An Argument Against Deadlines

By Melanie Anne Phillips

In story structure there is a dramatic element called the Story Limit.  It has two varieties: the time lock and the option lock.  Some stories come to a climax because they run out of time, others because they run out of options.

In a time lock story, you are rushed.  In an option lock story you are pressured (because the undesired situation remains an irritant until you finally find a solution).

The same thing applies to writing.  If you have a deadline for a publisher, then you are writing with time lock.  But if you are creating for yourself, you are writing with an option lock.

And so, it really doesn’t matter how big the ocean is, you have all the time in the world to paddle across it.  And, if you enjoy the process of writing, the more time it takes, the more you get to enjoy it.

A little effort every day will get you there.  Even if there are days that don’t produce much if anything, there are days that will produce a lot so that, in time, step by step, page by page, you will one day find yourself on the opposite shore with a finished novel.