Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Procrastination (again!) August 9, 2009

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 3:08 pm
Tags: ,


I had grand plans for editing chapter two this weekend, and it’s not happening.

Part of it is down to the day job. I’m on call this weekend. Normal procedure is that I make sure I carry the work mobile phone everywhere, I don’t sleep so well because I’m scared I’ll miss a call if I fall too deeply asleep, but the phone never rings. My colleague whose did it last did not get a single call in the whole week. So it wasn’t unreasonable to hope I would get a lot of editing done.

So what’s the score so far. Three hours at the hospital Friday night with a patient having post op problems. A total of probably four hours on the phone but spread out over six or seven hours yesterday. An ex-patient in one of the “-stans” had new symptoms and needed a phone consultation set up with a specific doctor. Of course, it was a doctor we have no out of hours contact details on. We do now. Then the outcome resulted in the person having to be flown to London for urgent assessment and treatment. Then there was the other patient from the night before to follow up on. Only three calls so far today, but I can’t relax because I’m expecting another one. My shoulders are somewhere up near my ears I’m so tense.

The weekend is almost over and I’ve achieved nothing on my story. So I have the file opened and I’ve sat and stared at it. Suddenly it was essential that I know exactly what private jet he would be whisking her away on, and which airfield they would fly out of. That took a good half hour. Finally I could start. She’s in the plane with him, bouncing a little in the seat. She’s excited, because she’s never flown before. But what colour are the seats? They look beige to me. But I don’t want to use beige. Such a blah. boring word. Synonym for dull. How else can I say “beige”? The thesaurus doesn’t help. None of their suggestions are as good a match as beige. I have to find another word. That’s another fifteen minutes wasted.

I have to get some editing done! I have an August 31 deadline  for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. I hoped to submit a full, looks like I’ll be lucky to have a partial the way I’m going. I really don’t want to waste the fee I paid, let alone the fact that another writer could have had the slot I’ve taken up.

Maybe I can guilt myself into working on this.

Maybe I can drop my expectations that I have to get it just right on this edit too. Maybe I can just get some words on the paper, start pulling what I’ve already got around a bit. Write beige for now, and trust that the better word will come.

Oh, here’s the seat. Any suggestions?













I’m thinking I might try “buttery”. Carries the sense that it’s soft, as well as of the colour.


5 Responses to “Procrastination (again!)”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Hi. I’m with you on the stress level at the mo! I’ve given myself a deadline to get 3 chapters and the dreaded synopsis off to HM&B by tomorrow! Long evening ahead me thinks! Good luck with the NWS. They are lovely lovely people – they do accept partials. So just go for it! Take care. Caroline x

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Go Caroline! Good luck with that partial! I hope it’s not too late a night and that the synopsis co-operates.

    I’ve sent my husband off to visit his Mum, and with any luck I shouldn’t have another call from a patient until around 7pm, so I’m finally getting into edit mode. I can see I will really get going on it right when I should be going to bed. I’m definitely a night owl. My most productive writing time is at night after my husband has fallen asleep. What a shame I have to get up a little after 6 for the day job!

  3. Eileen Says:

    I was going to say “tan leather” becaus adding the word “leather” always makes things better … kinda like adding bacon to a recipe (everything tastes better with bacon 😉 )but I love the buttery suggestion. “… covered in a buttery leather.” Ooo sign me up for that flight!

    I, too, had good intentions this morning. Only thing done? There’s notes strewn across my desk so that I can see them and type them up. Hmmm …

  4. waitingforthecall Says:

    HI Eileen! Hey, notes on the desk are at least better than no notes, so something got done!
    I did go for “buttery”. I’m hoping I’ve given enough description without overdoing it (one sentence!) as I need to pack a lot into this chapter.
    And I seriously need to cut for pace. Too much internal monologue!

  5. Lorraine Says:

    I think I’ve used ‘buttery leather’ before 🙂

    Sometimes if I’m really stuck and have used the same word too many times (like flicker!) I use an online thesaurus to see if it can come up with anything better for me, Only when I’m desperate though!

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