Monday, May 21, 2007

The Wandering Duck

My tenth duck nearly killed me. Or I nearly killed it. I finished off nine and had my sights set on finishing ten last night -- or in the early hours of the morning.

And first it stared me in the face and said, "Nope." And then it began wandering around like a drunken sailor. And finally it said, "You do realize don't you that there are really three ducks here? Look?" And it turned itself into three ducks.

It was by this time somewhere near 3 o'clock in the morning and I was seeing triple anyway, so it might have been right or it might have been lying.

In any case. It was a very seriously in trouble duck. It reminded me of one of Michelle Styles's real ducks who run round the outside of the duck house or wherever she keeps them -- and generally causes no end of difficulties. I was also a very seriously annoyed author. You don't spend months with a bunch of ducks only to have the Very Last One thumb his nose at you (since ducks don't have thumbs, consider this figurative speech, because by then it was nearly 4 in the morning and he might have had thumbs. Who knew?).

I stomped out of the office at 5 a.m. and went to bed. I set the alarm for 8. Three hours sleep is not enough. And I had even less of an idea what to do with him -- or all three of him, because in the clear light of day, yes, he did appear to have multiplied -- so I banged my head against the wall until Anne Gracie called me up.

Anne has been a jewel during this whole duck mess. She has her own book issues (not ducks, I hasten to add) at the moment. So we commiserate a lot. She knew I was at the end of my duck. She called. We discussed the duck(s). She gave suggestions. I shot them down. Wished I was shooting the duck. She went to bed (it was 1 a.m. there). I sought the advice of half of the writers in the known world.

We all agreed that we knew exactly where the problem was. We all agreed that we knew exactly how many more chapters it would take to fit in all I wanted to fit in. We all knew it was more words than I wanted to write and more than Presents would want to publish, that's for sure.

But as we talked and I sorted out ideas, I kept coming back to the original. It was the right one. I was sure of that. I just had to figure out how to meld my three ducks back into one.

By the time I'd talked to everyone in my telephone book, I knew the answer. And I'd told it to most of them so that there are probably plenty of versions of McAllister's Duck Melding Project around now, too.

I told it often enough that I can write it in my sleep now. I hope -- because it's nearly midnight and I'm yearning for bed. I wish it would just type itself while I sleep. But I'll map it out tonight and write it up tomorrow.

By this time tomorrow night I trust that all the ducks will have flown.


Blogger Michelle Styles said...

Oh hugs.

I am sure you can do it.

Real life party ducks do not thumb noses, they tilt heads and peer around corners just to make sure you are really thre. Then sometimes, if you flap your arms, they suddenly quite of their own accord decide they are going into the duck house.

Fingers crossed -- your duck has become a well behaved creature.

22 May, 2007  
Blogger Christa said...

Hopefully your duck doesn't decide to multiply again during the night

22 May, 2007  

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