Friday, 11 June 2010


cloudy, rainy, sunny, cold and warm. oh

Gary came by at 5:30 and he, Michael, Trudy and I took the photos of the new baby blue VW beetle (convertible) for the article for the Globe and Mail. Now, there's a mouthful. Thankfully I write good. Even more fortunately, Gary photos good.

Happily the unexpected rain, which came while Lise and Donna were working in the garden this morning, cleared up just as they left and Gary arrived. We drove the beetled into the field by the pond, put the top down and Gary took all sorts of fun photos...including the one Lise suggested with me in the stationary car, but this long scarf billowing out behind me - thanks to a huge fan and Michael holding the scarf out with a bit of nylon thread tied to the scarf and a broom handle.

Again - just like Jane Austen and Dennis Lehane!

But we had just a riot...and it was an exquisite day. For photos.

From a writing/editing point of view it was a bit of torment. It's always like this for me, so fortunately there's no panic, and not a huge amount of stress...but life would be easier if the book was perfect the first time!!!

I'm definitely in the 'muddle in the middle'...and I need, when I get discourage or concerned, to remember the parts I adore - and remember that, at least for me, writing is a process. Like art. It's an analogy I've used before and sometimes forget when I'm in the middle of the struggle. That, like painting a picture = like Clara's portraits of ruth and the Three Graces - it doesn't happen with a single stroke. It's layer after layer, adding nuance, shading and light - shaping. going over it and over it.

Interestingly, I know when things are working and when they don't. Sometimes there're just one or two sentences in a page that I isolate those and erase the rest, and build back up. In one case today I moved big chunks around. Added a new scene and a new subplot...really just a touch here and there. To add depth. Nothing huge. Again, like a portrait...amazing the impact a single dot of colour or light can have. It doesn't need to all be put on with a trowel.

So - back to work tomorrow morning. At this point I also need to keep reminding myself to take the time needed. If I do only half a page, but it's great, then it's far better than doing ten that still aren't right. And there'll be more edits. With Bury Your Dead I have six edits on my computer before I even showed it to Michael...and a few more after that before my agent, editors and I were finally satisfied it was as good as it could be.

So, it's early days yet for this book...only halfway through, or slightly more, the first edit (or second draft, depending on how you look at it - comes to the same thing, really.)

Still, disconcerting to hit a big, mucky, slog... but it will all work out.

thank you, too, for all your celebrating about the Anthony, the Macavity and the Barry nominations! And for not getting tired of celebrating. I SO appreciate it. Yippee!!

Not sure I'll be able to blog tomorrow...very busy afternoon and evening - but will try.

Wanted to mention that I have an event Sunday, from 2 to 4pm - at the Mansonville Library. My Assistant Lise will be there, as will will the little blue bug! Love to see you there too!


Brenda B. said...

Dear Louise,

So when are you going to post one of the Louise-in-her-baby-blue-beetle-with-the-top-down photos for all of us to see? Can't wait to see that flowing hair, that blown-back scarf look. It sounds so movie starish.

Congrats on the Best of the Decade nomination. Another honor well-deserved.


Brenda B. in Maine

A. Wright said...

Love the mental image of the photo, very Isadora Duncan...without the deadly results.

lil Gluckstern said...

Yes, tell us us how to access your flowing scarf moment...Your writing about your writing is so interesting because your books flow so well, and what you describe is the hard work that makes that happen. To borrow from art, it seems very painterly which results in wonderful pictures, and flavors and stories that resonate so well, apparently with a ton of people, Yay!

Diane said...

You do write good! Hope a pic of the beetle makes it to an issue of your newsletter.

I appreciate reading all your comments on the edit process especially as I draw closer to editing my own WIP. The critic can be so merciless that when I read about your experience - a writer of your caliber, it gives me hope. I loved the image of Clara and the small brush strokes, when I first read it in the book and your mention.

Thanks for your generosity in sharing.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Thank you for your supportive comments about the editing/writing. I should go back and read the blog from a year ago, when I was struggling with Bury Your remember that there really are great pot holes along the way.

And yes - it was very hollywood - with a big wink - we were going for. The photo I'm hoping to put on the newsletter is of me in the car, Michael behind holding the broom and the scarf, and the big fan in front.

Off for lunch tomorrow with Gary and Cheryl, and Michael and the car. I'm the fifth wheel. Then the event in Mansonville. Will let you know how it goes.