The draft train is on track to wrap up within the month. At least that's what I told myself this morning. Last weekend, I spent two days panicking that I'd never finish this book, miss my mid-October deadline, disappoint my agent (and myself), and freeze in a crippling case of self-doubt.
The crisis arose from those pesky suggestions in Don't Murder Your Mystery. An entire chapter is devoted to gestures and how empty ones can slow the story, mute the characters, and bore the readers. So, silly me, I decided to do global searches on the more common gestures (smiling, frowning, shrugging, etc.), under the misguided belief that I'd whip up some interesting new gestures in no time and be back to more important changes. But, oh, the stupid happy people in my book, always smiling. Why? Why? Why? What is there to smile about? A man's been murdered. You should be sad. But don't frown. That's just one more frown for me to find and replace. The changes took HOURS, slowing my planned revisions and making me doubt my writing ability altogether.
When I'd finally slogged through my all-too-frequent grimaces and chuckles, I moved on to random words that rarely belong in novels, like "still" and "really." The number of times I used "still" in my three hundred pages was downright embarrassing and just another example of sloppy writing (oh yeah, "just" is overused, too).
I wasted almost a week making those changes, putting me completely behind on the rest of the book. But this week, I wrapped up most of those problems, added a missing scene, redid the first four chapters, and am back on schedule (okay, I confess, it's a new schedule, but one that targets mid-October). And as an added bonus, my oldest kid is back in school most afternoons, so as long as my youngest takes a nap, I'll have one to two hours of uninterrupted writing time. I might make that target date yet!