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My Jane Austen Summer
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Category Archives: Writing Nightmares
Previously published on Girlfriends Book Club
Since we are discussing setting I will reluctantly work past my discomfort to share, not only how I obtained realistic details to create the manor house in my novel, but also how a sense of poetic entitlement caused me to behave badly. Ahem. (Sound of me clearing throat). I avoided arrest and have purposely omitted names in this post in order to protect myself.
Some of you may be surprised to learn that I know how to tweet, and even more surprised that I know how to create a hashtag that will change my life. Yes, I, who never had a problem sitting down and facing my literary problems am so far off track, I’m surrendering myself to the mercy of the very social media frontiers I intended to ignore. With Twitter and a hashtag, I can be held publicly accountable for my writing time and output.
I have been signing books for a month now and want to go on record to say that signing books is not as easy as it looks. Several times I messed up and had to start over with a clean book. Sometimes I get carried away and gush. (New nightmare: reading old inscriptions in resale copies at Half-Priced Books). But my all-time worst fear is that a friend will present a book for signing and I won’t recall their name. Even if we rode to the event in the same car, book signing dynamics cause names to disappear faster than a teenager with a driver’s license. This is why sticky notes and pens and lines were invented.
My Writing Teacher warned us not to waste calories worrying about titles for our books. Editors replace working titles–in a heartbeat–at the appropriate time. Nonetheless, I secretly wasted calories worrying about titles. I burned calories I could have used writing a sequel.
FYI: Title Worry consumes the same number of calories as enforcing time limits on Xbox players.
I descended into title madness between 3 and 4 am on select nights, generating a vast graveyard of titles too embarrassing to exhume. Example: DITCHED BY JANE AUSTEN which I submitted to Editor before First Reader was awake one morning. Sadly, some of my working titles came within a mere word of the winning title but I couldn’t close the gap, as if my synapses weren’t quite up to the challenge. Was this a symptom of a deeper affliction? An inability to grasp the meaning of the 90,000 words I’d spent five years writing?