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Performance anxiety, and a strange coincidence

Performance.gifWell, I've written to the exclusion of all else over this three-day weekend (my thanks to George and Abe) and now I'm this close to finishing the 2nd draft of Surefire––only about 13 pages left. Add a tidy little epilogue that's been kicking around my brain and I can set it aside for a while. But. I just. Can't. Seem. To get it done. I'm dragging my feet. Finding other things to do instead. And I know what it is. It's performance anxiety. Because after this draft it's critique time. But, I've got eight hours left before my self-imposed deadline. Tick-tock tick-tock. My, look at all those dishes, and I really should clean the garage...

Also, for those who were wondering, here's a rough (very rough) pitch synopsis:

Surefire is a bittersweet fable about Edwin Gee, a recently fired news reporter who has the worst and best days of his life back to back. First, he signs his terminally-ill mother into hospice care then wins the largest lottery in U.S. history the next day. In a leap beyond faith, and with the urging of his uncle––a degenerate gambler, who also happens to be dead––he skips town and heads to Vegas to blow it all in one weekend, hoping to fulfil a promise he made long ago.

Okay, I’m still working on it, but that’s the gist. Now here’s the weird coincidence. My protagonist wins the largest Powerball in history--$365 million and skips town leaving the press to wonder his whereabouts and motives. So strange chills went up my spine when I read this headline on today's AP wire: Powerball Jackpot Winner Remains Unknown.

Damn spooky.

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Reader Comments (12)

Hey, good stuff. It's a great feeling to get past a milestone like that.

I find it hard to decide where one draft ends and the next begins. I've 'sort of' finished my second draft, but now I'm about to go back and do revision, hopefully without major structural changes.

I'm wondering whether to call this next stage the third draft or not.
February 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Hatadi
WEIRD. I'm querying a YA novel that has a dead uncle in it, and also am working on a contemporary novel with another dead uncle in it.

What's up with the dead uncles???
February 20, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdana
I like the pitch. Certainly hooked my interest. I know what you mean about performamce anxiety and 'distractions'. My distraction of choice is email and blogs. They're evil, I tell you. So... did you conquer those remaining pages?? Best of luck, Jamie!
February 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Ciotta
Dead uncles. The hot new flavor for 2006. Who knew? Actually the dead guy in my story is a very very subtle character. More of a recurring memory that he begins to interact with. I was trying to decide if I needed to amp him up a bit in a 3rd draft or not.

The lottery thing freaked me out. All along I'd been thinking that a single winner of a $365 million dollar lottery was probably unlikely. Then voila. There it is in the news. And an absentee winner to boot. Bizarre.

Daniel--I've resigned my fate to a 3rd, 4th and really as many drafts as needed. I'd hoped to get through it a lot quicker, but was a little naive in my goals.

February 21, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjamie
Your book sounds smashing! I just finished a months worth of revisions of a novel my agent wanted to see. I hadn't realized just how much I'd blown off over the course of that month, until I was done. But for me, there's no way to revise in a piecemeal way...when's the book coming out?
February 21, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkathie
Great job!

Hey, do you take breaks between revisions or do you finish one and start right in on another? If you take breaks, what do you like to work writing wise during the down time?

February 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDZ Allen
Thanks Kathie, you just made my day. Now let's hope the manuscript holds up to my own hype.

As far as the book coming out? Hmmm. Destination unknown at this point. I need to finish the darn thing. I'm at least one more draft away from happy-time. Then the queries. The rejections, tears, boxes of Kleenex followed by rampant drinking binges, a few broken marriages, and who knows what else.

Plus, I'm firmly entrenched in my belief that my first book is just bound to suck. Some sort of law of nature I guess. (How’s that for swaggering confidence?) I do like it, but kinda feel like I only used the 16-pack of crayons while I'm hoping to work my way up to that monster 128-pack with the built in sharpener.
February 22, 2006 | Registered CommenterJamie
DZ--after the first draft I set it aside and didn't touch it for a month. In the meantime I started a second WIP and wrote a couple short stories. I really needed a mental palate-cleansing, and was jonesing to work on something else anyway. And I caught up on my reading.

I'll let the second draft sit at least a couple of weeks since my wife is reading it now and I'm searching for a critique group.
February 22, 2006 | Registered CommenterJamie
I love the idea/gist of the book, Jamie. Sounds like something I'd buy. Best wishes with future revision(s).

February 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLee H.
Well, I love the synopsis. And yes, Dead is the new black. I'm making everybody in all my novels dead. Saves me the trouble of giving them time to sleep, eat and go potty. And if they aren't saying, I've good excuse.
February 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterm.g. tarquini
sorry, if they aren't saying MUCH, I've good excuse.

February 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterm.g. tarquini
As long as they're not Grateful Dead people. Too much patchouli oil.
February 24, 2006 | Registered CommenterJamie

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