First Draft to Proof: The Language of Bees (1)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to post what you can regard either as terrible teasers, or as lessons in the writing process, depending on how desperate you are for the book. These are the actual ms pages of The Language of Bees, the original sheets that came out of my printer, with scribbles. Tomorrow I’ll post the actual proof page of the definitive first draft, so you can play Spot the Errors, or just shake your heads at how terrible Laurie’s first draft is.




  1. Laidee Marjorie on February 5, 2009 at 11:03 am


    What a treat to see this. It gives the rest of us who write (or try to!) a wonderful look into your process and serves as a reminder of how you have to get “it” down on the page and then you can play with it and grow it.

    My favorite bit is your handwritten “Home. At last.” in the upper left hand corner. Indeed they are. And so are all of your readers as they get to come back to the world of Russell and Holmes (in a very short time after a wait of two years).

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us.


  2. Megan on February 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    It’s lovely to see your writing process, but I am most firmly in the “I want a sneak peek!” camp. I read to the bottom of the page, and am now hanging on your (or, rather, Holmes’) half-finished sentence. This is both fantastic and torturous.

    Mostly fantastic.

  3. Nikki on February 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm


  4. Ruth on February 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    This is an absolutely fascinating and enjoyable form of torture. I can’t wait to read more!

  5. Meredith T on February 5, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Respectable (?) middle-aged lady sitting quietly at her desk, flipping out. Omilordamercy. wooohooo!!! How on earth am I going to wait until May?? p.s. The rewrites are definitely interesting. On my computer screen, hard to read. very best//Meredith

  6. Bachi on February 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    You have succeeded to pit the “I prefer to be surprised’ me against the ‘need to know’ me and I’m not sure who is going to win. Today it was the need to know me!

  7. Meags2387 on February 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Even just reading what might be called “the boring part” by some (not by me I assure you) I am getting excited about the book. *laments* of the tragedy of having to wait till the end of April for the entire thing. At least we’ll get little peeks in the meantime. 🙂

  8. classics_fiend on February 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Lamenting that what!!!!

    It’s absolutely wonderful to back in Engalnd after so long abroad. . .

    Not having discovered the series until recently, I haven’t experienced the excruciating excitment of waiting for the newest Russell novel. I’m dying with anticipation!

    When’s the next sneak peek coming?

  9. Sara on February 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! Sneak peaks always have that borderline feeling of ‘I-shouldn’t-be-doing-this-but-it-is-so-hard-to-resist meets I-NEED-TO-KNOW-NOW meets the book-nerd in me. But we’re human so we read it.

    I like the combination of the hand that wrote it on a keyboard and the hand that marks the page. It’s like composition sketches of final paintings- cartoons, they are called- and shows that fast and furious process meeting that slow, painstaking execution of the finished work. Creativity meets mastery? Raw idea meets refinery?

  10. Laura on February 5, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you so much for this treat! It’s fascinating for me to see the progress of a novel, especially because I don’t have the talent for writing…

  11. Carey on February 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    That is so cool, how fun to get a peek at the process! Reading the first page whet my appetite for the book, can’t wait to read it…

  12. Canzonett on February 6, 2009 at 4:36 am

    I love that first page of text with its strange mixture of printed letters and handwritten scribbles. To watch a text develop and mature is a very special privilege – it gives you a sense for a dimension that so often tends to be overlooked and underestimated when you hold the shiny printed publication in your hands. It’s truly a miracle to witness this process!

  13. Lizanne on February 6, 2009 at 9:18 am

    This hurts so good. I originally decided not to read it and then went back because I could not resist. Reading your scribblings in the margin is fascinating, and of course the story itself is a treat. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    April seems years away.

  14. April on February 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Oh, please keep this up after you release the novel to the public! I want to read your teasers, am so grateful you have permitted your readers to glimpse something of your process, but I can not, simply can not bring myself to read a word until that book with its fresh ink is in my hands, and the words flow. Then, I want to come back here and take all this in. Thank you for offering this up. It is just too much candy in my grubby hands.

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