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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

It Takes a House to Write a Novel by Debra A. Kemp

It seems to take an entire house for me to write a novel. I have an office where I do most of my work. It's cluttered with three ring binders and notebooks and tattered bits of paper and sticky notes. Stacks of cd cases of inspirational music are near to hand on the floor next to my "throne". Currently Rush is my music of choice. And in a side thought, I realized, why bother playing Rush if you can't crank it up to 11? (I had to turn it down for a brief stint on the phone.)

But back to the topic. I have noticed bits of my work in progress in nearly every room of my house. There's a stack of notes next to my side of the bed. A yellow legal pad, tossed on the dresser, has the opening of chapter 4 penned by hand in fountain pen--blue ink. With a mere glance, I can see sticky notes marking passages in the towering stack of research books on the floor beside the bed. Far too many for the bedside table. That has a limit of five.

We made the formal living room our library, since we needed a place for the books anyway! This houses the majority of my books, including my prized Arthurian collection. I could probably open any one at random and find scrap of paper with a note I'd scribbled with some thought of how to use a passage in the House Pendragon series. My special collector's copies of Firebrand and Recruit are in the barrister case next to my first copy of "Once and Future King"--where it all began. Oddly, my working copy of Firebrand--the one I've marked up--is on top of the record player. (Rush Live in Rio playing.) The book has a large piece of paper sticking out from it with more of my scribbles.

It's a natural segue from there to the formal dining room. I'm writing the rough draft of this in pencil, at my dining room table, whilst a princess watches from on high and beside to a display case filled with Arthurian scenes and characters rendered in pewter--acquired in England. On the table where I'm writing, beside my coupons, is another legal pad--this one lilac--with chapter one lovingly penned in fountain pen. Leaning against the side board is another binder. This one has my outline for book 3. I had been looking for that the other day in the office.

Passing into the kitchen, my e-reader is on the counter re-charging. It has both Firebrand and Recruit uploaded on it and the current incarnation of #3's manuscript. A handy, portable device--no need to lug all the pages or a laptop on short trips. Inside my purse--on the table--is yet another notepad filled with scene and character sketches. Nearly time for a replacement.

From there it's the family room. I keep a note pad and pen on the table next to my chair. The top page has a note I made while watching a show on the history channel the other day. Hmm, need to get that to my desk where it will get lost.

So it takes an entire house for me to write a novel. I can't contain it in a single room. Perhaps if my office were the size of my house and I was better organized?

As always, thanks for reading!
Debra A. Kemp
The House of Pendragon continues!


  1. LOL - love this! I SO know the feeling. I have a VAST office yet never seem to write any of my novel in here - instead I leech out into the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom (and even, on occasions, leave the house entirely). jxx

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad to know I'm not alone!