Into My Notebooks: Craving Comfort

Welcome back to the world of my notes!

Today we’re going to talk about one of my personal favorite ongoing projects, my absurdly long Harry Potter fan fiction, Craving Comfort. This project has a manila folder, but it’s got a lot more going on inside that folder than previous folders we’ve looked at.

First of all, I’ve got a packet of papers that were my original notes for the project. These papers are paperclipped together, and I’m going to go through them because they’re a great example of how I use my notebooks.

At the top of page one I’ve got the title, Craving Comfort, written, followed by a note to myself that this is a character list (scribbled out in purple ink are the words “Jesus, Paul, and Christian Prosecution” because this was a notebook used in my History of Christianity course). On the left and the bottom half of the right we have a very long list of characters, starting with Sirius Black and going down to Ginny Weasley. Some characters have stars next to them, some dashes. Dashes are hospitalized characters, such as Frank and Alice Longbottom and Gilderoy Lockhart. Stars are characters who are alive at the end of the story (twenty), and then in parentheses after all other characters is the word “dies,” which I suppose is pretty self-explanatory.  Two characters, Organza and Lydia, have a bracket that connects their names, and that bracket is referenced in a note that is in the second quarter of the right column, a note talking about the second epilogue’s contents. I won’t say much more about that because of spoilers. The top quarter lists the players on Gryffindor’s Quidditch team in the Marauder era.

Pages two and three contain a large portion of the second epilogue as a draft, and a the top of the third page I have a quote from one of my English professors: “If you went up to an Italian and grabbed his wrists he wouldn’t be able to speak anymore.” I then wrote to myself in mixed English/German to look up the name Otto (for a German history course). At the bottom of page three I begin a draft of part of chapter five.

On page four the draft of chapter five continues half in black, half in burgundy, and the top margin contains more notes from my History of Christianity course. Namely: “Arianism – Non-Trinitarianism. 325 Nicea. Importance of body, not of consciousness. And does Jesus share a consciousness with god, or glimpses of? <- Antiochian 451 Chalcadon. Macedonian – Holy Spirit is God/Jesus’s minion. 381 – Constantinople (figuring out Holy Spirit-Trinity). Ebionites -> Jesus fully human.”

For those curious, those are notes on the history of the nature of the divinity of various parts of the Trinity. It’s really interesting stuff.

On page five the draft of chapter five continues, half in burgundy and half in orange, with another quote from the same English professor in the top margin in orange: “Everybody likes obscene stuff, even if they pretend they don’t.”

Page seven has more of chapter five in orange, with one of my professor’s cell phone number’s in the top margin. Just so that’s not weird, she gave me her number because we were doing an after-hours film and she couldn’t stay so she set it up for the class and said to call her if something went wrong, and as I had a pen handy (Always) I took down her number.

Page eight has more of chapter five in orange, and some lovely things from my philosophy class in the top margin. First I wrote “Nothing is real but quarks.” Then I wrote a conversation that occurred between myself, another student, and our professor. I’ll record that here:

W: “Are you coming into my room and counting my quarks?”

Professor G: “Yes. It takes a long time.”

Me: “No eternal life for any of us, guys.”

Page nine is entirely in orange, and mostly the rest of chapter five. At the very bottom there’s about half a dozen lines of the beginning of the draft of chapter eight.

Page ten is an entirely orange continuation of the draft of chapter eight. Page eleven is the same, but with three lines of sort of a cornsilk blue at the bottom. Page twelve is a continuation of that draft, half in cornsilk blue, with about five words in black and the rest of the page in royal blue. Pages thirteen-eighteen are more in royal blue.

Page nineteen is also royal blue, mostly the end of that chapter draft, with maybe a dozen lines of some of a draft of chapter twelve at the bottom. The top margin has two things. The first is another quote from my famous English professor: “Being a kids is super fun. I mean, being a kid can be super fun. If done rightly. With adult supervision.” The second thing is a short conversation between myself and my philosophy professor. Please note that I was deadly serious and had just seen the Doctor Who episode “The Power of Three.”

Professor G: “How many sides does this cube have?”

Me: “Seven.”

Page twenty is in royal blue and is more of the chapter twelve draft, with more wisdom from my philosophy classmate, W: “Right, but I mean, penguins in a vacuum of space…. That sounded ridiculous.”

Page twenty-one is two-thirds royal blue, one third black, also part of chapter twelve. Three quotes are at the top. The first is in the corner in black, from one of my English classmates. He said, “I don’t know about Blake, because he’s sort of off in a corner by himself, doing what he does.” The other two are from my English professor. The first is in blue and reads, “Not all of you? All of you should have read Dialogues by Pluto. None of you should have understood them. None of us understood it, but you should have read it.” And the second, in black, “Every one of the people in this book is a freak in some way.” [Note that he’s pointing at our anthology of British literature]

Page twenty-two is mostly in black, with the third quarter in orange, again of chapter twelve. In the top left corner is a quote from a guest lecturer in one of my English classes. He says, about the Irish, “Maybe they’re too friggin’ hospitable. They’ve been here for 700 years. That’s a long time for a house guest to stay.” Then I have some notes from my History of Christianity course: “Unitarianism (non-Trinitarianism): Faustus Socinus; W. E. Channing.” Then another quote from the guest lecturer: “The Irish are really good at losing wars against the British. It’s a bad habit they got into.”

Page twenty-three is entirely in black, a continuation of chapter twelve’s draft. At the top is a quote from my English professor: “This is a poet talking to a vase. What does he say to the vase?” [three guesses what we were reading]

Page twenty-three is also all in black, and more of chapter twelve. Another quote from my English professor: “And we are constantly plagued with an image of how it could be better, from peace on earth to a better sandwich for lunch.”

Pages twenty-four and -five are all in black, and the remainder of chapter twelve. Page twenty-six begins the draft of the end of chapter sixteen, all in black. At the top I wrote the word “Change” in large letters. I’m not sure I did change anything, so I’ve no idea what I meant about that. Pages twenty-seven and -eight are more of that section in black.

Page twenty-nine is all in black. The top two-thirds is the end of chapter thirteen, the rest the beginning of the chapter fourteen draft. At the top is another quote from my English professor: “He does the heroic thing: murders everybody. Not his wife and kid, but the suitors.” [three guesses what we were discussing…]

Page thirty is more of chapter fourteen, two-thirds in black, one third in a sort of sky-blue. Page thirty-one is more, in the same blue.

Page thirty-two is in the same blue, with more of chapter fourteen. At the top I have more from my English professor: “Praise God for multicolored stuff.” [Anyone know what poem we were talking about here?]

Pages thirty-three to thirty-six are in the same blue, with more of chapter fourteen. Page thirty-seven continues chapter fourteen with about half a dozen lines of the blue, the rest in a forest green. At the top of the page are two quotes from the great Natalie Cannon during her thesis presentation at capstone day. The first is “There’s no inspiration like last minute panic.” The second, “I didn’t write her thesis.”

Page thirty-eight is a great example of the dangers of writing in class. The page is more of chapter fourteen, all in forest green except where I’ve scribbled things out with a hot-pink pen. One word that’s scribbled was just redundant, but the end of the page, which discusses an intimate snogging session, I have this beauty: “It was a poor excuse and probably unnecessary, but it was the best work agreement and the only times it would be a problem was some sort of a trouble for teens and Young Adults.

I still have no clue what happened there. But it happens sometimes.

Page thirty-nine is the rest of chapter fourteen, in that same bright pink. Pages forty to forty-nine are all in black (except the chapter designation, which is in pink), and they are the bulk of the chapter fifteen draft. Page fifty is half in purple, which is the end of that chapter draft. The second half is in royal blue, and the beginning of the chapter sixteen draft. Pages fifty-one and -two are more of chapter sixteen, in royal blue. Page fifty-three is more of sixteen, in black, and page fifty-four is more of sixteen with one word of black and the rest of the page in lime green. It’s a bit hard to read.

Pages fifty-five and -six are in cornsilk blue, more of chapter sixteen. Page fifty-seven is more of chapter sixteen, half in orange and half in black. Fifty-eight is more of that chapter, in hot-pink, and fifty-nine continues on with two lines in pink and the rest in black. Page sixty is the rest of chapter sixteen, with a line of black and the rest in red.

The rest of the packet is part of a draft of chapter seventeen. Pages sixty-one and -two are all in black, page sixty-three has one line of black with the rest in green, page sixty-four is half green and half purple, and pages sixty-five and -six are all in black. Note that when quotations ended on the top, that’s when my semester was over….

Also note that these sixty-some pages are effectively my only course notes for an entire semester. And most of it was fan fiction.

Also in this folder are two spiral notebooks. The first – and most important, is an Environotes one subject, 100 sheet, college notebook with a double pocket. The cover is green. I have to say, they’re expensive and I don’t buy them often, but Environotes is easily the best paper I’ve ever used. I especially like how it works with my pens. Tucked into this I have a draft of a friend’s short story (I had forgotten that was there) and a photograph of a 30’s automobile from a museum I visited with my parents.

I’ve got notes from classes in this, for an English course, including a note to buy Gaston Bachelard’s The Poeticts of Space, which I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t purchased, but it’s on my list. I’ve also got notes on the system of money in Victorian England from a book I borrowed from Natalie Cannon, notes for an essay (on Bachelard) where I discussed daydreaming for the cellar-dweller (read the book, it’s fabulous). I have the very first draft of my short story, “Changes,” which I’m still editing. I have notes for another essay, this one on the boarding house in World War 2 in England, and notes for a different essay where I argued that the Tardis was the ultimate British domestic interior.

It has a packing list for leaving college, and some notes for “Unlocking the Depths” that I’ve yet to remove to their own folder, including drafts of the first four chapters and the complete outline. Then I have many blank pages (those are my favorite thing), the end of which is marked by a sticky note with an old shopping list. Then I have the outline of all 526 chapters of “Craving Comfort.” As these are set up in similar fashion to previously discussed notebooks, I won’t go into excruciating detail on this here.

The second notebook is a yellow-cover crap single subject 70 sheet college ruled notebook. The beginning are actually fairly extensive notes for my Developmental Psychology class, although not very coherent because I had mono at the time. Most of the notes were pretty useless. Then I have a list of things needed to practice flower arranging as a hobby (which I don’t have any of yet, so I haven’t started the hobby)

The notebook is mostly empty after that, with nine pages of student lists (first years only) and Quidditch rosters from 1982 to spring of 1986, with the basic framework for the student roster of fall of 1986 outlined. This is a good way for me to keep track of secondary characters, as well as what students are being Sorted, which students are in Quidditch, which students take my OC’s course (at both OWL and NEWT levels), which students become Prefects and Heads, etc. More information is added to each page as necessary. It’s important for continuity, as well as to give me some characters to toss in from time to time.

And that’s about it! Sorry for the massive update, but I figure some of you might care, and it is quite a long fic. If you’ve made it this far leave a comment saying what you found helpful in this post, and what you could have done without so I can be less long-winded in the future.

Cheers,

-C

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About jillianavaloncolumbiatheatre

Recent college graduate, writer, aspiring teacher, lover of literature and art.

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