Writing the Novel: An Extended Nautical Metaphor
It may only be the third week in January, but already I’m feeling well into the swing of the year. This includes beavering away on Daughter of Blood, The Wall of Night Book Three and I can safely say that I am very deep into the story now—and not unlike Colombus crossing the Atlantic, although I have not yet made landfall (i.e. the end!), or even sighted land, I have begun to see the signs that land is indeed there, lying just beyond the line of the horizon.
And since it’s Tuesday (which from next week, 29 January, will be back to being Tuesday Poem day again—huzzah!), I will confirm that the last alludes to lines from a poem—by which I mean, one of my poems —called Ti. The lines are:
“…always looking ever longing for land
lying over the next line of horizon”
The image is very apposite, I find, to writing a book, where as the author you spend a great deal of time out in the vasty deeps of the great ocean of story, and although your charts may tell you that land does indeed lie ahead, and you may be steering by the beacon provided by your pilot star, it can nonetheless be a very long time indeed before you actually sight land:
“the darker smudge of blue
lifting to green above the deep swell.”
So to conclude my extended metaphor, dear readers, the salt-encrusted (if not, I hope, too ancient!) mariner that is your author has caught the first evidence that the pilot star is constant, the charts do not prevaricate, and that landfall does indeed lie ahead—the evidence may only be the equivalent of a tree borne out to sea and a flock of land-based birds fleeting overhead, but nonetheless, they are signs that are sure. So like Kiwa crossing Te Moananui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) as referenced in Ti, or Colombus in 1492, I too take heart.
Oh yes, and if you wish to read the poem in full, just click here, on Ti .