I Got Me an Award!

May 3rd, 2008

The Great Blow-Off-Your-Deadline Award

**awarded with bitter grimaces and squeezed buttocks to those writers who fail to read the fine print and fulfill their commitments**

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working toward a May 30 deadline in an attempt to finish a 70,000 word novelization. My publishers are trying to coordinate the on-shelf date with the film’s in-theaters date. With four weeks left to go and 26K words under my belt, I thought I was doing swimmingly–which, I guess, means I was keeping my head above water.

Then, this morning, I received an e-mail from my editor. Let me first say that my editor has been fantastic. She’s professional when necessary, encouraging at all times, and someone I consider a friend. In her usual gracious manner, she asked how my manuscript was coming along since she hadn’t heard from me yet.


It was due yesterday, the first of May, she informed me.


In my 41 years, I’ve enjoyed great health, but I thought I was going to have a heart attack. And if that didn’t do me in, I’d put an end to things myself. How could I have been so stupid? I checked my calendars, my web site, my day planner…In all of them, I’d put May 30 as the deadline. I went through my old e-mails with my editor, pulled out my contract from the heavy box on the top shelf in my closet…They all showed May 1.

I guess it’s part of life. We all make mistakes. We get wrong ideas stuck in our heads that we can’t shake. The consequences of such things can vary from minor to drastic.

After a few panicky e-mails to my editor, involving self-loathing and bent-knee apologies, I worked out a compromise with her that should keep us close to our intended release date. Will I sleep much? Probably not. Will the quality of the story suffer? I can’t help but think it will, though I’m hoping for the best. Will I show a little more grace the next time my daughters tell me they thought their homework was due next week not tomorrow? I will certainly try.

And now, in the spirit of the moment, I’d like to give my award acceptance speech:

I hate to brag, I really do

Since the award I’ve been given

Is nothing new

I’ve received it before

Without even trying

Deadlines are due

And I’m the one dying.

  1. May 3rd, 2008 at 10:23 | #1

    Why are you reading this, Eric? Get back to work! Kidding. Had to laugh at your conscientiousness. I’m so anal-retentive about commitments and obligations that I’ve never been late for anything. BUT…there was one time when I totally forgot that I had promised to go to dinner with some people. It happened over 20 years ago, and I still smart over it. Write on…

    — Sully

  2. May 3rd, 2008 at 11:18 | #2

    Having been there and done that, I can totally relate, Eric. Considering some of your past work and the release date mentioned above, you wouldn’t happen to be doing the novelization of Fireproof, would you?


  3. May 3rd, 2008 at 11:42 | #3

    Technically, I can’t answer that yet, Joe. But here’s the first line of the manuscript:
    Dense smoke surged through aisles of canned goods and wrapped its fingers around Captain Campbellā€™s body.

  4. May 3rd, 2008 at 11:46 | #4

    Good luck. –J.

  5. May 3rd, 2008 at 22:40 | #5


    Good luck. I know the pain of deadlines from both sides…finished on time…and late. Thankfully the repercussions of the LATE experiences still echo in the old cabesa, and I have been able to use the fear of experiencing THAT again to avoid recurrence…

    Our thoughts are with you…every word.


  6. Robert Jones
    May 5th, 2008 at 10:48 | #6

    Missing a known deadline is bad enough. Learning about missing one when you thought you were on safe ground must have felt like dropping through a trap door from a loooong way up.

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