The four walls are creeping in on me just now. It’s been two weeks since I last left the house and… three, maybe four since I went out on non-medical related business. The time creeps up a bit. It is actually a good sign when I feel it at two weeks; means I’m not so bad. When I work it out and it’s been six or seven and I’ve only just noticed, I know I’ve been very ill. Well, both you and I know that I’m not very ill because I’m keeping this up pretty well just now. But it’s still been two weeks.
Of course it’s all relative. I know people who have been literally in the same room for a year. And others who get cabin fever after a weekend stuck indoors.
Now I’m getting excited/ panicked/ nauseous about my book again. During yet another troublesome night I began to go through (despite my conviction that I would leave it alone for a few days) and got through editing the first seven thousand words within a reasonable margin of satisfaction. As in, done and dusted.
I found my first major inconsistency. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my protagonist’s parents living in Cornwall. This is an important fact for all sorts of reasons. However, within the second chapter I found a few sentences indicating that they were in a different time zone. Bugger.
I suppose it’s not major, but I hadn’t expected to find such a bloomer so early on in the book. I know there will be others and probably much worse; I’m just praying there’s nothing nearly so bad as the ones that turned up in my first draft.
I’m also having difficulty sorting out chapters. I naturally write in sections or scenes; stories are like that. But these vary greatly in size, sometimes as little as a thousand words, sometimes as long as three or four thousand. If I called each of these a chapter, I would probably have a book of fifty odd chapters! I could divide these scenes into larger chapters but even with this, unless I ignore what’s going on in the story at the time, I struggle to make such chapters even vaguely consistent lengths.
On top of this is the issue of naming chapters. It is terribly old fashioned, but a big part of me desperately wants to entitle every chapter. One of the favourite books of my childhood was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. I love that book for so many reasons, but one great thing about it and other books from that period is that the chapter titles are so very exciting such as I Run a Great Danger in the House of Shaws or The Flight In The Heather: The Heugh of Corrynakiegh.
I can’t be as close as I feel to finishing. I still have masses to do. And why does it make me feel like throwing up when I think about a time when it will all be done? I don’t understand that at all. I suppose it is a matter of what will I do then? And if it turns out, as it well might, that what I have written is rubbish or okay but nobody will publish it, then what the fuck am I going to do? What am I going to do with my life if the one avenue which might have made things okay is blocked off to me?
Hmm, sorry, I know. If this fails, I must try again or think of something else. There are a lot of opportunities in basket-weaving. I could work from home, weaving baskets and selling them on eBay. Baskets which attach to wheelchairs or mobility scooters perhaps. Or I could learn a bit more about computers and conduct major banking fraud from the comfort of my bed. Or perhaps I could invent something like, I don’t know, an ergonomic toothbrush.
For the time being, I certainly need to get out more.