Somehow, suddenly, I’ve arrived at the final 100 pages of Elena, the MIP. It’s the most intense stage for me, when I cannot stay present in this world, this moment, because I’m over there, living in that one. It was the meals I cooked under the influence of There that I earned such terrible marks as a cook (never mind all the awards I won for my breads and the fact that my ex still calls to get my recipes for things). But it’s hard to cook in this world if there’s something on the stove over There.
I knew this was coming, so over the weekend, I made krautburgers and a lasagna and a spinach and bean soup to get us through this week. I’ll order pizza if I must. I will not cook much, if at all. It is–seriously–dangerous. I can’t live this way for very long, so this part of a book goes very, very fast. Often 100 pages in a week. (My usual pace is about 7-8 pages per day, 4-5 days per week, as a point of comparison).
I am immersing now. Writing and rewriting. Moving things around and finally, finally getting some of the detail work right. The colors. The imagery that’s been taunting me. I’ve added thick strings of fake red roses and yellow daisies to the collage, and some more orange photos. (See above). I’m also writing a lot by hand, and moving my endless post-it notes from door to computer monitor to notebook, color coding everything. This is a shot of the part of my desk that’s at my left elbow. Obviously, I work with color rewards and directives–could I work without post-its, highlighters, and my notebooks? Well, probably, but it wouldn’t be as pleasurable. (If you’ve never tried Clairefontaine paper, I highly, highly recommend it for those who like to write by hand. I bought some notebooks when in Paris the first time (and wrote all my 9-11 observations in them) and have been hooked ever since.)
Not sure if this is technically nuts and bolts, but this is fairly coherent, considering I’m only calling in from Over There.
3 thoughts on “Living over There”
Good luck! I write in a Clairefontaine notebook every day (and I’m lucky–I can just grab one from the office supplies). With each one I finish, I customize the new one with scrapbooking paper, etc. Lovely way to write.
I love this post!
And wow, a whole 100 pages is your last stage? That feels like a ton to me. I guess I should ask, about how long does a manuscript usually turn out to be?
Andrea, it’s different on every book, but these are running 400-450. Many novels are a lot shorter–anywhere from 300-500 pages is okay, publishable as a novel. Some literary pieces are even smaller, around 50,000 words.
It’s a lot easier to go with actual word count on the computer–300 pp is about 65000 words, a short novel.
But really, you just write until the story is finished.