Yesterday I mentioned my self-imposed deadline for HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH so today I thought I’d elaborate a bit.
When I first set out to write this book I gave myself three years just to finish it. I’m not sure if that meant to write it through the first draft or to get it totally polished, but I figured I could write a book in three years, seeing as how I didn’t really know what I was doing. I started in January 2008 so I’m ahead of schedule regardless.
My new goal is to have the manuscript out on agent submission some time in February of next year. I feel like there’s this fire under me, keeping me hopping with this book. Part of that is due to a little fortune cookie. I still have the fortune taped to my printer, reminding me every time I sit down to goof off online what I should really be doing. According to the cosmic fortune telling cookie (feels like the Mayan doomsday calendar), I’ll have an agent by July 16, 2010. It darn well better be right! 🙂
I also have this terror that someone else will write a book about Hatshepsut and it will get published before mine and end up on the New York Times Bestseller List.
Now, this may seem completely irrational, and I’ll admit it probably is, but there’s always a chance catastrophe could strike. Dearest Hat has been in the media a fair bit the last few years since her mummy was “discovered” by Zahi Hawass. And historical fiction overall is in higher demand in recent years. I might be a little paranoid, but at least it’s motivating me, right?
So this is yet another reason that this six weeks cure time is killing me!
Someone might (fairly huge one) write about Hatshepsut in that time frame, but it's doubtful. Much of the historical fiction I've seen only goes back a maximum of 500 years. Your source material is well out of that time frame.
And besides that, the theoretical person also writing about Hatshepsut won't write the same thing the same way as you.
So no worries.
Paranoia is often my motivation. I've stopped perusing the mystery section at B&N for fear I'll see "my story" – crazy, I know.
But like your genre, mystery-themed novels are popular right now. It seems a new series is popping up every month and I've been told that editors are interested in my idea, which means I'm not the only person who's thought of it (and I thought I was being original!).
BUT even with all that being said, I'm reminded of the quote Debra Schuber blogged about the other day – "Soon is good, but good is better"
So, while goals are awesome and paranoia can lead to motivation, remember it's the quality of your story that's most important.
Self imposed deadlines are a GREAT thing. I used them on both rounds of querying and they served me well. I doubt someone will write a novel about Hatshepsut, but if worrying about that is what motivates you to finish, then go for it!
I know completely how you feel. I hate paranoia, but it's a powerful motivator! Steph– I do that same thing, haha.
When I first began to write my book, I didn't set a time frame because I felt that would make me rush through it. However, planning a time frame is important because even after six years, I haven't accomplished much in terms of writing it soon. This year, thanks to my friends, I have planned to write this book in a year and be ready to finish the first draft by Jan 2010 and do revisions immediately after.
Because of this plan, I feel more purposeful and confident about writing my book now.