Quick Time on the Slow

Today is the day I start getting serious.  Today it the day I get my package together for Harper Voyager.  It’ll be a little scary, but not daunting.

If anything, it’s going to be interesting, because it’s going to be a bit like a race at Darlington.

Allow me to explain:

Darlington Raceway is a 1.7 mile track in South Carolina.  At one time it was meant to be a smaller version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but because someone refused to sell land upon which a minnow pond sat, the track ended up looking a big egg.  The original raceway was flat, though there was embankments along the turns which were meant to prevent drivers from crashing if they entered a turn too fast.  It wasn’t long before someone figures out that if they drove on the embankments, they could go faster than the people on the flat turns, and it wasn’t long before the embankments became the turns.

Darlington has a reputation for tearing up cars.  The surface is rough, and eats away tires quickly.  The turns are very narrow, and they don’t allow for mistakes.  Cars tend to slide a great deal in the turns, which is a lot of fun when you’re going 140 mph.  And the moment you lose concentration, you’re up in the wall.

The was one driver who used to have a great deal of success at Darlington.  His advice, which he passed along to other drivers, was this:  “In order to go fast here, you have to slow down.”  His logic was this:  most drivers will find the quickest speed through a turn, then hammer the accelerator on the straits, then brake and find the quickest speed through the next turn.  And so on.  This is hard on a car:  it wears down the brakes, because you have to drop thirty to forty mile per hour going into the turns, then get that back on the straights.

But there was another way.  Slow down, find a comfortable speed for both the straights and the turns, use the slower speed to hug the bottom of the turn–which is the quickest way around–and keep doing that.  Less wear and tear on the car and driver, because did I mention this was a five hundred mile race?  And that an average lap was about forty seconds?  Do the math:  you’re in a hot car, on a track named, “The Lady in Black,” and you can only win if you’re in one piece at the end.

So day is a matter of finding the rhythm to get through what I need to do.  Story over seventy thousand words?  Check.  Favorite scene?  Got that, check.  Short synopsis?  Sorta got one, so check.  Published before?  Check.  Query letter?  Have part of one, just need to look over a few sites for more tips, and polish it up.  Check.

Convert novel to Word or RTF format?  Easy to do in Scrivener.  Check.

Novel ready to go?  You know it.

I won’t rush today.  I’ll take my time, look everything over, and get it all together today.  I might not hit that submit button until late in the afternoon, or even the evening, but I will click that sucker.

Find the right speed, and hang on.

A lot of times, that’s all you need to get to the checker flag in one piece.