I'm hard at work on Chapter 24 of Bewitched & Betrayed -- though that's the ultimate understatement. I have two chapters to write in two weeks, plus some tweaks throughout the manuscript, then put the 25 separate chapter files together into one file. Then comes spellchecking, formatting, adding headers, page numbers, and generally making sure it looks good before I load it into an email for Anne (my editor) and hit "send."
All in two weeks.
But that's my deadline and I'm determined to stick to it.
The last few chapters go slowly because there's so much to be done in them. These are the climax chapters where storylines are resolved, the big action happens, as well as setting up the next book. So I have a ton of work to do and only two weeks to do it in. Oh well, I've done more in less time. So it's certainly possible.
But at the same time, these chapters won't be rushed. For example I have six pages written on Chapter 24; some of it is usable, most is not. This isn't unusual. I know what needs to happen and how the chapter ends, but it's big stuff, HUGE in fact. So right now I'm feeling my way around the action, zeroing in on precisely HOW the action needs to happen to get the maximum dramatic and emotional impact from my characters.
And I realized in the wee hours of this morning that being on a really tight deadline is like a pressure cooker, not a crockpot. Sure, ideas need to simmer, but they're forced to do it faster and under extreme pressure. I was having problems with the section I was writing last night. When I woke up this morning, I realized that I was jumping into the chapter too quickly, and not giving the tension a chance to build. Getting that high level of tension is critical to the chapter having the impact it must have.
To take the pressure off of my writing brain (aka creativity) just a little, I'm writing longhand right now and then transfering it to my laptop. This does two things: frees my mind to wander and explore ideas and do some stream of consciousness "talking with myself" to work out problem spots, and it also keeps me from surfing, checking email, etc. -- the killers of productivity. And goodness knows, I need to be uber productive right now.