The Voice in My Head

I’m writing this on Sunday night, in between vigorous word sprints. 10 minutes here, 30 there. So far I’ve put in about 1800 words for the day. I’m trying–trying–to finish this draft by midnight.

Why? Well, mainly because I have let far too many self-imposed deadlines fly by in the last two months. First, it was December 15. Then the 31st. Then I thought the first week of January would be sufficient to wrap everything up. Now I’m staring down the last few hours of January, and I’ve still got a long way to go.

The end has been in sight, tantalizingly close for the past week, but always just out of reach. I’ve been butting heads with my main character–not in the sense that the story isn’t working, or the characters are coming out flat. At least, no more than is typical in nano-style first draft. The kind of draft where you walk away from the obvious mistakes in the name of producing a complete draft. Finish the story, then nitpick later has been my mantra on this book since October, when Mrs. Andrews first climbed into my car on the way home from the museum, and told me in no uncertain terms that she had a story to tell.

No, our disagreement stems from the fact that first of all, I had other things to do. It was mid October when she decided to introduce herself, and I was neck deep in Nanowrimo prep, for a story that takes place in the 1920s–nowhere close to the 1860s, where Mrs. Andrews calls home.

She’d barely even told me her name when she informed me that her story should take place over the course of three books. And I’d barely finished a rough outline of the first when she mentioned in a rather off-handed way that her daughter was very interesting and headstrong, and wouldn’t it be nice if she had a companion trilogy, too?

We finally came to an uneasy compromise in December: She’s allowed 2 books; one for her, and one for her and her daughter to share. She’s milking it for all it’s worth. I thought that this book would cap around 55-60,000 words; then 65,000; then it was 70,000. Currently, I’m up to 76,000 and still going, and making a list of scenes that I’ll have to add in when I do my first revision pass. I am currently laying money that this book will be every  bit of 100,000 words in the final draft.

For now, I’ll settle for just reaching the end of this draft, even if it means staying up all night–or at least half of it.

Tomorrow is Monday after all, and we can’t all be ladies of leisure.