Sunday, 4 March 2012

Starting book 9

overcast, temps minus 4

More snow than expected overnight...but still, not much. A few inches. It finally looks like winter. Had a nice storm last week - probably a foot of snow, all told. Great for the ski hill and the skiers. And for those of us who just like the look of snow on the trees and ground.

But temps supposed to go up to plus 12 this coming week....and a whole lot of rain in the forecast. Ugh.

Started writing the new book last Thursday. Had set a goal of 200 to 500 words a day. 200 words is quite low...but I really want to be kind to myself with this book. To not lash myself forward. But to remember to write with joy. Even the sections that are terribly difficult.

Went next door, to the cottage. And perhaps it was the tranquility there - or the lack of distractions (probably more likely) - but the first day I wrote more than 1,000 words - and four days into it I'm at more than 5,000 words.

ahhh

What bliss to just have the book to think about. I've gotten much better at declining invitations - both professional and personal - during this first draft. Still feels uncomfortable. Hate saying no. But now I'm appreciating the difference. When all I have to do is write. And when I'm not writing I can just relax, and not have to concentrate on other people, listening to them, or being expected to talk. Michael and I can just sit by the fire and read or chat, or watch TV - no stress.

Yesterday was a case in point. I'd written more than 2,000 words and come to the end of a section. And I knew what the next section had to be....but I didn't know how to do it. Where it would be set, who the other characters would be - what the dialogue would be.

All I knew was that it needed to re-introduce a major characters and give a sense of what had happened between books. It had to carry a load of emotion and facts....without feeling like a dump truck. It needed to be entertaining, (riveting, I'm hoping) - and elegant and natural. It needed to flow. And feel, above all, effortless.

From the moment I stopped writing yesterday, until I sat down at the computer today, I thought about it. Brought out various scenarios, listened to 'conversations' in my mind. closed my eyes and tried to see.

Would they be here? Would they be there? Why? What's the purpose of that location.

Because each setting needs to have a purpose - to help move the story forward. Each word and phrase needs to have a purpose - either in the plot or in the character development, or back story, or mis-direction, or all of those things. Layers.

and yet - have it all appear simple and easy.

I don't want you to feel you're wading through the book - slugging away.

I have to say, for some writers it might be easy - but not for me. And so if I also have a social event, or a talk I need to give, while trying to write, it's such a handicap. And for years I agreed to events....agreed to having friends visit, or to having dinner with them - agreed to give interviews and read other manuscripts....spent afternoons replying to emails and making phone calls. And doing the blog (at one time I blogged everyday - and I can't any more).

all those things I did because I wanted to. They gave me pleasure. But then I could see, more and more clearly, that they also took away from my focus. So now I blog every few days, I decline almost all interviews. I see friends rarely, at this stage.

I become a hermit.

Thanks to Michael, who is so kind and understanding - and a huge thanks to My Assistant Lise (patent pending) - who does respond to the emails, and does the mailing, and keeps my schedule and does a million things to keep this boat afloat. So I can concentrate on just paddling along.

After thinking about it for hours, I sat down at the computer this morning and started to write. I knew it was a pivotal scene, so I gave myself permission to only write 500 words....but to make them count. Set the scene off properly. I had, though, no idea what the first words would be.

But I just started writing....and darned if those first words didn't set exactly the tone I needed. Totally unexpected. Now, all this might change in the next draft....but I'll worry about that then. For now, I wrote more than 1,000 words again today, and am happy (and more than a little relieved and surprised).

Will now 'putz' around the house, as My Assistant Lise (patent pending) would say - putting up a few pictures. Mindless wandering.

Day away from writing tomorrow (which is also why getting the foundation of the next scene down was so important) - doctor's appointment tomorrow morning (just a check up) then Lise is coming by early afternoon.

Our gas fireplace is acting up again, so hoping to have that fixed tomorrow as well.

Hope you're enjoying the day....and please don't worry that I'll say too much and spoil a surprise in this book....I'm keenly aware of the need to be careful. No spoilers here!

13 comments:

Rick in Kingston said...

Wonderful to hear you back at work! You're blog sounds today like the welcome interruption of an old friend or colleague.

cathyj said...

It it is such a pleasure always to read anything you have written. Thanks so much for the blogs.

colfen said...

A delightful read about the art of writing, Louise. Thank you.
Now I have to keep a promise. My delightful sister-in-law, to whom I introduced your works so that we could share the experience, has asked me to say to you that "...[she} loves your books and characters." She also wanted to know why, in "A Brutal Telling" you used both 16 and 17 as important numbers for the cabin[s]. Did she miss something? She was sorry to see Olivier arrested, but, she continues ..."I guess all life is not happy."
Best of luck as you continue to write!

M Hari said...

As long as you are just "a" hermit and not The Hermit, all is well. In the long run, we will all be grateful that you are saying no to social obligations of any kind, and yes to yourself and the story. Can't wait to see who is re-introduced! Thanks for keeping us posted.

darlene said...

Thanks for being so generous with your process. It sounds like it's well in hand (as usual). Smart you to guard your writing time.

I wonder if you outline as you go: outline, draft, outline, draft, or whether you write the story of the murder for yourself and then the story of what happens after that, which will become the book, or if you are drafting with the story only in your mind.

I'm glad it's falling into place so well.

Ann said...

Wonderful questions. Hope to hear from "patented" Lisa answers from you.

Daryl Edelstein said...

No intentional spoilers ... I am hoping the 'sense of what happened' between books brings resolution for Clara/Peter and to Jean-Guy.

Jeanine Cronin said...

God bless Lise (patent pending)!

lil Gluckstern said...

It sounds like you know what you need, and we are the lucky recipients of your decisions. Jamaica really helped you see what you need right now. Love to see your blogs when they show up ;)

Jodi said...

Ooh, I'm so glad you're working on Book 9. I can't wait for A Beautiful Mystery. I'm not sure which part of me enjoys your books more, my brain, or my tummy. :)

One little thing though. "p*tz" is a rather nasty word in Yiddish. I think you meant "futz" (sort of waste time, moving papers from A to B, not really accomplishing anything).

Colombine said...

Bonne rédaction, Louise.

Ces longs de réclusion vous feront renouer avec vos personnages si attachants.

Vous servir de votre maison d'invités : la bonne idée ;-)

Colombine said...

Oups... j'ai oublié le mot "mois" dans mon message précédent.

Anonymous said...

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19981027