Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Sunny, unspeakably lovely day. Hot and humid - temps 32

Wow - a scorcher! But so beautiful. We're VERY glad Trudy got her puppy cut. We dropped in to Brome Lake Books to hang around and bother Danny and Lucy this morning, and their dog, Jessie (Trudy's mom) also had her puppy cut. Adorable.

Well - it's done!!! On Monday night I lay in bed, thinking of the writing for Tuesday, and I thought - I think, if I work really hard, I can finish the book tomorrow (Tuesday). So I awoke yesterday morning with that intention. Even, I said to myself, if it takes until midnight!

So by 8:30 I was in front of the laptop, with a coffee and breakfast....stayed there through lunch...had burgers on the porch with Michael and the fellow who is doing our geo-thermal - Phil. He was here to paddle around the pond and see if it's deep enough (it isn't). but we all broke for some of Michael's great burgers.

then everyone, back to work.

Midnight came and went. Michael went up to bed. Trudy curled up and started snoring. And I wrote and wrote and wrote. Determined to finish. I could see the end...though as always, it was a tease. Showed me its well-turned ankle, and then slipped further and further away. But finally - at 2am - I caught it. Oh, my God. What a feeling. So few words more satisfying to write, at least for me, than THE END. though by then I was so punch-drunk, and had hit so many wrong keys and had to backspace and re-write it felt as though I was writing each word, each sentence, each paragraph twice! I reached the stage of such exhaustion that I just wanted the murderer to stand up in the middle of a scene and give himself up! (safe to say "him" since this book is set in a monastery and they're all 'hims' - and some hymns ((forgive me, I'm still a little tired))

Normally when I get to 'the end' I made a ceremony, a ritual, of it. To mark this momentous and joyous occasion. But at 2am this morning all I wanted to do was spell THE END right.

I am thrilled to be finished the first draft. I turned out the lights and hauled by achy body upstairs. But not before noticing all sorts of weird sounds about the house at that hour. Including a huge thudding on the window that kinda freaked me out. I went over there and the world's largest moth was trying to get in. It reminded me of that B-grade Japanese horror monster, Mothra. Mothra was trying to get into our home.

I went back to writing. Bookzilla was waiting for me to wrestle it to the ground.

Upstairs I found Michael reading...waiting up for me. Isn't that amazing. He asked if he could save my work and I thanked him, but let him off that hook. Normally after each writing session he saves the work on his 'stick' then down loads it to his computer. I'm always afraid my old clunker will finally clunk its last - and die. And the book will be trapped inside. But I couldn't ask Michael to go down and save it, so we rolled over and went to bed.

When I woke up at 8am Michael was already up. He'd saved the work and had even done a final word-count, since he knows I can't really relax until I hear the 'bad' news. But it wasn't so bad! What a relief. Still needs 10-15-thousand words taken out, but I think I can do that without too much blood and shrieking.

We celebrated by going to cowansville for eggs, bacon and french toast, and all the coffee in chipped white mugs we could drink. And that amazing creeping realization that I don't have to hurry home. I don't have to think about that day's writing, or tomorrows.

I can relax. it takes me a while to really 'get' that - and totally unwind. But it begins.

I plan to take a week off - maybe more. Probably more. But hard to tell right now. I love the book, but I'm so pooped I can't think about it. But I'll know when its time to do the 2nd draft. It's so important for me to step back, detach, get some distance and perspective. Breathe. And then plunge in again.

Thanks for holding my hand through all this. You make it even more fun!


A. Wright said...

Finishing a first draft is a major event, Louise. Congratulations to you and to Michael, who nurtures you while you write and, God bless him, backs up your work. The thought of one of your books lost to a fried hard-drive gives me the willies.


Anonymous said...

I think you need to get a little external hard drive of your very own, just in case Michael wants to sleep in. Congratulations on finishing the first draft~

Ann in Rochester

Linda said...

Well Done, Louise!!
Thanks for bringing us along on your very interesting journey from an idea to very real characters and happenings. Can't wait to read it!

Mary L said...

I am so glad you have the first draft done; I can't imagine getting that weight off your shoulders. I am sure editing will a lot easier.

danielle-momo said...

Je suis très heureuse pour vous.
Vous méritez amplement de relaxer un peu avant de parfaire votre oeuvre.
C'est toujours intéressant de suivre votre processus de création.

Maryse L. said...

Thank you so much for sharing. It is a kind of example and, more than that, an inspiration for those of us who are trying to write a first novel. Thanks again
Maryse L. (Quebec City)

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise, I am happy that you've made it to this point and the book #8 is about to be born.

It was quite interesting to follow the creation with you through the blog, and I wish the story would continue - what comes next? Are the authors limited by the word count? How many drafts do you usually go through?

Talking only about myself (and I am not probably alone) - when I get the feeling of being with the author while his/her work is created, it 'forces' me to continue and finally buy the book in question.

Talking about your series, I am very happy that I resisted so far the temptation, did not jump the line, and read all your books in order as they were published. I recommend that to other readers as well, because one can enjoy your work so much more fully and with deeper understanding.

Thank you, VT

fallafooka said...

Can't wait to read it!!!

darlene said...

Great news. Now you can relax for a while. And enjoy polishing and finishing it. Well done. Thank you for taking us on the journey with you.

Lee Ann said...

I guess you decided to give up the secrets after all? Enjoy your time off and the hot weather (which I hope is not as hot where you are as it is here)!

Lee Ann

Shelagh said...

Sweet words, Louise - "The End". Congratulations on the first draft being finished. And I chuckled at "hims" and "hymns" - I can imagine you being very punchy at that stage. Also love the images of Trudy and Jessie and their "puppy cuts" - too cute. Enjoy your well earned week respite. And thank you, Michael, for "backing up" your lovely lady's work. Hugs.

K said...

It has been so fun to follow along as you write your next Gamache novel, and so exciting to hear that the first draft is done. I can't wait for The Trick of the Light - have it preordered and am just waiting for it! It's my favorite series - thanks for writing it.

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha! You are so funny. I am so sleep deprived due to a sick dog and mum, I had to look back at The Ned and wonder, only for a moment. And the eggs, bacon and French toast with coffee in chipped are living my dream. Thanks for is like being at 3Pines in the Bistro without the drama. Hope for the next two weeks your friends fill you back up. Enjoy!

P.S. Just wondered as a dog lover, did I miss it ? No dog regular...but now I remember Gamache walking the dog in Quebec, and another character walking his dog...I loved the Quebec scenes with the dog...I will go back and read it again

H. L. Banks said...

One step closer to being published - yes!

Miss Diane said...

Félicitations Louise! Quelle sensation que celle du travail accompli. Bon courage pour la suite!

Barbara said...

Ah, there's nothing (well almost nothing) sweeter than the end of the first draft. Everything that follows is almost fun. Congratulations.