Sunday, 3 February 2008

Let's hope I'm not writing the 'long bomb'.

Overcast, light snow expected, mild, highs minus 2

We're off to Montreal today - plan to spend almost a week away from the country home, though it's actually quite fun. Feels like a vacation. We have lots of doctors and dentists appointments - happily just check-ups. Amazing how many pieces need to be checked-up as we age. Taking the car in to be serviced. It's a Volvo. We love it. Not completely co-incidently, Gamache drives a Volvo.

Speaking of him, I continued writing the book yesterday - the scene that introduces Gamache, Beauvoir etc. Each scene I write, particularly at the beginning, needs to have at least two purposes, so the story is driven along. Often, especially at the beginning, the purposes are scene and tone setting (crucial at the opening of any novel), pace setting, introducing characters and often a clue or red herring. The clues are sometimes physical, sometimes psychological or emotional...common threads.

But, most of the time, the exact method of doing all this - the contents of the scene, are a mystery to me until I actually sit down and write. Now, sometimes at the end I think - well, that's crap. That just doesn't work. But often I sit back and wonder where it came from. So many unexpected things happen. That's the beauty of planning, but not over doing it. It's a learning process, and I do it imperfectly, but I really need to leave space for inspiration. Perhaps even the divine. Those moments when ideas appear on the page out of the blue, or themes are sharpened without my even planning it. How wonderful that feeling is. Way makes up for all the agonizing and insecurities and fears.

I remember reading about Hitchcock, who was a famous planner. He story-boarded everything...every scene, so that it looked like a graphic novel before he shot a frame of film. He said that was the creative a result, the actual filming bored him to tears. I'd rather not get to that stage - so scrutinize and organize and plan a book that there was no room to breath, to see where a scene went. And not enjoy the writing.

Must run - pack up for Montreal - then on to Quebec City on Thursday for CBC radio's Sounds Like Canada. (If you live in Quebec City, we'll be doing the national radio show live at the Chateau Frontenac on Friday morning, starting at 9am. - come along and say hi to Shelagh Rogers, my friend Susan McKenzie ((she's a CBC network producer)) and Michael and me)

I'll be writing this morning, then driving to Montreal in the afternoon, ordering pizza and watching the Super Bowl. Not sure who to root for. Who doesn't love an underdog? So I'm drawn to the Giants. But also really hate to see the Patriots remarkable streak come to an end. And as much as I try not to like Tom Brady I do. I think he's just an amazing athlete, and I admire that. Great poise. Great courage. So really, whoever wins, I'm happy. I suspect that might be a female thing.

Speak soon, be well.

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