Novels Like Swords

Tonight I was frustrated by the pace my revision is progressing. I've gotten a lot of work done in the past 10-12 days, but I still have so much further to go before I'll be in a shape to query/submit to agents, and the amount of work is daunting. I mentioned this to my good friend, Sharon, who is both a prize-winning martial artist and an excellent writer, and she sent me this:

Think about making a sword. The steel has to go through the fire many times to be purified. Then it has to go through again to be shaped, to be honed; then it's sharpened, a handle attached, cleaned and sharpened a final time before being called a sword.

Maybe your novel's like that.

I hope so.


Jeanna Thornton said…
Colleen, I like the sharpening, polishing, firing metaphors...

I think of myself as being *pruned* at this time, taking away self, what others think of me (hierarachy from the past) and down to my territory of writing...what comes from my efforts after everything is processed.

Thanks for the sword...I think I have a poem I wrote somewhere about a sword...must get it out! :)
Terrific metaphor!

Jeanna, I'll happily glom all the credit I can get, but this particular post was Kathryn's. :)
And actually, those amazing words are my friend Sharon's!

What you wrote in your second paragraph, Jeanna, is what I'm working through--carving out a narrative space to fit my voice. It is in some ways a deeply humbling process, and I'm trying to weigh the "what a reader is going to know at this point" yadda yadda with the temptation to fantasize about what people will think of ME as a writer. I'm trying to let go of ego and just work for what's the best for the book. If that makes any sense at all.
jeanna Thornton said…
ha...shame on me, Kath. I knew you were posting but I was looking at Colleen's pic popping up! I am in dream land today...and the writing has been good. (goes together for me)

I have been reading :*the War of Art* by stephen Pressfield. (I love his book: the Legend of Bagger Vance)

He presses that writing outside of *heirarchy* allows the muse to be present...and self to be absent.
Edana said…
Ooh, I just started my brainstorm for my National Novel Writing Month project (I have...a character. Sorta.) and I'm glad that I'm not trying to publish now, because I don't want to go through that yet (not while I'm still in school), but when I'm done and actually trying to publish, I'll remember this, and then read the section about making the sword in The Princess Bride. Because it's way harder to make a sword for a six-fingered man.
Mylène said…
The words we use to frame our lives, our work, our dreams, our goals, matter. It is always, always worth the time to seek or ask for or create a sustaining metaphor or image. There are riches lying all around on the ground for us to pick up. I'm so glad you found this one, Kathryn. Beautiful.
Funny, Jeanna! I've been reading The War of Art, too. I have mixed feelings about the book--much prefer Ralph Keyes' The Writer's Book of Hope: Getting from Frustration to Publication, but a lot of what Pressfield says makes sense. I also love the books Writing Past Dark by Bonnie Friedman and If You Want to Write by Babara Ueland. Both are excellent and make many of the same points Pressfield makes, but a little more deeply.
Oh, and Edana, your "Princess Bride" comment cracked me up! Ha ha ha ha!
Jeanna Thornton said…
Kath...I turn to The Writers Book of Hope once a week...Writing Past Dark every other day...THESE ARE MY FRIENDS!!!

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