’m currently on page 248 out of 378 (65.6%, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman). Draft Three is a mix of line edits, general polishing, scene order, and making cuts of the parts that drag. I think that in order to get everything done on time, I need to finish this draft by a DEADLINE of January 15th. If I start on December 25th, that means I need to revise an average of 6 pages per day, which is very doable. Of course, some of the revision involves going back to earlier scenes, making cuts, moving things around, etc. So “forward progress page by page” isn’t a 100% accurate way of rating this. But it’s how I’ll judge progress.
  3. I’ll need to get critiques on Draft Three before starting on Draft Four. I’ll probably be asking around, as of January 15th or so, for people who would like to read the novel WIP and offer feedback and suggestions. From time to time I’ve had some people say they’d be interested, but I never kept a specific list. So around that time I’ll probably make a post either here or on Twitter to see who is interested. I’ll also offer a full critique of your WIP in exchange, quid pro quo. Though in order to ensure I have time for Draft Four of revisions, I’ll be setting a DEADLINE of February 6th, which would be a three week turnaround. Normally I wouldn’t give critique partners a deadline because they’re doing me a favor for free, but it’s the only way for me to hit my own March 6th deadline on time.
  4. After I get critiques back, I’ll work on Draft Four. I’ll have one month to do another full round of revisions, based on the feedback from my critique partners. That brings me to my final DEADLINE of March 6th, when I send the novel off for edits. That’s about 12 pages per day, which is double what I’ll be doing on Draft Three revisions, BUT by Draft Four, the revisions should be easier since in my past experiences revising short stories, a fourth draft is a lot of tiny fine-tuning and goes a lot quicker.
  5. I expect to have the edits back by the end of March, so that in April I can work on whatever else I need to do. I can’t really predict what stage I’ll be at by then. Will it need a second round of edits? Or just proofreading? I don’t know. So I’ll figure that out in April.

And that’s it! Now, if you like nagging people and/or offering them encouragement and support, I hereby volunteer as tribute. Feel free to ask me for updates, here or on Twitter (@cantrelljason) whenever you like. If I make excuses, or say I haven’t hit my goals (3125 words per day on Collapse, then 6 pages revised per day on Manifestation Draft Three or 12 pages per day on Draft Four), I give you permission to demand I cease any other activities, turn off the TV, get off Twitter, or turn down invitations to social engagements. Nothing else is currently a priority in my life. This book is getting published in 2014 (preferably in the earlier half of the year). I’m going into serious crunch-time-mode and getting this done, no matter how much sleep I lose.

Since after all, y’all can’t read this book until I get it done.

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4 thoughts on “Strict Deadlines and a Request for Nagging”

  1. I know you can do it my friend. You’ve got a plan. You’ve got the drive to see it through. And if you need people to read and provide critiques, I’m more than willing to help. I am a big fan of radiance so look forward to reading more of your work.

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