Deadline Craziness (Joy Preble)

I’ve got a book due to my editor in two weeks. I’m entering the crazy zone. I alternate between thinking I can do this and thinking that I absolutely, positively can’t. Sometimes in the same five minute period. My brain bounces: Oh my gosh, that line I just wrote – it’s the best line I’ve ever created in my life. Yay! But wait. That line was good, but what about this one? This line sucks. I need to delete it. And the rest of that scene – that has to go, too. I’m a fraud. Maybe people haven’t figured that out with books one and two, but boy oh boy, when they read book three, they’ll know for sure.

There is, I’ve learned, only one sure cure. Gut it out, man up, and write. I can revise later, but only if I spit it out now. Do not check my email, do not log onto Facebook, do not pretend that I’m “researching Russian folklore” when I’m really surfing You Tube. Do not answer the phone. Or decide that the kitchen needs cleaning or the laundry needs doing – both of which are currently true but nonetheless distractions.

I thought that writing the third book of a trilogy would be the easiest yet. I know the characters. I know the plot. It’ll be like rolling off a log. (Actually, I don’t understand that saying. Rolling off a log is painful. You could hit your head. There could be a log jam, and you could be trapped and die)

It hasn’t been easy at all. *think root canal without Novocain* Okay maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. *think cartilage piercing without that second Margarita* It’s a third book, but I’d still like readers to be able to enter the DREAMING ANASTASIA series and read book 3 on its own merits, if that’s what they’d like to do. I don’t want them to pick up book 3 and say, hey, what a pretty cover. But I’ll read this next year after I finish the first two. (And by ‘I’ in this scenario, what I mean is ‘my editor.’ I agree with her. But she brought it up first) My critique partners are on permanent ‘is this too much backstory? Or maybe too little’ alert.

They agree that this is all harder than it looks. So many little details to tie up. That tiny moment I planted back in book one? I need to make sure I use it. This is my last chance to finish Anne and Ethan’s story. There will be no Anastasiamore where my readers all interact on line and buy audio books and ebooks and I rake in megabucks for all eternity.

The truth? I’m still having a great time. Even when it feels like I’m bleeding onto the keys to get those words out, I feel enormously lucky to get to create characters out of my head, give them a journey and see it through. DREAMING ANASTASIA sold as a one book deal. Only after it was out did my publisher contract for HAUNTED. So the fact that I am here, getting to whine about the pesky third book details – that’s nothing short of a miracle. Okay, no one’s going to declare it a holiday or anything. (although wouldn’t that be cool? You’d go to the grocery and see everyone lined up to buy their Joy Preble Day turkeys? And some lady in front of you would be saying, “I stuff mine with chopped up deep dish Chicago style pizza because that’s Joy’s favorite” Which would be gross, but totally flattering.)

Gotta get back to work now.


  1. Great post. I love your candor. And so very relevant for me. My deadline for the third in a trilogy is August 15th. It's been the hardest to write so far. Good luck. And that turkey stuffing sounds very interesting. Can I get mine with spinach and pepperoni.


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