Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Weaver at the Loom

Franco-Flemish Tapestry, c. 1500.
On the shield around the stag's neck are the arms of Dayrac of Guyenne and Gascogne,
a lion ( rampant, I think) surrounded by twelve bezants d'or.

A Tapestry is a metaphor often employed to describe both the intricacy of method and the woven result of plot threads in a narrative.

Both the labor and the product, the delicate skill and the finished effect.

Sitting here in the middle of my WIP, I conclude that the method resembles more the braiding of a rug or a string of onions than something old and rare like a tapestry.

(But then, though I embroider very well, I'm not a weaver, with all those lovely, mythic associations.)

Certain themes, central images, and plot lines must form a pattern that needs to be repeated and reinforced in some fashion, by bold reference, or by suggestion and allusion in each major scene to draw the mind-eye of the reader toward your conclusion.

Colours may vary in shade, but the thread, the band of cloth is the eye-road of the reader.

You have to braid tight if you want an enduring product that doesn't fall apart on first read.


kmfrontain said...

Braiding onions. I'm going to be grinning all day. :D

Bernita said...

Hee, Karen!
De-classe, I know,but it did remind me.

Ric said...

Nicely put. Keeping track of all those extra threads produced for complexity is the hard part. (especially when the garden calls, or the trickle of water over the rocks in the river demands my attention). I've heard some folks use note cards to keep track - how does everyone here do it?

Jaye Wells said...

Nice analogy Bernita, although I've never had a talent for braiding, weaving or really anything remotely crafty.

To answer Ric's question, I storyboard using a big posterboard divided into squares (for the chapters). Within each square are color coded post-its, which represent different plot elements. Problem is I end up deviating from that plan about a quarter of the way through the book. It sure looks pretty though.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric.
Extra threads can be tied off, one of the functions of editing and revision, or, as King suggests,noticed and polished.
Think a writer, whether s/he is a plotter or a panster, need to keep his main themes firmly in his hands to make sure they don't dangle and get lost.
I have a notebook with scrawled admonitions to DON'T FORGET to mention.

Ah, Jaye, but you can go back and tweak that thread into the emerging pattern.
But yes, post-it notes are our friends.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I like that works for me! :-)

Sam said...

And then there are all those pesky hanging threads, lol.

Anonymous said...

Braid tight is a key. It is easy to let strings hang.

raine said...

Very nice analogy--lol at the string of onions, have often felt that way.

I have to make notes on the ms as I'm revising...'remember this', or 'refer back to page --'.

Oh, and I like the title of this blog post. ;-D

Bernita said...

Me too, Bonnie.
Not quite as complicated.

Embroidery makes for those, Sam - on the underside.

Needs a firm hand, Steve.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.
I find, if I don't make a note the moment a tie-in, a tightning or an expansion occurs to me, the idea may be lost in the tangle.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for a place to learn how to weave. I've even contemplated building my own loom the way the Vikings did. It's almost like making magic, turning all those little pieces of string into something beautiful and useful.

Bernita said...

Fiber art is fun, Seeley.
Tablet and card weaving would probably be more my style than a great honking loom.
Right now I'm warping and woofing with words.

JLB said...

You folded that one up nicely Bernita. :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, JLB!