Friday, July 16, 2010

Unbraiding and braiding

After some incisive comments on my latest draft, I'm going to try something I've never done before: untangling -- no, make that unbraiding -- a few of the plot strands that really carry the story, pulling them out, and rebraiding them into a cohesive whole: a standalone story.

The other strands I will rebraid as well, so the events and choices, characters and their growth, all continue mostly as they stand now, but with some more context and detail. The story, I think, will become richer. More powerful. More moving.

Which, after all, is what ever writer (or most writers, at least), hope their stories to be.

Keep in mind these "strands" aren't the consistent, smooth, and abosolutely clean lines of 1x19 stainless steel (316 if you please) cable you use to hold up a mast.

No, I picture an aged seaman in a fire-lit pub; smoke-darkened ceiling beams and a plank floor dented by the heels of ten thousand seaboots. Our old sailor sits on his three-legged stool by the fire, hunching his shoulders against the draft that sweeps the smell of a snowy gale through the crack under the oak-timbered door.

In his lap his calloused and immensely powerful hands move ceaselessly, picking at a hairy coil of rope as thick as his thumb. The rope might be as old as he is, prickled with stray strands, stained with tar or bleached by sun and salt air.

He teases a strand open, un-splices a loop, smacks the line across his narrow thigh and palm-rolls the round shape back into it. Pauses for a drink or three. Returns to his ropework, picking and fiddling and reshaping.


1 comment:

Babs said...

How about continuing with the story about the old sailor. It sounded interesting.