I just got back from a few days alone at the Cape, where I was wrestling my latest manuscript into submission (it’s getting there, though it’s a stubborn beastie. A lot of my books are). Anyway, some of you asked what it’s like to write for a living, so here’s a little peek into my time there.
- Arrive at our little house. Greet it. “Hi, House! Did you miss me?”
- Make bed and revel in solitude. “I’m alone! I’m alone!” Call family to tell them I miss them. Both emotions are genuine.
- Open the old laptop. Skim through what I have already.
- Bolster self. “How many times have we thought a book sucked? Lots! Just keep going. You can fix it later.”
- Turn on light after the realization hits me that it’s dark all of a sudden.
- Drink glass of wine for health purposes.
- Talk out loud as characters.
- Engage in vigorous argument with characters. Dash down good lines.
- Start to fall in love with hero. Sigh!
- Lock doors so serial killers don’t get me.
- Pull shades so serial killers can’t see me.
- Remind self that I’m in one of the safest towns in America.
- Write some more.
- Go to bed— I’m alone! This is fun!— and sleep in starfish formation, taking up entire queen-size mattress.
- Wake up early, start coffee, open laptop. Repeat steps 3-10.
- Go out to dinner. Read. Return home. Watch Hannibal on TV.
Repeat steps 12-15.
When it was time to go home, I’d written about 70 new pages in two and a half days. I knew my characters much better than when I’d started, and have a lot more faith in the book than I did on Monday. I packed up, cleaned up and stood in the doorway once more. “Bye, Dad,” I said, because my late father bought this house for us when I was little, and I always feel close to him when I’m there. “Bye, House. Thank you!”
And three and a half hours later, I was smooching my kids once more. : )