Monday, 21 June 2010

Happy Summer!

sunny, hot, gorgeous day!!! temps 28

A perfect first day of summer...and a wonderful longest day. So strange to wake up at 5:30 and it's bright out. Not just light, but bright. Happy summer, happy solstice.

There seemed a bunch of things to tell you about and now I can't remember a single things. Except we're in Montreal all day and tonight. Spent the day editing/writing. Nearing the end. I'd taken out 16-thousand words (and changed a whole lot more) from the first draft. I'm finding that while for the most part the structure, the characters, the action and the main themes were right - the details weren't. The dialogue was clunky...the themes put on thick, the scenes, while in the right place with the right characters were stilted. So it's like taking an outline and changing all the internal colours. Lots of work, but not too frightening since the skeleton (to change metaphors) was solid.

I was extremely happy to remove 16-thousand words because I knew I'd be adding a bunch back at the end...that in the first draft I'd hurried it too much. Left too many loose ends and came to inelegant conclusions. So now - especially with dropping a bunch of sub-plots - I can really take my time and do it right...and I have the extra space to do it. The breathing room. Like a long distance runner _ to drag out yet another metaphor- i didn't use up all my energy too soon, but saved a kick for the last.

Writing the final scenes now...the exposition. Clealry I won't tell you any specifics except to say it often needs quite a few revisions, because the exposition needs to be clear and simple and elegant. There needs to be explanations without lectures. Action without melodrama. Natural and satisfying, and logical, conclusions.

And, I'm afraid, all of this takes some polishing. So the final ten or fifteen pages often get the most attention. Over and over. I'll sometimes write entire alternate endings...with the same conclusions, of course, but revealed in different ways, in different settings, by different characters. And little by little the very best way becomes clear.

So I'm at that stage now. I actually really, really like this. De-muddling. (you may use that word yourselves at will). And since I'm so close to the end I'm not afraid anymore.

After breakfast this morning Michael and I dropped into Tony's Shoes on Greene Ave and bought those Sketchers...the ones with the rolly help with posture and strengthen legs and butts. We'll see. So far all they've done is made me slightly seasick. But I think I just need to get used to them.

Took them out for a walk this afternoon, to pick up snorkling equipment. We enjoyed doing it in Ste Lucia, but both of us felt we needed we'll practice in the pool and maybe the pond.

Back home tomorrow. Hope you're enjoying this first day of summer. We certainly are.


Jeanine said...

"Elegant" is absolutely the perfect word to describe your writing, Louise.

It was a hot, humid day here in New Hampshire on this first day of summer, so it was a day perfect for sitting and doing nothing except reading a good mystery and drinking iced tea. I could just picture Joanne Woodward fanning herself and drawling, "it's going to be a long hot summer."

whalewatcher said...

As for those shoes....I have a pair and I concur that walking in them the first couple days does make you a little queasy. As to their specific effects I have no proof, but do find them to be very comfortable and give good support.
Snorkeling...have done it only once, but since I don't know how to swim I was apprehensive, but LOVED it.
It gave me a beautiful view of the ocean I'd not previously had.
Thanks for continuing to share the writing process w/us!

A. Wright said...

Mix metaphors and a new word -- demuddling -- everything anyone could possibly want in one blog. Love your novels and love your blog, both are a joy to read.

Candy said...

"Elegant" is the word that jumped out at me. A perfect word.

I also love picturing you two snorkeling around your pool and pond. Great idea! If my husband and I tried that, one dog would be standing at the edge barking and the other would join us.

Kathy is a brave person to snorkel without knowing how to swim:)

Brenda B. said...

Happy solstice to you! Love to think of the two of you rocking and rolling around Montreal in your new sneaks.

Best to you as you find your way to the most elegant ending.


Brenda B. in Maine

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

I agree that kathy is very brave! We're dying to try the new gear out! And so thrilled to be finished the edit. And I think the ending is near right. More smoothing, but not a complete new draft. But I don't think you'll be disappointed.