Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Gems and the other stuff

overcast, some cloud bursts, temps 15

Walked half an hour to breakfast over on Greene Ave with a friend - Nancy. As we had breakfast i noticed it was getting very, very dark outside. Then there was a murmur around the restaurant as everyone noticed. And then the heavens opened. Very dramatic. It had been a long time since I'd seen it that dark. It was like a total eclipse. Actually a little frightening.

But then the cloud burst passed and the sun came out. Walked back to the hotel listening to the ipod. Ali in the Jungle. Falling by Alicia Keys, Lux Eterana.

Then got down to writing. Actually took me a while to settle. As always I re-read what I'd done yesterday...and edited and smoothed. the mist-steps are much clearer the next day. Someone asked in a comment if I just sit the whole time or if I get up and walk around. I actually get up quite a bit. Wander. Pour a coffee or soft drink. Meander around.

Yesterday afternoon I put the ipod on the player in the room and pretended I was 'in concert'. used the small umbrella as a microphone. Very satisfying. The concert was a huge success.

Then I went back to writing.

Not too sure about what I wrote today. All these choices affect the structure. But I need to remember I can always go back and change it. This is just the first draft. No one else has read it.

I need to change the name of a character. I realize two fairly prominent characters have similar names. This is one of the many, many reasons no one should ever read one of my first drafts. They make no sense. Characters change names. Some disappear completely. Others appear. things are repeated often two or three times, until I decide in subsequent drafts where they are best left. It's a complete dog's breakfast. Actually, it's a lot like Trudy after she's rolled in skunk poop. Really, nothing much to redeem it.

Except that somewhere in there is something precious.

But the process is scary...I have to let go and acceot that along with the gems there will be smelly stuff. My major pre-occupation with this book is structure and pacing...and when things need to be revealed. But the fact is, that's always the issue. Right now all the characters have been introduced and established...and the job of narrowing, revealing, exposing has begun. But what and when is the issue.

Oh well. No job is easy. And I have to say, any job, no matter how difficult involves sitting in my pajamas and sipping diet coke and eating room service is pretty good.

And really, for the most part I've totally loved writing this book. There are scenes I (a little embarrassing to admit) love. In fact, I found myself crying as I wrote one. I think today's scenes were just complex. But I'm happy with them...just not sure they'll make the final cut.

Will write tomorrow morning - hope to get late check out. And then head off to Burlington, VT to pick the guys up. Sounds like they're having the best time! Went to Sardi's today for lunch. Went to the MoMA. Are shopping now on Fifth Ave. Tonight they're seeing a musical called 'Promise's, Promise's.'

Yesterday they went to dinner at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and saw the comedy, God of Carnage. Yes, I know, but it's actually a comedy.

Home tomorrow. Then back to Montreal hotel Friday and Sat. There's a big hematology meeting in Montreal and Michael need to go. Some of the people he's writing about will be there. Quite a week for the big guy. And his birthday is Saturday!!

76. Just a kid.


Deryn said...

Hi Louise,
Following along with your writing process is such a pleasure, and you are very generous to share these details in your blog.
I had an interesting talk with a friend this morning whose 10 yo daughter writes, in her words "these endless, long, involved stories with no point to them. She needs to make them shorter and to the point."
I hope I didn't jump all over the poor woman when I said "NO! Leave her be!!"
Enjoy your time. It sounds wonderful And thank you for sharing with all of us!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that writing is a job for you and it can be difficult and still you persist; you know you've been gifted with the ability. Perhaps when we read the book, we'll remember some of your notes and think: that's Louise's problem child! Thank you for sharing.

Lee Ann said...

Seems like just yesterday you were planning his 75th!

And my dog seems to be taking lessons from Trudi--he keeps rolling in unidentifiable but really aromatic stuff!

Nikki B said...

Louise --
The way you describe your writing process really makes the sometimes overwhelming feeling seem much more manageable .... and exciting! Thanks :)

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments. I just don't want anyone to read the next book, or any of them, and think more about the process than the book itself. And I worry that you'll think any book, or section, was ever a 'problem child'. I realize it was said with jest, and is simply an expression - but please know this really is just the process... and frankly this book, for all the stress and challenges, is about as easy a go of it as I've had.

Thanks for following along -

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