Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Donut Plan

by Stephanie Black

I was a nervous wreck last Friday morning, waiting for the announcement of the 2009 Whitney Award finalists. Heck, I’d been worried for a long time. When you know something is coming that can either be a huge thrill or a huge disappointment, and in fact, you even know the exact date that the thrill/disappointment will come . . . yeah. Eek. I had tried to think of some way to comfort myself if Methods of Madness didn’t make the finals. I knew competition in Mystery/Suspense was fierce, so I wanted something to look forward to if I didn’t make the cut. I decided on . . . donuts! (Hey, what did you expect? A trip to Hawaii? I’ve got a mortgage, a kid in college, and California-style property taxes). If I found out on Friday morning that my book wasn’t a finalist, then after all the kids were at school, I could go to the local donut shop, buy a dozen donuts (and they always give you one extra!) and eat as many as I wanted. Now, don’t go all sick to your stomach on me—I wasn’t planning to eat a dozen, or half a dozen. But I would eat what I wanted throughout the day and share the rest with the kids when they came home. I could also soak in the tub, or read, or write, or whatever I wanted to do to comfort myself that morning. I knew the Donut Plan wouldn’t cure my disappointment—it takes time for disappointment to heal—but I hoped it would help a little. At least planning for disappointment might help me brace myself, right? Maybe? It’s a nice theory, anyway. My plans veered a bit off-course when I ended up scheduling a meeting with my girls camp assistant for Friday morning (I’m the stake camp director). I wouldn’t be able to indulge in a morning of doing whatever I wanted, but I’d still manage to work donuts in there.

I fell asleep just fine on Thursday night (hooray!), but then woke up a bunch of times and finally woke up at five-something and couldn’t get back to sleep, knowing the time for the announcement (7:00 AM, Utah time, so 6:00 my time) was . . . so . . . very . . . close. Aaargh! I crept downstairs and checked to see if maybe they’d posted the announcement a little early. They hadn’t. I was scared silly until the big moment arrived and to my immense relief, I discovered that Methods of Madness was a finalist.

I think I’ll recycle the Donut Plan for next year, because I know darn well I’ll be at least as nervous, if not more nervous, about Cold as Ice as I was about Methods of Madness, and I'll be trying to brace myself for disappointment, hoping, probably futilely, that I can make it not hurt as much if things don’t turn out like I hoped. Each book is another “baby” and generates both new excitement and new worry.

I was pleased to discover that I’d already read eleven of the Whitney finalists and was currently reading another. I’ve since finished another beyond that, for a total of 13 out of 30, which still gives me seventeen books to read. Can I do it? Dunno. We’ll see. A lot depends on two things: 1--Can I get copies of all the finalists without spending bales of money? And 2--How long are they? It’s going to take me a lot longer to read Gerald Lund’s massive The Undaunted than it did to read Princess of the Midnight Ball, the delightful Jessica Day George YA novel I finished reading this morning. I just want to make sure that I complete all the reading in at least some categories. It would be, I suppose, pretty poor planning on my part if I read 4 out of 5 books in each category and then couldn’t vote in any of them.

I like the way they’ve added a requirement that Whitney Academy members needs to check a box certifying that they’ve read all books in a category before they can vote in that category. Naturally, that was an unwritten requirement all along—how can you make an informed decision unless you’ve given each book a fair shot?—but I think that requiring voters to certify that they have done so will help nudge people into making sure they are truly prepared before voting. And by the way, if you’re an author and are not a member of the Whitney Academy and would like to be, check out the Whitney Awards Official Rules page and contact the committee to get added to the voting roster. You don’t have to be a member of LDStorymakers to vote in the Whitney Academy.

And I suppose I’d better quit blogging and leave myself some writing time this morning so, I hope, I’ll have something to worry about in February 2012.


At 2/10/2010 2:18 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I wasn't nervous because I knew you'd be nominated.

At 2/10/2010 3:10 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

I wasn't worried either. =)

This is more of a response to last week's blog, but I just wanted to let you know that I have started a daily writing goal. Your blog was the last straw. I had previously read the same advice in Bickham's book, and then later in this book about short stories. Well, doggone it, I'm just going to do it! I started by just writing some narrative on a character I've been pondering for years. Last night, I wrote a little scene for what might end up being an actual novel.

It seems like such a simple concept - it's okay if your first draft stinks. You can't possibly compare your first draft with a published work. Was Josi's first attempt at making dessert perfect?

Hey, at one time, I was known as Cookie Jon. But there was a point where I tried to microwave cookie dough. Result: charred hockey puck that stunk up the kitchen for a week!

Anyway, thank you Stephanie, for providing some inspiration that finally clicked. =)

(Also, I sometimes give into the guilty pleasure of those Hostess mini-doughnuts that are chocolate covered. Especially cold, mmmmm.)

(Can this count for my writing today? No?)

At 2/10/2010 4:44 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

Good luck in April, Stephanie. I just finished Fool Me Twice. I know that's old news, but I wanted you to know I thoroughly enjoy your writing.


At 2/10/2010 4:55 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...


You should go celebrate with donuts. :)

At 2/10/2010 10:15 PM, Blogger Tauhid said...


At 2/10/2010 11:45 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I knew you'd be nominated ;)

Congratulations! And the Whitney's rock!

At 2/11/2010 12:59 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thank you so much for the good wishes! You all made my day.

Jon, I'm so glad my blog inspired you. Congrats on your new writing goal.

Charlie, I'm delighted that you enjoyed Fool Me Twice! Thanks for reading it.

Tristi, I confess I did have a donut--my husband bought some on Saturday, but it wasn't quite such an indulgence since I only got two half-donuts :)

At 2/11/2010 12:44 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Congrats Stephanie! I have 9 more books to read :)

At 2/12/2010 9:56 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I wasn't worried for you. I knew you'd be there. Although I was surprised that a few titles were noticeably missing.

I have 15 more to go.


Post a Comment

<< Home