I’m currently revising a manuscript that I first wrote in 2008. Yes, that’s right, a book that would now be in year 2 at primary school had it found its feet straight away. As it is, it’s still an unborn baby of a book, written and re-written and re-written again, shoved in a drawer, forgotten, remembered, rewritten and forgotten again. In fact it’s been re-written so many times that it has a huge subsection in my document folder that outstrips all the other manuscripts I’ve written .
The reason, I think, that I haven’t successfully delivered it – is that I find it so exhausting. It is such a huge thing, physically and such a monumental monster to write and edit.
I see it like this:
SHRUNK! and the SHRUNK! books are around 25,000 words. They are pillows, quite big pillows. In some cases, there are two or three of them, and with the Story Adventure even more, and they might slip out of my grasp but they are modular, a collection of pillows that need moving up six flights of stairs. The chances are I will have to go back down and get one, but I will make the trip.
Dear Scarlett and Saving Sophia. 45,000 words. These are single mattresses. Awkward but fine so long as the telephone doesn’t ring when I’m jammed behind it on the landing. The mattress doesn’t have any handles, and it does occasionally slip from my fingers and slide all the way down, but mostly the direction is up. It’s possible to turn the mattress over, invert it, move the beginning to the middle, the middle to the end.
This novel, the baby from the bottom drawer, feels massive. It’s an extra large kingsize super big, unreasonably heavy mattress with no handles and lumpy sticky out buttons. Even the first flight takes an age. Every time I change something, there are pages and pages of revisions to make, I slip back down a flight of stairs, and my brain explodes just a little more. I can actually get lost in the plot and if I’m away from it for more than a day, I’m climbing those stairs from the bottom all over again.
It’s using every scrap of my head.
So I’m sorry if you’re trying to ring me, or arrange something. And I’m sorry I haven’t answered your email – but right now, I really have to get this 65,000 word mattress up the stairs.