The Blood, Sweat and Gritty-Eyed Truth Behind Carson’s Night.
This article was first written in 2010, when I released Carson’s Night for the first time. – t.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that Carson’s Night was finished in a monster weekend marathon writing session. What isn’t known, until now, is that I wrote the whole story in that one weekend stint.
That’s because I was very stupid.
I originally started writing what has now become the sequel, Beauty’s Beasts, [which I found out as I wrote this post was sold to Ellora’s Cave and is now the official sequel – phew!] as I wanted to turn it in on a particular EC deadline, which had a 30,000 word maximum limit.
I was barely 12,000 words into Beauty when I knew I’d shot myself in the foot. The story was far too ambitious and the characters way too complex to fit into the 30K limit. I kept writing it and worrying in the back of my mind over what I was going to do about these fascinating characters and their rich, convoluted histories. The two heroes in the story were simply delicious. A pair of vampires who shared nearly four thousand years of history between them, and both of them carrying horrible scars from a love barely thirty years in the past that neither of them had been aware of…and that love just happened to be the heroine’s mother.
Then my own life blew up in my face, and a few personal crises later, I was staring EC’s deadline in the eye, and this ambitious and elephant-sized story wouldn’t go away. I knew I didn’t want to cut it down or dismantle it, though. It was simply too good to break it up. It had too much potential as it was.
On the Friday night before the Sunday midnight deadline, I made the decision to push Beauty aside. There was a shorter, ready-made story just crying out to be told right there inside Beauty already. The heroine’s parents and their romance, which has such a profound impact on, well, Beauty’s (so to speak) life, and the two vampires. It sets up the Beauty story perfectly.
So I cleared the decks with my family, stocked up on coffee, and on Friday at 4 pm, started writing. I already had a good idea of the plot and the characters were almost ready-made because of the world-building I’d already done for Beauty. I kept writing for as long as my family and the world left me alone, and I stopped writing at 3.03 a.m. on the Monday morning, only slightly more than three hours over the deadline, but as I’d already got the extension, I was safe.
I hope I never have to do something so idiotic again. By two in the morning that Monday morning I was literally nodding off between sentences. The title I put on the book was so stupid I didn’t breathe it aloud to anyone until EC bought the book and I could officially change the title to something more considered and less sleep-deprived. The editing session I went through afterwards, for this book, was the most gruelling and exhausting in my life and I deserve every extra hour I spent on it.
I honestly don’t know how I pulled that marathon session off. I can only assume that after so many years of writing professionally, there are some instincts that are just ingrained, and simply don’t quit even when my brain has switched over to mere nominal functional status only.
But now the editing is over, I’m damn proud of the story. It’s a good one. My instincts were on the money.
Don’t you get the same hunches over something you’ve been doing for a long, long time? You can’t point to anything that anyone else would call proof, but you just know. And when you go with your guts and it works out after all you get that little rush?