Thursday, 19 June 2008

Wayne and shine

cloudy, rainy, cold - temps 14

It started out brilliant sunshine, but by 9am it was overcast, then started to rain. And it poured on and off all day. Wayne was out cutting the lawn and of course was way over by the guest cottage when it first started pelting down. I didn't think our old tractor moved that fast. I didn't think Wayne did. But this was no warm summer shower. More like a Scottish boys boarding school shower. Cold and unrelenting. I got caught in a downpour around noon, on the far side of the pond with the dogs. Happily I suspected it might happen so I was in rubber boots, a cap and my Barbour waxed coat. Autumn wear, really.

After breakfast I set the computer up on the screen porch to start the big editor for book 5. But then the rain came and the roof started to leak, right on top of the computer. I quickly exited, stage left.

Michael did the word count last night and told me this morning.

140,000 words, more or less. About what I figured, for the first draft. I was worried it was more, and hoping for less. So I'm not surprised.

I think it should be about 120,000.

There are 39 chapters, so my plan is to work on 2 chapters a day and be fininshed the first big edit by mid-July (we're taking a few days off when Doug and 4 kids arrive - then off to Hovey Manor to celebrate my 50th).

I'm already behind schedule! I worked from 9am to 3pm and only managed to do the first chapter today. It took me longer to edit it than to write the damn thing. I think because now, knowing what comes later, I really needed to sculpt more finely, and get the foundation right. So I went over it and over it. And managed to take 800 words out at the same time.

This is what editing is about - tightening, yes. But also sharpening. But at the same time making the story more subtle. I love editing. Well, love is overstating - but it doesn't scare me as much as the original writing can.

But, so far so good. In fact, it's reading even better than I remembered - and I can be a very tough critic if I'm not careful. So that's a relief.

Spent some time today replying to emails and fine-tuning a few events for this fall, including the Canadian launches for THE MURDER STONE in October. The publisher's organizing two - one for Montreal and the other for out here in the Townships, perhaps at Hovey Manor which helped inspire one of the main settings for the book.

I'll let you know what things get firmed up for the launches.

Also spoke to Lynn Kaczmarek, one of the publishers and editors at Mystery News. She's asked me to speak to her book club, by phone, next week, so we chatted and tested the speaker phone. I like Lynn a lot. One of those people I wished I lived next to.

Talk tomorrow. Be well.

2 comments:

ovidiayu said...

Thanks for sharing the editing/writing process. We'll enjoy the book all the more when it comes out!

(didn't realise it was such hard work--because what we see in print seems to flow so naturally)

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Ovidia,

Thanks - I'd imagine your process is even more rigorous, as a playwright. Can't begin to imagine the structural issues etc.

Thanks for being so supportive.