The writing swing

Here’s another podcast from the golden voice of Rick Kleffel and our
recent show
at KUSP. Same scary picture, though.


I am, finally, back in the swing of writing. The Language of Bees is now well over 100 pages, and growing at a rate of 2000 words a day, some more and some less.

I have an actual outline for this one, although inevitably every ten pages or so something comes up to render the outline completely inadequate and I have to pause and think about changes. This is not how I normally write. Normally, I set off into the book knowing more or less where I’m headed, but feeling like I’m navigating dark country roads with a compass and dicey headlights. A detailed outline, by comparison, functions as a GPS system to the fictional landscape, nagging at the driver every time she takes a detour (“Recalibrating location,” the voice declares with patient disdain.) My outline for this book, rather, is a nice friendly AAA map, slightly worn at the folds, maybe a little out of date so that some of the roads aren’t listed, but the general sense of things keeps me moving in the right direction, and there’s plenty of room in the margins to pencil in comments as I go.

This does mean I feel on top of the plot, and have a sense that the story is going to hang together even in the first draft. On the other hand, I’m not finding that the characters are springing into life the way they do when the story meanders into backyards and byways as it goes. However, the only major character who comes into the story thus far has only been in Russell’s presence briefly, after which he goes away, to hover unseen in the background. So I think the sense of incompleteness will work itself out as I go along, and as I return to a group dynamic.

It is, I will say, a treat to get back (even fictionally) to England, in the summer. I have had some of the most glorious summers in England, day after day of heat and sun. Some wet and miserable weeks, as well, but we aren’t concerned with those here. In Language of Bees it is August, and it is hot, and it is the countryside.

And mischief is brewing…

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  1. Lauren on February 7, 2008 at 10:04 am

    That you speak of a shift in the way you are writing this novel intrigues me. Was it a conscious effort to make the change, or something that just happened? Writing is a slippery art and the fluidity of technique seems daunting. At least it does to me.

    I am very much looking forward to the publication of this book. Just knowing that it’s coming is exciting.

  2. vicki on February 8, 2008 at 4:05 am


  3. Strawberry Curls on February 8, 2008 at 10:10 am

    You have me dreaming of the fictional summer in England, warm, sunny and the air soft. I was there last August and it was cold, rainy with heavy cloud cover that hid the sum. It did give the beautiful countryside quite the atmosphere, evoking more of a Wuthering Heights feel than a sunny English summer.

  4. LFKeyes on February 8, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    And I thought I was the only one who considered the female voice of the GPS navigator (I have the Gorman) to be annoyed when I took the route I wanted rather than her suggestion . . .

    I am also very much looking forward to the publication of your next Mary Russell Adventure!

  5. Carlina on February 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Delicious! Mischief is always a good mix with Holmes and Russell…well at least I think it is. Perhaps some of the best changes come randomly when writing and your mind wonders? I wonder. That has always been my experience anyway.

    I’ll definitely look forward to read the next H and R installment (being the Holmesian I am). There’s something refreshing about reading a new passage you’ve penned with Holmes examining his beehives. Why are memories from the beginning of LETT coming in my mind….the way we saw Holmes through Russ’ eyes examining that letter. Amazing!

    I hope you family is well and many good wishes!

  6. Indigo Eyebrow on February 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Now you’ve made me very curious to read “The Language of Bees”
    I guess every piece of writing is the result of an alchemy and every time the process is different but works just as fine. Just like sometimes nice friendly AAA maps are a better solution than GPS systems.

  7. Gerlinde on February 11, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Sorry for the lateness of my reply, but had some trouble with registering. I just wanted to say that I hope you have a wonderful journey, get to admire beautiful scenery and meet intriguing travelling companions!
    Part of me wants you meandering all over England, whereas another part would like to see you arrive at your destination via the fastest route possible! 🙂

    Enjoy the creative process!!

  8. EDE on March 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I can’t wait until the new book is finished! After the absence of a new Russell book the last couple of years, I was afraid that I had read the last in the series.

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