bloody deadlines


This past month really drained me. My analysis for Dracula was due May 28—this is a full Story Grid workup in the vein of a PhD thesis. The drop dead date had been haunting me for months. If I missed it, my book wouldn’t be published in October (which is ideal for a book about Dracula).



I mean, let’s be honest. There was a lot at stake here. 



I’ve deconstructed Bram Stoker’s classic novel according to Shawn Coyne’s revolutionary editing method (a massive project which drove me batty). Shawn is an editor with 30 years experience working with some of the top names in the business and in some of the biggest publishing companies. This man knows story better than anyone I’ve ever met and his methodology is transforming the way writers approach their craft.

I have a lot to learn from Shawn. After all, I can’t Count on charm and good looks alone to build my career. I have to master the art of storytelling. The work I’ve been doing on Dracula is part of that study and to be published, my work had to first be reviewed and approved by Shawn himself.

Obviously, getting the analysis wrong would really suck.

If I botched it up, everything I’d been working on since October 2017 wouldn’t see the light of day. 



It was a grave situation; an undertaking so massive that I had to get through it one bite at a time. And frankly, that slow, systematic approach was a real pain in the neck. It was truly all-consuming, but I’d be damned if I’d miss my deadline.

By May 28, I was dead on my feet but I was done. I was ready to submit to the publisher for Shawn’s review.

That’s when I found out that the publication date had been pushed to 2020. They’d moved the due date for my analysis to September.

I’d sweat blood for nothing.  This is the life of a writer.




In honour of Father’s Day (and to breathe some life into my story), I filled this month’s A Writer’s Life with as many dreadful puns as I could.

How many did you find?
Comment below and let me know!




About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women

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