House to myself, with no obligations but to write.
Time to start a new book.
Day 1: Dive into the heady rush of conjuring a new story. I have been thinking about this story since last summer, waiting and waiting until I could finally sink my teeth into it. I’ve promised myself I will hyper-plot this book, following McKee’s advice in Story, and so there will be NO DRAFTING. Just characters, world-building, theme, plotting, outlining … the day whips by and I order a pizza for delivery so I don’t have to stop. Once the pizza guy arrives, I realize that I will be eating pizza all four days, as there are no hungry boys to gobble it up.
Day 2: I wake up to the knowledge that my writing is usually a sprint, a mad dash to use the hours allotted. But this time it is a marathon, and I need to pace myself. I think about that for a few minutes, toss that thought aside, and dive back in. I sketch characters with words. I make up rules for my world. I eat pizza for lunch. Later, I realize the entire house has gone dark. The sun went down while I was researching Irish mythology. I have pizza for dinner. There’s some tremendous crash upstairs, but I don’t investigate, because I know it’s only the cats.
Day 3: I stayed up way too late chatting on gmail with my friend, so I drag myself out of bed. I spend a full ten minutes debating whether to stay in my PJ’s all day again. All morning I want to check FB and Twitter. I peek, post, and then run away again. I’m close to the limit where I can’t squeeze any more creativity out of my brain. I take a break to talk to the cats and eat pizza for lunch. I force myself back to the computer and stare, glassy eyed, for an unknown period of time. I think this is the fugue part. I start to pick at the backstory of two secondary characters and quickly get pulled back in. Somewhere near dinner, I discover my Act II climax scene! I do a small dance that’s seen by no one. I can’t face the pizza, so I have cornflakes instead. I spend hours trying to name my two co-protagonists, and finally go to bed with their shiny new names echoing through my mind.
My story invades my dreams.
Day 4: I wake up early, trying to catch the last few hours before they slip away. The boys are coming home in the afternoon, and I haven’t finished reading and working through Emotional Structure, a book recommended by a friend that helps me build the emotional heart of my story. I jot down notes in Scrivener, create faery words, research four thousand years of history in London, and discover a passage by Yeats that must be used in my story, somewhere.
My time is up, so I save everything, close it down and head to the airport.
I can’t believe how much I’ve missed my boys’ faces (the husband too). We spend the entire drive home laughing. I am in no hurry.
Those four days were a precious gift, but I’m so glad to have the questions and clamor and energetic life back in the house. The day will come, all too soon, when it will be quiet everyday. I wish I could freeze my boys in time, like the characters in my story, holding them young and precious for all my days.
I suddenly realize the theme of my book and scramble to write it down before I forget.
It will take me some time to catch up on my blog reading! Happy Weekend to everyone in the meantime!