Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writing Process

We're at 6200 words right now

So you see (if you're interested) how I'm going about this.

The original passage I'm working from:

"On one side hung a very large oil painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal crosslights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. Such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint of much and earnest contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted. But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber, portentous, black mass of something hovering in the centre of the picture over three blue, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a nameless yeast. A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through.— It’s the Black Sea in a midnight gale.—It’s the unnatural combat of the four primal elements.—It’s a blasted heath.— It’s a Hyperborean winter scene.—It’s the breaking-up of the icebound stream of Time. But at last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in the picture’s midst. That once found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great leviathan himself?"

How it ends up in my version, split in two and now bracketing the conversation in the middle of the chapter:

"Most all the photos were small, and Ridley had to take a step closer to the display to make out what many of them were. But in the middle was one photo much larger than the rest. Oddly, though the image was bigger, Ridley couldn’t decide what the picture depicted, even though he continued to study it. There was no way to understand the scale, as there was nothing of determinable size in the photograph. An enormous, dark, grey shape filled the middle, but it was hard to tell where it began and ended, as both the ground and the sky appeared grey as well. In the foreground were what looked like burn marks, but that part of the picture was all smudgy, as the camera had been focused on the distant object – whatever it was – so the foreground was indistinct and blurred. Ridley peered closer. There were some figures near the large form, but he couldn’t tell what they were. The whole thing could be a photo taken through a microscope of some crap that lives in a drop of water, or it could be birds hovering under a dirigible on a foggy day. Either way, Ridley couldn’t see the connection to the other photos, all of which seemed to be of the locals during the war against the undead. ...

"Pete trundled off to the kitchen with a basket of ingredients. Ridley turned to consider the large photo again. Even though it now had associations of death and violence, summoning up images of people fighting hordes of the undead with shovels and axes, he could almost let go of those thoughts and once again experience the picture as purely indistinct and indefinite, of completely unknown meaning, size, location, or date. As the smell of frying onions and brewing coffee filled his head, he turned from the photograph and stared down at the rough wood of the bar, running his fingertips over the hundreds of initials carved there – some deeply, some just barely discernible – and felt neither good nor bad about this place, but merely at ease."


Blogger Swands said...

That's elegantly written. The flow of words to the first part is so smooth that I forgave having to look at that daunting chunk of text which at first glance seems intimidating, but now I want to read it again.

3:37 PM  
Blogger SheReads said...

Agreed with Swands. All I can say is WOW. I only wish I could write an eighth as good as you.

4:18 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

thanks both of you!

7:34 PM  

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