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Making a Novel: The Allure of 100 Pages

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Last year, I started blogging about the making of a new novel, and I wrote in this space every day. It proved to take too big a toll on the progress of my story, so this year, I'm going to start out just writing on Wednesdays. I am, in other words, starting out the New Year by saying, "No." I have to take this stand, because I have 100 pages of my book written, and these pages are starting to make demands on me. In order to meet those demands, I have to clear some time and space.

At 50 pages, you know that a story has a certain shape and weight. At 100 pages, however, it starts to generate heat, and it's that heat that make the demands. My 100 pages want me to stay up late to keep writing. They wake me up in the middle of the night, nagging at me, refusing to loosen their grip. They want me to ignore the dishes and the laundry even more than I normally do so that I can keep writing. When I see 100 pages, I immediately start to think about 200.

100 pages can mess with your mind. The other day, in fact, I was so obsessed with working out a particularly important and thorny scene, that I was cranky and mean all day until I got it, and then I felt light and happy. My family was not amused.

In the immediate future, I will be saying "no" to parties, and to worthy literary events, and to lunches. I will be saying "no" to things that are good for me (like yoga), and to the people I love the most (the family who was not amused.) I know I should be trying to seek a healthy balance in all things at all times. But I have 100 pages, and right now, they happen to be very loud.