So, we’ve arrived in Toronto, which you’ll know if you also follow me on Twitter. We arrived after a “big chill” of minus 27 and we are promised the next “big chill” is on its way. I am watching snow race diagonally across large picture windows and watching the man across the street spill salt from a little rolling cart onto the pavement. So that’s how they keep their sidewalks clear!
I’ve already had a good old moan about not being able to pack books and so far it hasn’t mattered. I really have all I need here. A good solid desk with a lamp and a chair. My maps of Berlin at 1930 and 1940, and my handmade map of the Isle of Man in 1940, open and at the ready. A mug of tea, shamefully small. A pen. There is also a fax machine here, which is reassuring in an old-fashioned way. If a fax ever comes I’ll surely fly out this picture window beside me.
I have written for the last 2 days here and cracked 56K this morning. 55K is a big hinge in a novel, it’s the first place where you can look up from your writing, take a breath and say to yourself, OK, what I’m dealing with here is a novel. If, in fact, you are at 55K and you have plenty of story left to tell, you know you have enough material to be book-length. It doesn’t mean it will work or that you won’t get lost somewhere and lose track of where you’re going, but it just means that you have enough to write with. And really, halfway through a book, that is enough. Husband is off today, so we go off to explore, me with a tiny little bubble of accomplishment percolating under goose pimples. And tomorrow? To write the book past 56K – after all, there’s still another 50K to go, or so, and then all those drafts ahead…