Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Does Time Matter? by Jess Lourey

I just finished the first draft of Octoberfest, the sixth book in my imageMurder-by-Month mysteries. I’m ecstatic, relieved, and a little guilty. Why? Because I wrote the book in six weeks so I could get it to my editor on time.

When it comes to deadlines, I’m normally so anal that I have to remember to unclench so I don’t take the chair with me when I stand up. And here I am, just getting a book in under the gun. It’s given me gray hair and made those around me miserable.

I found out over Christmas that I would be writing the novel, and I chose the May 1 deadline because I wanted as short a time as possible between the release of books in the series. That only gave me four months to write it. I wrote September Fair in six months, my record, and that felt rushed.

So why did I fritter away almost 3/4 of those four months? Because I was in love. It’s been eight years since my last relationship, and I am happily consumed by sitting next to the couch with this guy and reading, going to movies together, talking about the SyFy channel scripts we’re going to write (we have the titles already), and generally acting dopey.

Add two kids, a full-time job, stir just until moist and voila! You have the recipe for a six-week novel. That brings me to the title for imagemy post: does time matter? Most authors are vague about how much money they make and how much time they spend writing. I get why. A $3 bottle of wine doesn’t taste as good as a $30 bottle, and a six-week novel doesn’t read as good as one an author spent years crafting. Or does it? When it comes to writing a novel, does time matter, even if only in our heads? And more importantly, should I be padding my timeline when promoting this book next March?

17 comments:

Lisa Bork said...

Your post made me smile, Jess. First the adorable dog then the love story :)

Someone at Malice said books are like food. Some are appetizers, some dessert, some the whole meal--and all can be great and desirable at different times. I don't think time matters, just the story.

Kathleen Ernst said...

What better reason to get behind than love? Congrats on both that and meeting the deadline (although I can't imagine writing a book in six weeks!)

G.M. Malliet said...

I am smiling as I write this, with happiness for you.

Jess Lourey said...

Yay! So even if Octoberfest becomes the Ishtar of the book world, I will know that my blog post spread a little joy. :)

Cheers to lilacs and spring, love, and finished first drafts!

Darrell James said...

Jess- Love and a new book, what more could you ask for! Your happiness literally bursts from the page, I'm sure your book will exude the same passion.

Personally, I can't imagine writing a book in six weeks. It takes me that long to wrestle an idea to the ground. I admire those who can.

Jess Lourey said...

I don't know, Darrell. Writing a book in six weeks isn't the same as writing a good book in six weeks. Time will tell, eh? Thanks for the support. :)

Cricket McRae said...

Love the love story! And the sad puppy pic made me saw "aww" out loud.

This isn't your first book or even second or third -- you know what you're doing, and you have plenty of talent. So I don't think time matters in this case. Octoberfest is going to be a great success.

Jess Lourey said...

You always know what to say, Cricket! But as a reader, would you feel cheated if you found out a book only took someone six weeks to write, even if you liked the book? Or does only the quality of the book matter?

Terri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri Bischoff said...

As a reader, I don't feel cheated in knowing an author wrote a book in six weeks...

As an author, do you feel cheated that I will read books in just a couple hours?

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What a cute puppy! Congratulations on meeting deadlines and having a happy new relationship!

Elizabeth

Keith Raffel said...

Jess, where's your dedication to your craft? Here's a rule to live by: no lovin' till the book is done! BTW, the first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, was written in 3 weeks!

Sheila Deeth said...

Lovely tale. (Lovely dog-tail too.) Congratulations, and dedication beats timelines any day.

Shel said...

Terri said it a lot less long-windedly than I could have. I also can't think of a better reason to write a book in six weeks than being in love. That's so cool, and I am so happy for you. Also, I'm with Cricket here. You're not a first-time writer, this isn't your first book, or even the first in a series. You know these characters, and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be as good as the rest of the series, even if you did write it in only six weeks.

Jess Lourey said...

Ha, Terri! You better spend at least six hours reading it. :) Pace yourself.

Keith, you're married, right? And thanks for the Doyle fact--I will use it, defensively, on the Octoberfest promotional tour.

Shel, Sheila, and Elizabeth, thank you for the wonderful support. Is it just me, or are the nicest people in the world mystery readers and writers? Seriously. It must be because we deal with our negative emotions (murder, please) healthily, in writing, leaving nothing but kindness for real life.

Terri Bischoff said...

Six hours, eh? Not even remotely possible! Not for the first time through anyway. The first read is strictly as a fan. The second, third, fourth reads are as you editor - and at some point I'm sure I'll tally up six hours :)

On a personal note - I am so very happy for you. You totally deserve to be head over heels happy.

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, Terri. :)