Weaving the Novel

I compared writing my novel to weaving a tapestry today. I was talking to myself as I walked and thought about the writing day ahead.

Then I laughed at myself.

Weaving as a way to describe novel writing can be apt, but it’s very limited. I don’t weave, so I’m not certain of its process. I always refer back to a meager elementary school introduction. Watching a weaving demonstration somewhere during a field trip, I recall shedding, picking, and battening, and the loom and the shuttle. I also remember being told about the warp and the weft.

(The Loom and the Shuttle could be a good pub name. I can imagine myself saying, “I’m going down to The Loom and the Shuttle for a pint. See you later.”)

(That also gives rise to the notion of drunken weaving.)

My vague youthful memories are not enough to go on. Thinking about weaving, I imagine the fates doing some spinning to create our existence and fates. I don’t know much about them, either. I’m seriously short of knowledge for this post.

Which is really the point. I claim, I’m weaving the tale because I go back and forth across the novel, adding, changing and deleting events, characters, and explanation. That’s what draws me to this comparison. Starting with small threads, I’m combining them into the fabric of a story.

These current chapters embrace that impression. “Bells,” “Destruction,” “Aftermath,” and “Change” are the chapters’ working titles. They might be the final titles. When I’m weaving new parts in the latest chapter, “Change,” I often go back to the three previous chapters and address details to maintain congruency. Although enjoyable, because it is fiction, which is terrific fun, it’s not my normal methodology. Normally, I pour some coffee into my mouth, address the keyboard, and start typing. I call this splash writing. It’s my favorite motif. I type like mad for a while, spinning out paragraph, scenes, dialogue, and chapters. Stopping, I go back and edit, refine, and polish the stuff.

BTW, when I address the keyboard, I’m like a rock star on a stage in an arena. “Are you ready to rock and write?” I shout at my keyboard. I do this in my head. I may be wrong, but I think that shouting that in the coffee shop may cause some untoward reactions. It’s a quiet place, the sort of silence you don’t want to interrupt with a fart, leave off a shout.

Having written all these words about weaving these chapters, I feel my inner earth trembling. A splash scene is building within. It’s ready to explode onto the pages. (This, unfortunately, reminds me of a tale my wife related to me about a juvenile male whale masturbating against the aquarium glass while elementary school children watched. I haven’t vetted the story, but that doesn’t stop it from being memorable.)

Okay, time to weave like crazy, write like made, splash on the page. Whatever.

Time to write.

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2 thoughts on “Weaving the Novel

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  1. I HAVE done both weaving (true to my middle name 🙂 ) and fiction writing, and I can’t quite pin down the metaphor, either. Is the warp the setting, or is it the events of the story? If the warp is the events (plot), the weft must be the characters, but what if it isn’t? Are we using a Jacquard loom with a complex set of cards for the pattern (fun fact: the Jacquard loom is usually considered an ancestor of the modern computer because it is “programed” with cards like an old punch-card computer… and I just barely avoided a tangent about cards and a computer — excuse me, that’s “an ideally synthesized being.”) Is mixing tropes from different genres akin to using yarn/thread in which each ply is made of a different fiber? What elements of the story are better done as a “worsted” or “mercerized” thread, and which are better left less tightly twisted or with a few short fibers sticking out here and there to make it look especially “homespun”? What kind of loom: inkle, backstrap, or warp-weighted? Something REALLY simple, like a piece of cardboard with short slots cut along opposite edges to secure the warp threads? (My first tapestry ever was done on such a loom, as was that hideous blue-and-orange thing I made when I was seventeen. How appropriate, since some of my early fiction was also hideous and blue-and-orange, metaphorically speaking.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I laughed reading your comment. I’d started down this path while writing the post, and then backed it all out for many of the reasons you cite, without as much detail. And the tangent about the punch-cards…totally there. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

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