Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Do-Overs and Deadlines

deadline - the point in time at which something must be completed

We all know about deadlines.  We have at least one a year for paying taxes.  Most everything we do has a deadline, from making meals (deadline is people who whine that they're hungry!) to that April 15th one.

I knew I'd heard the back story (writers term) about how the word "deadline" came into play.  The etymology of the word.  But since I don't trust my memory, I looked it up.  It's believed the word was used and came from the "do-not-cross" line in Civil War prisons (1864), which was made known during the Wirz trial.

Here's one of the best I found that will hopefully stick in my mind.

And he, the said Wirz, still wickedly pursuing his evil purpose, did establish and cause to be designated within the prison enclosure containing said prisoners a "dead line," being a line around the inner face of the stockade or wall enclosing said prison and about twenty feet distant from and within said stockade; and so established said dead line, which was in many places an imaginary line, in many other places marked by insecure and shifting strips of [boards nailed] upon the tops of small and insecure stakes or posts, he, the said Wirz, instructed the prison guard stationed around the top of said stockade to fire upon and kill any of the prisoners aforesaid who might touch, fall upon, pass over or under [or] across the said "dead line" .... ["Trial of Henry Wirz," Report of the Secretary of War, Oct. 31, 1865]
Not a pretty story, is it?  "Under the gun" comes to mind.  I'll have to look that one up, too.

So that's where I am.  On a deadline.  There are all those others to contend with, too, but this one has my full attention.  Last night, I finished that "do-over," rewriting much of a book my editor liked but thought could be better.  I hope it is.  One final read-through (maybe), and I'll send it off in a couple of days.  Anything I could ignore during the time racing for the deadline was set aside for later.  But later may be just as bad.  I have another book to write with a deadline of...February 24.  Yeah, I can see those guys standing with their guns, ready to fire.

Let's face it, I'm under the gun and don't want to cross that line to be shot.

So now you know the whole story.  Or most of the high points, anyway.  If my blog is late, so be it.  Those guns are pointing at me.  Sometimes I don't know what day it is, but I keep plugging away, keeping that line and those guns in view. *shudder*

Have a great week!  KEEP WARM!!!
A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all. ~ Rita Mae Brown 

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