Waiting And Praying For The End

In my house it’s easy to tell how close I am to turning in a book. 

1–We eat takeout and frozen foods from the last decade.

2–I begin to wear clothing that under normal circumstances I would use to dust my furniture.

3–I can’t remember the date, often even the month, since it does NOT coincide with the month I’m writing about.

4–When the neighbors actually catch sight of me, they ask if I’ve been away.

5–I ask doctors and dentists if I’ll survive until October 31st if I don’t have that root canal or pesky laser treatment on my retina.

6–I wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.

Lately cold sweat and I have become friends.  I’ve even contemplated counting cold sweat as a shower and thereby saving myself the minutes it takes to stand in a real one.  I am nearing a deadline and I still have ten chapters to write.

Deadlines are never fun, but some are worse than others.  One Mountain Away, which comes out next August has been a difficult book to write.  Some books are like that, and the truth is, after publication how hard or easy it was is never clear to anyone but me-and all those poor souls who listened to me complain.  Books I’ve cold-sweated over and books that just seemed to write themselves are either good or not-so, simply because they are.  Never because I worried more or less as I wrote them.

By the time all the pieces of this book began to fall into place, months had drooped by. Now I’m working at high speed.  Yesterday I finally took a break to outline the end.  After lots of work I’d gotten the first two-thirds of it outlined, but there was still the last third to go.  Of course, I didn’t know the remainder was the final one-third.  I hoped it was the final one-fourth.  But no such luck.  After carefully counting all the threads I had to tie, ten chapters emerged.  Now, granted, they may be short chapters.  I am, in fact, praying they will be.  Everything’s been set up.  We don’t need scenery or in-depth characterization now.  We need to find out what happens.

Endings are tricky.  Because I’ve wrestled so hard with these characters, they’re now old friends.  I know how they feel, how they think, how they’ll react.  I also know that when I finally get the end I’m seeking, I will be sad to say goodbye.

The good news?  This is the first book of a series.  Next year many of these characters and I will be together again, sweating, prodding each other, hoping for a happy ending.  And you know what?  I’ll probably be thrilled.  Writing a book is like having a baby.  Once we hold the little darling in our arms, we’re overtaken by amnesia.  We just can’t wait to do it again.


  1. Marna on September 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

    One Mountain Away…I like the title. You just have to climb the mountain of writing it before we can read it. 🙂 Hang in there!

  2. Lee Ann on September 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    You can do it Emilie!!! Can’t wait to read it 🙂 You go girl <3 ya

    • Emilie Richards on September 23, 2011 at 11:48 am

      Thank you, cheerleading is much appreciated on this blog.

  3. Dee W on September 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    And it’s just like having a baby. Everyone is waiting to see the little darling and give it a good hug also. But there is no audience participation for the growing. And you’re on the downhill side.

    • Emilie Richards on September 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks for the reminder. Of course we can hope that’s downhill in the best sense of the word. 🙂

  4. Lynn Ross - Toledo on September 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    We appreciate whatever you have to go through to enrich our lives with your wonderful books!

  5. Nancy Badertscher on September 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    It’s always fascinating to read about your writing process. I join the others in looking forward to this newest endeavor of yours, and love hearing that it is the beginning of another series!

  6. Mary Ann Gumaer on September 24, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Done the retina thing–not fun but alternatives like no sight are worse. DO IT NOW!!!! Slight headache for a couple of hours later but FAR easier than detached retina surgery which will mess your eyesight for many days!

    • Emilie Richards on September 24, 2011 at 7:56 am

      You’re right and I do go in tomorrow. This is what they call a retinal occlusion, and hopefully this will prevent surgery. But some things can’t wait. Even for deadlines. Hope your eyesight is A-OK.

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