Five days away from my desk may not sound like a long time but I find it can take me another full day to get with the program. Do the laundry? No problem. Buy milk? Obviously. Remember where I was in the writing process? Erm….
So my first job is to re-read what I’ve written so far. All of it. Because for one thing I’ve changed the name of a certain character twice and I’m about to change it again. Character names torment me if they’re not quite right. You know how if you’ve got a bit of fluff on your eyelashes and you can sort of see it out of the corner of your eye and you try to get rid of it but there’s still a bit of it there? That’s how I am with names. And that’s why, on the back of my boarding pass for yesterday’s flight the following is written: PRUDENCE!!!!! MARY TOO POPISH.
Sometimes the notes I find in my bag are a mystery. Whatever it was that seemed such a brilliant thought I had to scribble it urgently on a supermarket receipt is now merely a mysterious cypher. GN PP Rev? We may never know.
Keeping track also gets harder as the backlist lengthens. Once, when I couldn’t sleep, I tried listing the names of each of the protagonists of my (so far) twelve novels and struggled somewhat. Then I really couldn’t sleep. I mean, what kind of author doesn’t keep her finger on the pulse of all of her characters? I could only calm myself by thinking that some of them, by the simple passing of time, no longer had a pulse and some of them should perhaps have been strangled at birth anyway.
Tuesday now lies before me like untrodden snow but my path is fairly clear.
1. Get back into the driving seat.
2. See whether Prudence works better than Mary.
3. Drink tea. Strong, black, no sugar.