My Deadline Is My BFF

I am nothing without a deadline. As a person who’s highly motivated by winning (particularly winning the un-winnable– I’m looking at you, Sims Franchise), I will do just about anything to meet a deadline, except turning in an inferior product. Back when I first started writing novels, before I had an agent; before I had a book deal; before I really knew anything at all about the industry, I gave myself deadlines, and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my career.

For me, deadlines give me a place to work backward from so that I know exactly how much I need to do every day to finish a project. So, as I’m currently on a rather tight deadline for Book Two for my sequel, let’s look at my process. (I really hope my editor doesn’t read this and find out JUST HOW BEHIND I AM…  Hi, Lauren! *cries forever*)

I write in Scrivener, which is a total lifesaver for me. I could go on and on and on about how much I love Scrivener, but one of my favorite features is the Project Targets.

I have to turn in Book Two on April 9, and I am traveling for eight days between now and then. I may get some writing done during those trips, but I can’t count on it, so I’m planning as though I won’t do any work at all. 145,000 words is the EXTREME upper limit for this book, but it kind of helps me plan to see how much space I have to work with. So if I want to make it to 145,000 words by April 9, I can write about 2,000 words a day on my working days. That’s pretty reasonable for me.

What’s more important though, is the chapters actually revised. I’m re-writing a lot of the beginning of this book, and I’ve scrapped a lot of scenes that I may re-work as I get further in. In this picture you can see a little more of my process. The chapters flagged green are finished, the purple ones are yet to be revised, and the blue ones are yet to be written. And this is just part one. *more crying*


Right now, there are around 40 chapters in Book Two. I’ve completely revised 6. So, in order to complete this project on time, I have to revise about 2.5 chapters every working day. *gentle weeping*

This is actually quite manageable, as I am ALMOST through the section that needed the most work. A lot of what I’m doing later in the book is building out the world and the characters, inserting a little more time to breathe in the narrative, and generally cleaning it up, which is the kind of work that goes a lot faster for me than drafting (especially the re-writing kind of drafting, which is my actual nemesis).

That’s the deadline plan then. 2.5 chapters and 2,000 words per day. *gulp*

SO THAT’S WHY THE POST IS LATE THIS WEEK. My brain has been consumed by the intensely overwhelming process of breaking this book and putting it back together again. Please send salty snacks… and wine.

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Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

Kaitlyn Sage Patterson grew up with her nose in a book outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After completing her M.F.A., she moved to South Korea, where she taught English and started writing her debut novel. THE DIMINISHED will be published by HarlequinTEEN in April 2018, followed by its sequel in 2019. When she's not staring off into space and trying to untangle some particularly troublesome plot point, she can be found in her kitchen, perfecting the most difficult recipe she can find; or at the barn, where she rides and trains dressage horses; or with her husband, spoiling their sweet rescue dogs.

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