Writing with a bulldozer

I had some questions about the seder songs I talked about last week.  My son-in-law’s sister tells me she took them from here and here, so now you’re all set for next year, right?


This week I sent the first draft of the next book to my editor.  The Green Man is nothing near finished, but my editor is one of those old-fashioned editors who likes to work on a book alongside the author, and I am one of those old-fashioned writers who appreciates all the help she can get.  So I give her my early drafts, even though reading at this stage is a bit like trying to drive on a stretch of freeway that has the bulldozer work done and patches of base rock, but no bridges across the chasms or overpasses to connect the parts: the going is rough, but you can at least see where it’s leading.

And that for me is a necessary part of the writing process.  The book is bad and incomplete and frustrating and, well, not a book, really.  But now, particularly with this enforced break of five weeks while I’m first catching up on life, then flying off on tour, I have a chance to let the story bubble away on the back burner.

I’m already noticing things about it that I hadn’t planned—other than its inadequacies, that is.  For example, although I had from the beginning intended it to link closely with The Language of Bees (many of the characters continue into The Green Man) I am only beginning to realize how it is true on a deeper level, how the themes and interests I wove into Language of Bees are central to this book as well—family ties and the ancient gods of Britain being but two.

When I return to the manuscript in May, and read it with fresh eyes, those themes are what I will be looking to improve.  Along with the plot, of course: crime fiction rather requires a plot that makes sense.  And when The Green Man comes out in 2010 and you see how the arcs of the two stories tie together, you’ll think I’m a liar.  You’ll think I knew from the beginning precisely what I was doing.  


  1. Roxanne on April 17, 2009 at 6:32 am

    LANG coming out Any Day Now.

    GREEN the Following Year.

    Can there be anything better?

    I have avoided all Spoilers and ARCs for LANG. Awaiting it with baited breath and heart beating with anticipation.

    Thank you, thank you for the gift of two Russells in a row.

    Hoping to see you in a couple of weeks in NYC.


  2. strawberry curls on April 17, 2009 at 10:07 am

    They (whoever “they” are) postulate that there are no accidents, so if “they” are correct, somewhere in your cerebellum you were planning the connections all along…or not. Perhaps it is just serendipity. Either way your readers are blessed.

    Following your writing process is always so stimulating, informative, fun, and tantalizing, that it really adds to the anticipation of the next book.


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