Tuesday, June 05, 2007


JoAnn Ross suggests that unpublished writers give themselves deadlines to write towards, and more importantly, keep. Not only will it prepare one for the demands of publication, it also helps keep the writing fresh. She writes every day and has done so since the beginning of her career when she was a working mom.

The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic for me and I've neglected to set some deadlines. Last week Dee challenged me to three days of exercise and one scene in a week. Considering I was in the midst of a long work spell with one day off in eleven days thanks to two jobs, it seemed unrealistic.

Here it is the night before my deadline expires. And I've written seven sentences. On the end of an existing scene. They're good sentences though. The dialogue came to me while I was walking home from work today(I like to multi-task). I should have stopped along the way to write it all down as it was coming pretty quick but it was so real, and a great tie-in to the early morning epiphany I had about Nea, that I wasn't concerned about losing any of it. Yeah, I know, but I did retain a fair portion.

It's tempting to stop where I am and wait for the rest of it to unfold. A lot of times the stuff I recapture is a murky imitation of the beauty that I let slip through my grasp. But the deadline looms.

And I know that the dialogue in this scene not only illuminates Nea's motivation;it reveals facets of Alex's personality that were somewhat unexpected. The plot is moving along. The characters are plunging ahead despite their reservations about their own behaviour. The conflict has taken a turn with Alex's reaction to Nea's pet bug.

Despite my inclination to call it a night and retreat into the book I'm reading - No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross - I'm going to wade back into the conversation between the characters I'm writing.

And make the all-important deadline. Because it prepares me for publication, keeps the story fresh in my mind, and gives me a success in a week full of perceived failure.

JoAnn Ross has written over ninety books following her own advice. She knows what she's talking about. Not to mention the woman knows her way around shoes. I'm gonna listen to her.

How are your deadlines coming along?

Update - who knows Morse code? It appears that Clio the chestnut weevil communicates by tapping out Morse code with her antennae. And of course, Alex knows some of that because...do we still use Morse code? This is why I shouldn't wait until the night before the deadline - a damn monkey wrench tossed in by a bug. Like there aren't enough kinks in this story. Not that kind of kink; plot twists, character turns. Sheesh. I'm not even going to ask about whether weevils can communicate. She's the pet of a demon. Clio can do whatever I, er, Nea, wants her to do.

Further Update - Thanks Me and McB. Morse Code is used far more in music than the average listener would imagine. Considering how much Alex moved as a child, and that his mother was musically gifted, I can use this. That would have been a cool way for him to communicate with his mother;something special only the two of them shared. That translator link was a lot of fun, perhaps too much.


  1. Anonymous10:04 AM

    Let's see if this works:

    .... . .-.. .-.. --- / -.-. -- ... .-.-.-

    To translate, go here:

  2. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Hey it worked!
    Before I found this lovely Morse Code Translator, the only code I knew was SOS: ... --- ...

    I think I found a new time waster...

    As for deadlines...I probably should use them.

    I always carry a notepad for those moments of inspiration, because otherwise I forget studd, not matter how good it was.

  3. I never forget a good studd, Me. I had my notebook with me, but it's hard to walk and write at the same time and I was convinced I'd remember the whole thing. I hadn't counted on a real conversation the minute I walked into the house.

  4. .... .. / -- .

    You're right this could be a real time sink.

  5. Anonymous10:56 AM

    ... - ..- ..-. ..-. .-.-.- / .. / -- . .- -. - / ... - ..- ..-. ..-. .-.-.-

  6. --- .... / -- -.-- / -... --- -... .-.-.- / .-.. .. -.- . / .. / -. . . -.. . -.. / ... --- -- . - .... .. -. --. / . .-.. ... . / - --- / -.. .. ... - .-. .- -.-. - / -- . / ..-. .-. --- -- / .-- --- .-. -.- / - --- -.. .- -.-- .-.-.-

  7. Sheryl, try this link:


  8. Anonymous6:43 PM

    Um. Commenting on the comments. I roll my eyes. lol

  9. Yep, the comments can be a fun place to play Helen. Sometimes it leads to whole new avenues of exploration for your characters. And sometimes it's a major time suck.

  10. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Hey Sheryl,

    Even I got sucked into the morse code; hence, the eye roll. You know I cant' do that right now! As usual, you are right on both counts!

  11. deadlines! thiose would be good