Whew! The finished manuscript of my new novel, Tower of Thorns, went off to the publisher by the (extended) deadline of Jan 27. It’s out of sight, if not out of mind, for the next month or so while my editor writes her report. If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that my time management for this novel was less than perfect, with the result that December and January passed in a blur of speed writing. I did squeeze in some final editing before I pressed the send button. And my writing process, which involves more or less continuous revision as I go, meant that the bulk of the manuscript was already well polished. But that last section, the dramatic, tension-filled climax and the neat tying up of loose ends? That was still being written a week before the deadline. My advice to you, fellow scribes: don’t let yourself get into that position. Put good time management practices in place for your project early in the writing period or you’ll end up like me, doing a solitary two-month NaNoWriMo Plus. That’s not the way to produce a well-crafted novel.
But wait. Maybe that’s only half right. When I’d typed the final words and was doing my first read-through, I realised those final chapters, the ones I wrote in a white-hot panic, were actually pretty good. They were fast-paced and dramatic, yet had the subtlety of character interaction I was aiming for. Sure, I found the typos and repetitions we’re all guilty of when we’re writing in a rush. There were some clunky sentences; there was over-use of favourite words. But that kind of thing is easily fixed. Overall, this was one of the strongest sections of the novel. Who’d have thought it?
As a druid once said, There is learning in everything, and this experience is no exception. Apart from the obvious lesson about time management, which I talked about in my last post, there’s the possibility that when we’re under intense pressure we work better. Why is that?