Birthing books

I just had a comment from Pen saying it sounded like I didn’t enjoy writing the new Martinelli book at all. What’s not to like? Working eleven hour days trying to make sure all the plot lines follow through, all the suspects are followed beginning to end, each clue is dealt with, every cited fact re-checked, that I haven’t accidentally given a character some name like Richard Head or called three of them John, Jim, and Jinny, made sure that it’s not raining on one page and sunny on the next (not without mentioning northern California’s caprecious weather), checked…

You get the idea. So I get to five o’clock and can’t remember how to steam a package of grated carrots, or sit for the first twenty minutes of dinner grunting at my family until that part of my brain begins to turn and the Rewrite God goes back to sleep (Who made you God? The book did.) Living the fictional dream is nothing compared to wading through dream plots/grammar/dialogue/you name it all day.

Someone who had never birthed a child might think the proper analogy would be the final stages of giving birth, but not so. Generally speaking, birth is a process that takes over, so that the woman’s main job is not getting in the way of her muscles. A rewrite is the exact opposite, everything dependent on not letting up for a moment, not turning anything over to muscles: it’s all will.

Some things are the same. The loud noises and cursing and basic unpleasantness of being around the person doing the thing, yep. The enormous self-involvement and obnoxiousness and untidiness, oh yeah. The relief and euphoria when the thing’s finally out, check.

So, I’m in transition now, which will mean something to you if you’ve been there at a birth, and I’m not the easiest person to be around. Even the cat got tired of having me jump up a dozen times an hour to hunt down some fact and has taken to sleeping out his days elsewhere.

My family is not given the same option.

This is why writers thank family in their books. For putting up with them.

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  1. Chris on August 15, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    LOL! My sympathy.

    Is there a Martinelli title yet? Or does that question make you go Grrrrggghhh!

  2. Anonymous on August 15, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    I seem to recall that there was to be some tie-in with the Russell/Holmes SF visit and Martinelli: is the Italian restaurant that Holmes went to several times going to turn out to be owned by Kate’s grandfather? Or g-grand?

    Guess you can’t give away the details.

  3. FeltHat on August 15, 2005 at 5:21 pm

    Wow – in which case i feel even more priviledged to have had a note from you last week by snail mail.
    Can’t hear the cursing on this side of the Atlantic. Will look forward all the more to the Martinelli knowing what pains you are suffering on our behalf.
    L Bradbrook AKA FeltHat

  4. FeltHat on August 15, 2005 at 5:28 pm

    I’m not sure this is working for me today… I’m having a run of bad luck with technology….

  5. Anonymous on August 15, 2005 at 6:04 pm

    Wow great to know you are a cat lover. Though I was still wondering does Mary Russell speak Yiddish?

  6. WDI on August 15, 2005 at 6:42 pm

    So if you’re in transition, does that mean you will snarl at even those who just want to tell you what a great job you’re doing, and to keep it up ’cause you’re doing just fine? 🙂 (Thankfully, I skipped that stage and managed not to snarl at anyone . . .)

    Anyway, thanks in advance for the work you put into this, and indeed all, your books. It shows in each and every one of them. I can’t wait to see what you birth this time!

  7. Rick on August 16, 2005 at 3:43 pm

    As an unpublished author revising my second novel, it’s nice to know I’m not alone muttering in the dark, cutting thigh-high grass in 98 degree heat for relief, and eating unidentified frozen food from the freezer, as I struggle to sharpen my antagonist’s self-righteous motivation to kill my protagonist, Bill. (Or was it Will? I have to check.)

  8. Anonymous on August 16, 2005 at 4:27 pm

    Well, this is my first blog message ever, I feel sort of strange. Just a note to say, your books are an endless source of interest and enjoyment. My mother and I read and re-read them, discuss them, adore them all. We wait with baited breath for the next one. Thanks and keep up the difficult work! We readers appreciate, (frankly, we need!) it!

  9. Cornelia on August 16, 2005 at 9:23 pm

    Oh my God. I just read that Fr’c3’a8re Roger Schutz, founder of the Communaut’c3’a9 of Taiz’c3’a9, has been killed tonight.

  10. Jan on August 16, 2005 at 11:39 pm

    Oooh…yes, please keep working on that new Martinelli…

    btw…check out Murder One bookstore on Charing Cross Rd….Sherlock is in window along with of your books..

  11. Pen on August 17, 2005 at 6:55 am

    Oh dear! Was it something I said?
    I take the point, especially as a woman who’s given birth three times.

  12. Chris on August 17, 2005 at 10:48 am

    Laurie, the two bookplates arrived here in Edinburgh yesterday – thank you so much for these. They are much appreciated!

    I hope you do get to Edinburgh again (can you be tempted next month if you are in the UK?) and I have pleaded with Ottakars to have A&B arrange a tour! Come and do the Book Festival with Val McDermid next year…

    All the best

  13. 2maple on August 17, 2005 at 2:29 pm

    …I’d hate to think of what would happen if after working all day (to me and to my family) if I had to switch it off as I walked across the room to now be mom…the drive home (to think about anything or nothing or listen to music or a book on tape) is the decompression I need to switch gears or I’d be suffering from a mental case of the bends.

    You sound like me when I’m wrapping up a big project, 2 million details to check and the next one coming along starts to look sooo much more interesting.

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