By Kathryn Lane

I love
deadlines! They revitalize me. Twists and turns in my mystery novels become
more exciting once I’m approaching the deadline with my editor.

Not all
deadlines are equal. Some are important; others can be juggled. Then there are
deadlines I gleefully ignore.

At times, I
fantasize what would happen if I missed such and such important deadline. That activity
takes the form of various possible outcomes, as if I lived in a quantum world
where there’s an infinite number of possibilities.

Meeting a deadline!

And it
reminds me of a wonderful European film from 1998 titled,
Run, Lola, Run.
An experimental film at the time, the lead character, Lola, needs to acquire
$100,000 deutschmarks in TWENTY minutes or her boyfriend will die. The film
gives three versions of what happens. Each version is predicated on the lapse
of a few seconds where random, unexpected events happen that impact Lola’s
ability to obtain the money. These random events change each one of the three

In the past
month, I’ve had the opportunity to think about random, unexpected things that
happen. Some are good, some not so good.

On the
return trip from the Killer Nashville International Mystery Writers’ Conference 
(which was wonderful) in late August, we experienced an unexpected event.

Driving through
Georgia, a speeding motorist hit us a few miles south of Atlanta. Fortunately,
everyone, including the motorist who hit us, walked away with only minor
bruises. A different story for the vehicles – both were totaled.

Random events,
good or bad, set off unexpected consequences, which ripple through already
planned events, like getting a manuscript finished for your editor.

Meeting manuscript deadlines!

As in the
three outcomes in
Run, Lola, Run, my mind considered various
scenarios: If only we had not stopped for gas when we did, if only we had
started our journey a few minutes earlier (or later) that day, if only we had
been in a different lane. But we don’t live in a quantum world. Nor do we live
in a world where we can restart the day and get a different outcome.

Small, unplanned events can add spice to life.
Large ones, like car accidents, can create havoc on deadlines. C’est la vie.

are important to my characters too. It’s like they’re telling me “If you write it
this way, it will be better”. Or they will kick my butt, saying “Go this other
direction and get our story told”.

Maybe that’s
a little like the different outcomes in Run, Lola, Run. In novels, only the
author knows the various endings that could have taken place.

How do you
handle deadlines?  


Kathryn’s mysteries – The Nikki
Garcia Mystery


Kathryn’s short story collection – Backyard
and Other Mysteries of the Heart

 All available on Amazon

 Kathryn Lane started out as a starving
artist. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked
on a career in international finance with a major multinational corporation.
After two decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into writing mystery
and suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply from her Mexican background as well as her travels
in over ninety countries.


6 replies
  1. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Love this, Kathryn, as I have missed my deadline thanks to the birth of three grandbabies in a month. Not like trying to come up with $100K in twenty minutes, but darn close 🙂 The Nikki Garcia mysteries sound sensational!

  2. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I love deadlines, too. In my career as a school administrator, deadlines ruled. Grades, schedules, discipline referrals, and meetings upon meetings, plans upon plans. Writing deadlines are less rigorous, but still have enough stalwart discipline to keep me productive and keep those scenes flowing. Great post!

  3. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Like your example, Kathryn, I’m constantly aware of the what if’s. How life can be affected by leaving home early or late for example. Glad you escaped harm. Plus, new car! As for deadlines, I faced them monthly in my magazine days. That date, looming ever closer, is a great motivator to get things done.

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Your magazine career always intrigue me, Gay. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the what if's. I'm always glad to hear when someone else thinks in those terms. And yes, totaling a car means getting a new one though I can think of better ways to get a new one!


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