Christina Dodd on HOW I WRITE BOOKS FOR FUN AND PROFIT!
While finishing a book, think longingly about writing the next story, one that’s really good with a lot of conflict and action, not like this current, awful novel that I thought up in a moment of madness.
Finish manuscript at last possible moment. Send file to editor via email barely on time to make my deadline.
Resolve to start writing on new story immediately while I’m in the writing mode.
But first — must watch movies and read books to freshen my mind and clear out the other novel. Also, have been so caught up in work, haven’t talked to friends in weeks. Also, family is starved for home-cooked meals. Give myself three free days before starting next, brilliant idea.
Watch movies. Read books. Talk to friends. Cook. Think about new story a lot.
While shopping for new clothes — must relax somehow — see myself in mirror. Haven’t exercised for weeks and have developed protuberance in back commonly called a “butt.” Plan to start exercise program immediately.
Realize two weeks have passed. No exercise. Editor wants to see proposal in four weeks. Resolve to start tomorrow.
Write first sentence. Admire it greatly. Quit for the day. No exercise.
Read first sentence. Realize it’s not right. Tweak first sentence. Quit for the day. No exercise.
Realize two more weeks have passed. Start synopsis. Get to midpoint. Have no idea how to proceed. Quit for the day. No exercise.
Wonder if readers realize I’m a fraud, unable to start a story because of lack of will power, inspiration, and most of all, competence. Go for a walk.
No time to exercise! Write synopsis and first three chapters in the four days before proposal deadline. Send it to editor.
Relax after grueling writing stint. Watch movies, etc.
Tweak the first three chapters. Write chapter four and five. Tweak the first three chapters. Wonder why I ever thought this would make a good story. Begin to think about plot for next book.
Get call for television interview. Realize I must totally redecorate my house. Move office to upstairs bedroom recently abandoned my college-going daughter. Turn former office into library. Clean. Buy new clothes. Exercise!
Am interviewed by reporter. Say firmly that writing takes dedication, resolve and determination, as witnessed by my own prodigious output of ten pages a day.
Wait anxiously for interview to be aired. As I watch, realize I still have a “butt.” Walk every day for an hour. Sweat. Ick.
Re-read first five chapters to get back into feel of the story. Tweak first five chapters. Plod to middle of the book, pulling out each painful word one by one, deleting half. Realize book will never end. Re-think career. Could become greeter at Wal-mart, see real live people instead of imaginary people, earn regular paycheck and insurance.
Speak to greeter at Wal-mart. Find out job involves a schedule and dealing with real people.
Write to third turning point of manuscript.
Realize I have four weeks to write a hundred pages, revise and still make deadline. Write like the wind, or at least the breeze. Do not read. Do not watch movies. Do not shop. Do not cook. Do not talk to friends. Do not exercise. Think longingly about writing the next story, one that’s really good with a lot of conflict and action, not like this current, awful novel.
Book does not end at the right place.
One hundred and forty pages later, write, “The End,” the absolute best phrase in the English language, and that includes, “I love you,” and “Here’s your royalty check.”
Re-read manuscript, realize it’s acceptable except for the first three chapters which need tweaking. Finish manuscript at last possible moment. Send file to editor via email.
Resolve to start writing on new story immediately.