Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Week in the Life of A Working Stiff




I think I need my brain checked. Somehow, after 50, the memory just ain’t what it used to be. I liken my brain to a hard drive. A full hard drive, with no open sectors. And if I need to store something, then something else has to be erased. I have no control over what gets evicted. No little dialog box asking me if I’m sure I want to delete this file. POOF! Whatever happens to be there vanishes without a trace. When I was taking Chinese language lessons, I feared I was forgetting an English word for every Chinese word I learned.

So, last week, I volunteered to fill in for today. I should have looked at my calendar. So, here is what happens when you finally get published. And remember, this is in addition to my more-than fulltime job as an Environmental Engineer.

All this past weekend I worked on putting together a proposal for A Reason For Terror. Although I’m thrilled an agent asked for it, a damn good agent on top of that, the timing could have been better. I went through the first three chapters again with a fine tooth comb, making sure it was as perfect as it could be. Then I went about pulling together a synopsis. If you’ve never done one then you don’t know how agonizing the process is.

Tonight I am co-teaching a class for the St. Louis Community College Continuing Education program. It’s a two-hour program called, How To Map A Murder. First we’re going to do an interactive exercise plotting the ALMOST perfect murder. One of the authors is a police detective, so as I lead the class through the who, what, when, where, and how, he will be punching holes in the plot, citing all those things that can go wrong with a murder plot. Then we’ll talk about scene setting, building suspense and characters. Then finally our detective will do a little thing on CSI falsehoods.

Tuesday is a night to prepare for Bouchercon and my panel assignment. Plus I have to throw my clothes in a suitcase. Yes, ladies, I always take about 15 minutes to pack and that includes just one pair of shoes (the one’s I wear on the plane.) I’m also preparing for...

Wednesday night: I’m appearing on a mystery panel at the St. Charles County McClay Branch Library. This is the annual Sisters in Crime (St. Louis) Halloween panel. It features Eileen Dreyer, Eleanor Sullivan, Jo Hiestand, JoAnna Slan, Angie Fox and yours’ truly.

Thursday I leave for Bouchercon and have the pleasure of appearing on my first writers conference panel. If you happen to be attending Bouchercon, the panel is at 3:00 PM on Thursday. DREAM POLICE (Cheap Trick) Law enforcement in novels, fact vs. fiction. Caroline Todd(M), Wilfred Bereswill, Stephen Booth, Stuart MacBride, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Andy Straka

At this point I have no clue what the questions will be and my nervousness exists on multiple levels. I’ll follow that up in the book room, signing my book. Hopefully, with all the other notable authors, I’ll sell one or two copies. Laura Lippman will be signing at the same time, so I’m hoping people get tired of waiting in her line and feel sorry for me.

Of course I’ll be wandering the halls of the Sheraton in Baltimore in awe of the whole affair. Hopefully the rest of the weekend I’ll be able to relax a little, but I doubt it. I return home late Sunday night and get ready to return to my boring life as an Environmental Engineer. Because, after a week off, I leave for Muncie, Indiana and Magna Cum Murder.

This, by far, will be my most challenging week as an author yet. AND I CAN”T WAIT. Oh, did I mention I’m on a deadline to have the first draft of my second novel, A Reason For Terror done by Halloween?

So, aspiring authors, be careful what you wish for. What’s in store for you this week? Any challenges?

12 comments:

Jennie Bentley said...

You're here a day early, aren't you, Freddy, m'love? Or are you so busy you won't have time to post tomorrow?

Sounds like you've got quite a week ahead of you. Mine's not so bad. I've got the Southern Festival of Books this coming weekend, three days of panels, signings, etc., and a video to tape next Tuesday, but other than that, all I'm doing is writing. Oh yes, and the real estate and family stuff. Still, not that big a deal. I'll be thinking of you winging your way to Bouchercon as I drive the ten minutes into downtown Nashville and park in a nice garage, though!

Have fun!

Annette said...

Jennie, no, today's the day he agreed to fill in for.

Don't freak out, Will, you're fine.

Today, I have a pile of paperwork to catch up on. Literally. My desk needs excavated. AGAIN. Plus I have work to do on the 2009 Pennwriters Conference before I can slip away to Bouchercon. Tomorrow, I have a dentist appointment. Whoo hoo. Plus packing. It takes me more than 15 minutes. I can't help it.

Wednesday morning, I'm off to meet up with Joyce and head to Baltimore. See you there, Will!

Joyce said...

I don't know about you, but my writing is more productive when I'm busy--maybe because I have less time to procrastinate.

I'm starting my packing today. I usually fit clothes for my entire family in one suitcase, so I'm not used to packing for only myself. This should be interesting. Does this mean I get to take enough for 4 people? I don't think I have that many clothes!

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Jennie, I scheduled the post a bit early on Sunday night. I spent the entire day AND night drafting a synopsis and didn't want to forget to post the blog. I hate writing the synopsis with a passion. The way it is right now, I have to cut it in half and I want to get the proposal out tomorrow.

Thanks, Annette. Pulling together an entire conference makes my little chore of writing a synopsis insignificant.

Joyce, I'm okay writing when busy, but I'm a bit overwhelmed. I keep thinking "Just get through Thursday and it will all be better."

Ladies, don't forget to check the baggage restrictions and cost for your airline, if indeed you are flying. Carry-on is free, but don't bring your liquids. I've seen so many women having to trash expensive make-up or lotion or perfume they are carrying in their purses or carry-ons.

Jennie Bentley said...

Synopses suck.

On the other hand, they're good things to get input on. We tend to get too bogged down in our stories - "Oh, I can't leave this out; it leads to this, which does this, which says so much about this..." - and we go on way too long, with what's often unnecessary information. Killing your darlings is even more important in synopses than in writing in general, I think. Giving a synopsis to someone who doesn't know the story as well, or at all, but who can say, "Yes, this hangs together and makes sense," or "No, I don't understand how you got from here to here," can help.

(For future reference, there's a way to set your posts to post at a certain time. You can write and upload it early, and Blogger will post it at the specified time. Just FYI.)

Annette said...

Yeah, but, Will, I have until May to pull it all together. Today, I just have a week's worth of conference planning to do. That's all.

And I didn't understand the day early thing until AFTER my cup of coffee. I really should not comment on blogs until after my caffeine fix.

No airlines for Joyce and me. We're driving.

Joyce, do you have any restrictions on luggage or carry-ons that I should know about???

Joyce said...

Whatever you can stuff in the back of the RAV 4 is fine with me. And it holds a lot! Last week I picked up a twin mattress for Josh and stuffed it in the back. It's also hauled firewood, moved Andy to Kent and back, and will soon move him to DC.

Joyce said...

Will, I'm pretty good at slicing and dicing if you need another pair of eyes to look at your synopsis.

Jennie Bentley said...

Joyce said: "Will, I'm pretty good at slicing and dicing if you need another pair of eyes to look at your synopsis."

I trust this offer was implicit in my comment, too. I didn't spell it out, though, so I'm making sure...

I'll be happy to take a look if you think it'll help, Will.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Thank you, ladies, I may very well take you up on that offer.

Sometimes I'm at a loss for what's critical in a twisty Thriller.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Wil,

I think it's challenging handling the emotions that come with being debut authors, don't you? There are such grand highs and such dark lows. And the work load is a surprise. Each time I hear someone say, "If I could just get my book published," I want to take him/her by the arm and say, "And then the work really begins!" And it's glorious stuff, but taxing.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Hey, Joanna.

Glad you stopped by.

Yes, the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it" applies here.

Most times I just wonder what the hell I was thinking.