Creative Procrastinator

February 17, 2014

It is now editing time for my second book, Twinsight, which is supposed to have a birthday sometime this spring.  I did learn some things during the editing process of my first book, Laughing Down the Moon.  I took copious notes for myself so that I would have an easier time with any future editing.  That was a great idea, but where are the notes now?

Without the notes, only three big lessons remain lodged in my mind among the names of 145 second-semester students, the due date of my library book (last Friday), and “i” before “e” except after “c.”

The first lesson I remember is to ask questions about deadlines when they arise rather than waiting until beyond the last minute because I am scared of the answer. For Laughing Down the Moon, my editor, Katherine V. Forrest, had to plead for an extra day from the publication department because we ran behind schedule.  I like waiting until the last minute to do things. True. And the entire time I was addressing the needs that arose during editing, I held this little scrap of wonderment, like a fortune cookie’s paper, in the back of my head.  On the fortune paper was written, “When is this thing due?” I was so scared that the answer would be “tomorrow” that I never asked.  Hence, an extra day had to be granted in order to get the novel out there in time.

Lesson learned; yesterday I emailed Nancy Ashmore, my editor for Twinsight, and she said I have ten days. Ah ha! Fabulous! Hm.  Why am I writing this instead of editing and revising? I’m getting to the answer here.

The second lesson is that Bella Books, my publisher, does not appreciate the serial comma.  The comma that comes before the “and” in a list. I had about 451 serial commas to remove from my first novel. No biggie, I can live with that despite the fact that I feel like a hypocrite in my classroom when I teach the students that the serial comma is imperative. This can be my “do as I say and not as I do” moment. My delicious secret life of breaking grammatical laws.

The third lesson I found tucked away in the gray matter is to not procrastinate.  (Yeah, whatever.) One issue with Twinsight that Nancy Ashmore pointed out is that the lesbian, Minnesotan protagonist keeps making references to her upcoming unlawful marriage.  I started writing the book in 2011, but the legality of same-sex marriage has evolved for Minnesotans so quickly that now much of the protagonist’s thinking and saying would have to be changed in order to reflect those legal updates.  I like my protagonist’s thinking, and I like what she says, so I don’t want to mess with it.  Lucky for me, my editor suggested setting the story in October 2012, adding some dialogue and reference to the “vote no on the anti-marriage amendment,” and keeping the protagonist’s ideas intact.

Cool. One problem.  I’m not a calendar person.  It is right now; it’s always right now.  I rarely know the date.  I usually know if it’s a school day or not, but the number on the calendar? That’s not for me.  So now I need to calendar out Twinsight because in this novel there are some critical dates, for instance, a birthday, a few holidays, and some specific Thursday parties.  Okay, so I went in search of a blank 2012 calendar to use in mapping out this story.

Want to know the calendar that I found nestled in my bookshelves?  It is blank and untouched… a purely virginal calendar…it is the “Do It Later! A 2012 Planner (or Non-Planner) for the Creative Procrastinator” by Mark Asher.  Is it any wonder that I am just getting around to using it now in 2014?  Huh. I better get back to editing.

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