Monday, 21 March 2011


snow, strong winds, temps minus 4

Just so you know, the title of this post contains a typo.

Storm blew in about 2 hours ago. Not actually all that much snow, but dastardly strong winds. The mudroom (so appropriately named) door blew open and I didn't discover it until I went to take Trudy for her walk and check the mailbox. sitting in the living room, writing, I could feel a slight chill, and a draft. Little did I know the outside was piling into the house like marauders. And our heat was, understandably, fleeing.

but now we're sealed in tight. Or at least as tight as a united empire loyalist brick home gets.

March is a good month to be away from Quebec. As is, I have to say, April. Indeed, April might be a worse month here than even March. Only because of all the false hope. Each year we think maybe this really is it. Spring is here, for real. And each year our tender hope is crushed under yet another snow storm.

So one in mid-March is not exactly a big surprise.

I hear from some of your comments on yesterday's post that we're far from the only ones getting this storm. C'est la vie, I guess. And if we choose to live here, what can we expect?

The problem really is the transition months. Mid-March to mid-April. Mid-November to mid-December.

I'm thinking next year we might try to get to London for April. We've spent the month of April there in the past, renting a flat. But I found it frustrating to try to write when one of the great cities of the world was calling. Too many distractions. And when I was out enjoying London, I was frustrated because I felt I needed to be writing.

But I think I've matured enough in my writing and my process that fear, while always there, plays less of a role. Spends less time in the drivers seat. Yes - next April in London would be fabulous. And Michael's birthday is in April. It would be a fun way to celebrate.

As you see - I dream ahead.

Writing forging ahead. One foot in front of the other. I think it's going well...but then sometimes I feel as though while the word-count is going up, the story is not actually progressing. But I feel like that with all the books. And I might actually be right....and have to remember that with a first draft it doesn't matter. It will never be right the first time.

Issues like pacing are often, for me, more obvious and solved in later drafts - when I can see the arc. Right now the focus is on characters and plot. Getting those forged.

At almost 25-thousand words now. About a quarter of the way through the first draft. And when I finish the first draft I figure I'm about half way through writing the book. There will be at least four sometimes five, six or seven more drafts. But with each one the changes get smaller and smaller. Until it is just polishing. changing a word here or there. Things no one else might notice, but I do.

And still, without exception, when I read the final draft, after the books is out, I cringe, and wish I had just one more go at it.

Off to Montreal tomorrow...pat and tony and their one remaining dog, Filo, moving in to look after the house and Trudy.


Barbara said...

I'm very happy to hear that even a best-selling author has problem first drafts and many rewrites. I think the first draft is the absolute worst, after that rewriting is easier.

Colombine said...

Effectivement, la neige d'aujourd'hui n'aide nullement la prose. Bravo Louise pour vos 25 mille mots, c'est prodigieux en si peu de temps.
Je suis allée à Londres, en février 2010, pour une visite éclair... un w-end de 5 jours. Je suis allée rejoindre mon mari qui y était pour affaires. WOW! quel w-end! je n'oublierai jamais. Bonne idée d'y aller en avril = plus chaud. Mais, Londres, à n'importe quelle température.
Vous n'avez pas de problème à ce que je vous écrive en français, mon anglais n'est pas terrible. Je vous lis régulièrement et c'est funny!

Anonymous said...

Laughing into my glass of wine, took me a while for the dime to drop.

Ann in Rochester where is will soon snow, another four inches, barely enough to notice up here on the tundra.

Anonymous said...

Columbine, I do not speak French but could read your entire comment. Next step speaking, after that spelling! Makes me want to read Louise's next book in French!

Ann in Rochester

Liz said...

March must really be the cruellest month. Beautifully warm and sunny yesterday here in Kingston; snowy and cold today. Love hearing about your writing process. My daughter, Isabel, is taking a gap year and I'm paying her to write (a fantasy novel--'cause that's what she loves to read, and, as she says, she can control the politics and other features of her imagined world). At about 5,000 words per week, it's coming along.

lil Gluckstern said...

Loved-um-your title, and I'm glad your book marches along. I enjoyed the letter in French. C'est funny made me laugh. It's improving my French. Do you have any relevant dates for the new book? I guess I could re-read "Bury Your Dead,"or start from the beginning. I really need to put a dent on my TBR shelf. Hope spring doesn't tease you too. much.

Colombine said...

Anonymous, si je peux vous donner le désir d'approfondir cette belle langue qu'est le français, eh bien, tant mieux! j'en suis fort aise. J'ai maintenant mon propre blogue et je m'amuse beaucoup.

Diane said...

So glad to hear you are going to Montreal. I live alone with my husband and try to write however there are always interruptions of some sort. Can you tell I'm anxious for your next book??

Mary-Martha said...

I've just finished THE BRUTAL TELLING and BURY THE DEAD, oh how love Armand Gamache. I, too, enjoy hearing about your writing process, but it makes me want to hear about the next story.
No one is exempt from the rough and tumble weather of March, we here in Phila. are expecting a wet snow tomorrow and Thurs. We just don't have the cold temps to go along with it.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

wonderful comments! In terms of A Trick of the Light - it will be coming out in late August or early Sept. The book I'm currently writing will come out a year later.

And Colombine - I'm so glad you loved London! And like so many others, I so enjoy seeing your posts in French. Tres Quebec!

PainterWoman said...

If you want a boring-but-warm place to write in March or April, come to Dallas!! Avoid late April and May though, because that's tornado season...