Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Clawing through

I am writing the climax to Silksinger. Deep breath. It's a big, juicy, thrumming, scary, heart-wrenching, revelatory scene, maybe the "biggest" I've ever written, and tackling it is. . . scary. I have all these ideas, and I have this vision of how awesome it can be, and it's kind of terrifying. I had this thought yesterday as I made my way slowly through it, that I felt like I was gouging my way through. And that's kind of appropriate since the whole thing takes place in caves that were long ago gouged out of the mountain by dragon claws. I think I need to borrow some dragon claws to get this done! (Those above are komodo dragon claws, by the way.)

I wrote in Not For Robots about how the "exploratory draft" is like bushwhacking through a jungle. That metaphor is feeling more true to me now than ever. The first time through a big scene like this, it feels like big, slashing, ugly, hacking cuts through dense matter, and I long to be done with this stage and on to the next. But without this stage, there is never a next. It must be done.

So, mixed metaphors and all that, but they have something in common -- gouging, bushwhacking -- it's the task of penetrating some dense, unyeilding substance. Rock. Jungle. A scene. It's work. For us perfectionists, this can be so unpleasant. So hard. To subdue the persnickity old maiden aunts that dwell in our minds wanting everything to be laid out just so, for our scenes to be born full-grown, like Athena from the head of Zeus! Well, bonk those persnickity old biddies on the noggin! Ehh. I shouldn't even be writing this right now. I should be writing, you know, that. What am I doing here, I ask you? Quivering in fear? Covering my eyes and saying, "If I can't see you, you can't see me?" Kind of. But now I will get back to my gouging and my machete.

The dragon says:
Interestingly, it occurs to me this is not the first time I have used komodo dragon threats on myself. That's kind of weird!


tiny noises said...

i heart your determination and your metaphors! and i heart your komodo dragons and all your mixtures in nature. so fun!

you sure seem to get a lot done in a day--from blogging to writing another book (can't wait) to creating Laini's Ladies. I stand in awe of you today. just thought you should know.


Alex S said...

Everyone here needs to know that Laini Taylor forgot all about my half birthday today. Isn't that awful??? I know, it really is. I hope that komodo dragon comes in the house and eats up all the polka dots off the studio ceiling. I know you've been writing Silksinger but really, what ultimately is more important to you?



my half birthday?

This is a travesty of friendship. I'll see you at my personalized Thanksgiving Table of Fire dinner shortly. Prepare a written apology for youself. (I am in a state of total appallment right now.)

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha

I came into comment on komodoro and how awesome you are but got totally distracted by Alexandra-- she's a riot.


Anonymous said...

Revere your inner perfectionist. I just finished reading Blackbringer (late among those that post, I am sure) and I have recommended your book to anyone who will listen to me drone on about how great your book is. It is powerful and evocative and imaginative. You have a gift for language and your efforts (pain, discomfort) are evident in the joy it is to read such terrific writing.

Amber Lough said...

I am going to copy that komodo picture that says "write, or I will eat you" and paste is as the background for my computer. Is that ok? I am writing the last few scenes BEFORE the climax--I don't even know what the climax will be! (Certainly can't be as exciting as dragon tunnels. I envy you and your genre at the moment. Mine has taken a turn...I am a little bored.)

Oh, I am just about done with Cloud Atlas. You were right-it's fantastic. However, it now takes a bit more to wake up in the morning and go on with my day as if my writer self-confidence hasn't been beaten to a pulp. I am in awe with this guy's writing ability. (Book is in the other room, and I've forgotten his name! *gasp*)

Now, back to my story...

Disco Mermaids said...

Thrumming. I've gotta say, I love that word. Thrumming.

Can you use it more often?

- Jay

(And good luck with the finale!)

Anonymous said...

How exciting! Though the komodo dragon threat seems a little excessively scary - I'm sure your ending will be awesome though, and there will be no need of komodo dragons, and that no author will be harmed in the making of the novel.
Have a happy Thanksgiving to you Laini - and Jim and Alexandra, too, of course - though I miss her blog posts, reading her comments here are almost as much fun!

Marianne said...

I think Alexandra's readers just come here now. Of course first we come here for your posts Laini, then we read for Alexandra's comments. Then we try to think of something remotely witty to say.

Then we remember wit is not our forte, earnestness is...

So, she says earnestly, please do go and write because I am holding my breath for the next installment in Magpie's story. She is, after all, a very special alter ego of mine and I'm trying to decide on the next installment of my own story.

Does she settle in a wee cottage in Wellington with a pile of books and a bottomless fount of soy-lattes and live happily ever after, by any chance?

TheShoeStar said...

Well Happy Thanksgiving!
I finished your book today and I must say it was the best. I so enjoyed your wonderfully detailed writing it put the most wonderful scenes in my mind. I write & draw as well. I so understand about how you describe not being robotic. About being a perfectionist when writing to get just the right words down to image the scenes and feelings. Without that your book wouldn't have been as wonderful to read and I am happy you are so. So, as thirsty as I am for Silksinger to be released. I'll say this - take the time you need that way I know it will be just magical! Reading Blackbringer, I literally couldn't stop turning the pages, reading hours at a time. It was a nail biting, magical, page turner. Also it was a wonderful story I will read again & again.
Thank you!
Of: Stargazer's Chat & Forums!
at: www.stargazerschat.com
PS-I want to start a thread in my Book club section, of my forums about your book. I'm excited to tell my many members about it!