09 May 2016

That Damn Book

by Susan Rogers Cooper

It was 9:30 in the evening, April 25, 2016. I was sitting in front of the computer, staring at that damn book. I couldn't take it any more. I decided to take a break and quickly checked my email. There it was, right there in front of me: an email from Leigh, asking where my post was for tomorrow. Post? What post? OMG, that damn book! I quickly explained to Leigh that I was trying to make a deadline in three days and I was still @#*& words short. He rescued me – at least from the post.

So it was back to the book. That damn book. I'd basically finished the story at @#*& words, which weren't nearly enough. So I added weather: an ice storm. That would be good for a few thousand words, I thought. Wrong. Less than one thousand. Okay, bite the bullet (so to speak) and kill somebody else. Over a thousand words! Yay! Still short.

My hero, Milt Kovak, was the only one of the regulars in the book who'd not been targeted by the bad guy. Okay, let's get Milt. I didn't want to shoot him – the Milt books are basically first person narrative. It would be difficult for him to narrate while dead or even hospitalized. I didn't want to physically hurt his family. A fire! I thought. Scary but not necessarily harmful to anything but his house! And of course Milt's not there because --- because it happens in the middle of the ice storm! Two thousand words! I was on a roll! But I still had @#*& words to go.

Someone suggested a bomb. I'd never done a bomb. Did this book even call for a bomb? Not really. But what the hell! I added a bomb.

The minutes, the hours, the days wore on. And still not enough words for that damn book. But with one day to spare, I finished it. It was ready to go. I didn't want to even think about reading it yet again, but I knew I had to. That damn book! Well, actually, it wasn't half bad. It could be better – every book could be better when you send it off – but it wasn't half bad. But mainly, it was gone.

Now on to the second book in the contract!

P.S. And thanks, Leigh, for the title to this post!

8 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

Hilarious as well as poignant article. Good job on the drama and tension.

I have to thank Stephen Ross who'd turned in an article just hours earlier, saving the day.

What's the title of that damn book we should look for, Susan?

Robert Lopresti said...

Congrats on getting it done, Susan.

Eve Fisher said...

Love the article - and yes, what is the title of that damn book?

Susan Rogers Cooper said...

The title of that damn book, at this moment (my publishers often -- okay, always -- change the title, is BEST SERVED COLD.

Susan D said...

I've found having a building collapse on your protagonist can do wonders for the word count.

Anonymous said...

Susan D. has a point!

Anonymous said...

Susan D. has a great point!

Susan Rogers Cooper said...

Susan D., I wish I'd thought of that! Another thousand words at least!