Helpful Trick For Meeting Your Deadline

November 2nd, 2005 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

We are forever in search of creative ways to force ourself to meet deadlines. For the record, setting “pretend” deadlines allows us to have “pretend” last-minute crises that cause us to miss our deadline, leading to “pretend” hand-wringing over the whole disaster. Then we pretend to move on, but really, all that faking it wears a girl down.

Greg Sandow has decided to try another way of meeting his deadlines: writing his book online. He’ll post a new chapter every two weeks, people will offer helpful comments (woeful is the author who has the whole world as a critique partner!) , and revisions will happen — apparently in the background so it won’t be apparent that he’s not listening to a word his helpful public says. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true; far be it for to speak for another person:

But here’s a question. Why write a book this way? Answer: so I’ll have some pressure on me, something forcing me to write it. And so the book can get attention, even before it’s published. (Even before I have a deal with a publisher.) And so people who care about what the book says can help me make it better. This last reason is especially important. I want this book to help the classical music world. The best way to make it helpful is to let the classical music world participate in writing it. Or, at least, help me write it. That way, the book doesn’t only represent me. With any luck, it’ll represent a lot of people, including even some who disagree with me, because I can incorporate their objections.

File Under: Square Pegs

3 responses so far ↓

  • Ray Rhamey // Nov 2, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    I didn’t have deadlines in mind when I recently started my story blog/blook/book-in-progress, but the weekly need to keep the story going definitely weighs on me. I aim to post an episode once every week at “Death Sucks: On being a vampire kitty-cat.” The URL is for those who might be interested. I’m doing this without the safety net of an outline or a chance to polish the rough draft.

    As mentioned in a post on my other blog, Flogging the Quill, the story blog is causing me to approach keeping the story’s tension up in new ways. There’s this sudden need in me to somehow create enough of a hook to bring a reader back after a week has gone by. For me, that’s seeming like a much tougher task than writing to get a reader to simply turn a page in a manscript.

    With luck, this experience will inform my other current novel in progress, written in the standard way and going through a critique group. With “Death Sucks,” I do get comments, and they are helpful.

    One thing I wonder about Greg’s effort–he says an installment will disappear after two weeks, never to be seen again. I’m taking the route of leaving it all up, with the oldest post first, just as in a book. I figure that if someone comes along a couple of months down the road they’ll want/need the whole story. And I wonder if latecomers to Greg’s book will be frustrated by the lack of a chapter’s predecessors.

    I hope you’ll stop in at, give it a read, and maybe leave a comment.


    Ray Rhamey

  • Booksquare // Nov 3, 2005 at 12:11 am

    I just opened a tab for vampire kitty — with my schedule, if I give it an hour, I’ll forget. This way it will be there when I have a moment (don’t freak if your stats tell you someone has been at the site for a week!). I will have to wait, of course, until BS cats are otherwise occupied, don’t want them getting ideas. They already have some notions based on their viewing of anime.

    Your comment about increasing tension in new ways is interesting. They say that every sentence (ha!) should heighten the tension. One suspects that they don’t follow their own advice. Either that or they are all secretly Flannery O’Connor (much on my mind tonight for some reason). I have toyed with posting my own work, but every time I think about the approach I’d take, I don’t have a straight narrative fiction thing coming back at me.

    But you are inspiring me to get off my lazy chair and start working.

    Yes, I do agree that losing the narrative thread will be troublesome for Greg’s readers. The blog format is already a backwards approarch to reading, and I imagine there will be some who want to approach the work in a more linear fashion.

  • Ray Rhamey // Nov 3, 2005 at 9:46 am

    On the blog format being backwards–my blog host has a setting where the oldest post can be shown first, and that’s what I’m doing. I only hope that people catch on and either scroll down or click the “recent posts” links to move through the story. By the way, I put up a new “episode” today (11/3).