A Sort of Phoenix Requiem

Beneath the skies of hueless make,
Through tigery midsummer’s brake,
Wi’ hoofbeats and the thunder-quake,
Through swimming heat, the air a-shake,
Rode down the Hawthorn Moon.
Beneath the skies the dales a-teem
Wi’ horses and the trumpet’s scream;
And on his fell brow an argent gleam:
The Lord of Plenilune.
jennifer freitag

It really is rather alarming how similar my life is to Abigail's. I keep thinking we really were meant to be twins. Of course, if we were twins, we might have both killed each other by now. Or one of us would have killed the other a la Romulus and Remus and the survivor would now be establishing a new world order and trying to conquer Gaul. So I guess you all can be happy that we're five years apart. So anyway, as I was saying, similarities. Abigail just celebrated passing 100,000 words on her historical fiction The White Sail's Shaking, and I just celebrated the long-awaited, extremely grueling, much put-off completion of Adamantine's second draft.

No hyperbole were hurt in the making of this post.

With only a few misgivings still fluttering bat-like about me as I stride victorious out of the veiled gates of Hades, I can say that I have finished that most horrendous of drafts, the monstrous second one, in which all the gnarly bits of thought and jagged plot-points that have fallen into some kind of order have to be hammered more perfectly into place. I went through much the same process with The Shadow Things, though Adamantine, being so much bigger, was a good deal more grueling and required a lot more from me. It took longer, it took more out of me: I had a much bigger world, a much bigger plot, and only a single me to play all three Norns. But boy, was it gratifying, though I know there is still more to go, being able to sit there at the end of the manuscript, having finished the second draft. That weight was gone. I thought I ought to have felt giddy, but instead I just felt...still. I felt as if all the thunder and crash of a battlefield had finally drifted away and a curious woolen silence pressed against my mind. But I was happy. I sent the Furies and the manuscript to my sister-in-law for further perusal for another pass, but for now I've won the breach and held it. Mine own familiar story: we've pulled through the worst and we've got only to get perfectly sound on our feet.

But one thing got up out of the ashes of the fight. It had lain long and quiet and mostly unnoticed in my mind until I chanced across it again as I wrapped up my editing. The Shadow Things, first novel, Lord willing, of many more, was designed with something more in mind, a kind of small portal to a much larger scene. Adamantine, on the other hand, is turning out to be one of two twin doors. For a few minutes my desk chair was a rock on a high place overlooking a quiet, windy dale that had been tawny and was now red. I sat in that woolen silence. Presently I would get up and reassemble my mind to finish up the last few things of Adamantine's campaign, but before I could do that one last horn called in the quiet distance: another story, another long fight, another campaign looming on the horizon.

"There's always someone left to fight."


2 ripostes:

  1. Congratulations! I have yet to even start a second draft, so I can only imagine the sense of accomplishment you must feel. Or relief?

    Anyway, reading this post has kind of inspired me to get back to my writing. I might even take a look at one of those long forgotten first drafts that are hiding in the corners of my Google Docs.

  2. It certainly is a relief, Eyebright. Of course, I don't want it to sound as if I grew tired of Adamantine. It did grow tiring at times, trying to slog through the messy bits and brainstorming for better scenes, but though not every minute of it was lovable, I can honestly say I loved the story. It was a foe well worth tackling. The thrill of writing it has morphed into a relief in having conquered it.

    To quote a quote that was quoted by someone else and subsequently paraphrased, "You never learn to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing." This is probably rather true. And though this is what makes writing a novel so difficult, I think it is what makes writing a novel so fulfilling. It's not the same dull movements over and over. You and your opponent are constantly improvising, always on your toes, trying to anticipate the next wild movement. There is something deeply crazed in the make-up of a writer which, while he may know fully the dangers of entering into combat with a plot (sleep-deprivation, hair loss, agony, anxiety, heart-ache, to name a few) yet he must go on, and on, and on, and something in him rises giddily to the test as if he can not fully live without it. The peaceful lull of plotlessness breeds in us only soul-sickness and discontent. Give us pens to wield and plots to stab, and we are a happy folk.