Thursday, 9 July 2009

strange - but good.

Mainly sunny - at last!!! temps 24

Lovely day...sunny, not too hot. Lise and Donna came this morning to do the garden, first day in a long time they could work in it without torrential rain. Wayne arrived, climbed onto his trusty tractor, and mowed the lawn. Ken and Mary came and cleaned the pool. Deanna dropped by...who does the house.

It was a party! The property was practically purring by the end of the day.

I retreated into the living room to do the editing. As I walked in I looked out the windows on either side of the fireplace, and saw, of course, all shades of green, from the plants next to the window, to the grass, to the forest beyond. And thought how many times I walked into the room to write this book, and looking out the window I saw snow.

I hope not to be walking into the room to continue the editing, seeing the changing leaves!

But I did another 50 pages today...really liked it. Some rough patches. But they at least were obvious. So much clearer when I can see the arch of things, feel the flow, or lack of it. The mistakes hit like a wall. Though sometimes the solution is less than clear.

But the most frustrating for someone with my temperment is when I hit something that I think is inconsistent with an event or fact earlier in the book...then I have to go back and find it! Very boring...but necessary. I really am not all that great at details. Character, yes, plots and clues, yes...but small consistencies bore me. Which is why, sometimes in the early drafts, Gamache can have lunch twice in a day...or have five drinks before I stop him. (Ruth - very bad influence).

Happily, we're a team and what I fail to see others will.

but I also force myself to go back and fix things, reminding myself that's what 'editing' means...and it's not going to get easier with subsequent edits. So might as well do it right away.

At this stage the big enemy is time. It seems crucial, for my process, to do this stage as quickly as possible, without interruption. If interrupted I can lose the flow and pacing of it...and forget whether I just read something and hearing it again is repetitive, or was that an earlier version?? So - I'm really trying to get this first edit done before I head to the Lakefield Literary festival next week. Actually, I have an interview with the CBC book club on Thursday - the host is coming to need to go in and meet her...then drive to Lakefield, Ontario Friday, for the event Saturday afternoon. Then home. But if I don't get this first edit done, then I'll have three, maybe four days away - more than enough time to lose the flow.

Then, once back, I need to dive immediately back in, and do the second edit, while it's still fresh. Smoothing, smoothing, adding the fine points...seeing the smaller problems, the details that aren't quite right, or could be better. Then one more time, not to change anything big, but to work a bit on language, the words used...tone down a bit, shade...a turn of phrase.

LOVE that stage. Actually, I quite like this one, but it is a little stressful. Always afraid I'm going to hit a big pile of merde on the next page. And sometimes I do.


this afternoon, when everyone had left, Michael and I slid into the pool, then lay out there in the sun. Wow, did it feel good. Strange, but good.

Be well.


Brenda B. said...

Dear Louise,

I so appreciate your detailed discussion of your editing process. I'm about to embark on my first edit, and think my process will be somewhat similar to yours. I need to take some time away from my day job to focus on it. Can't wait.

The sun came out here today also, at long last. People were exclaiming about it all day today, their sighs of joy audible through my open office window.

Ah, summer in the northland. It's so sweet when it finally shows up.


And congratulations to you, Michael, on your book. That is such cool news.



humble.pie said...

at this point the new novel has already jelled so much that i'm wondering how much my favourite character differs in my mind's eye from the way you have created him.
who is he, what is he? certainly not holy, fair and wise as was Sylvia in the poem. He's the inspector who was Gamache's mentor, now retired and living in Quebec city. In my mind's eye he is auld Québec personified. Rougher than Gamache, more nationalist. He never graduated Cambridge or any other hanglo college. A scrapper all his life, he rose through the streets and troops. Powerful social democrat. Never forgot the people whom he was paid to serve. It occurs to me maybe i'm writing about René Lévèsque.
ok it's just my mind's eye. I'm so looking forward to reading how he is, really, in yours. This is going to be your best book ever, imo.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Brenda,

Oh, you'll love the editing! Actually quite fun, if you can swallow the nausea. And so glad the sun graced you too! Isn't it amazing when it does appear??

Thanks for your kind words to Michael too...I know how much he appreciates them. He spent all today working on his book too.

Louise Penny Author said...

DEar Hum,

Such fun to hear from you again! Assuming it isn't a complete pile of you'know'what, book 6 might be good. Hard to say. Is it brilliant, or merde? Such a surprisingly fine line.

When are you going to write your book? or maybe you can just ghost write my next one...