“There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against grizzlies.” – Neil Gaiman on reading Gene Wolfe’s work.
my novel in progress is progressing, sometimes at a good rate, sometimes slowly. this particular first draft is interesting as i’m finally accepting that i’m a ‘discovery’ writer and not knowing what is going to happen is the key to keeping me motivated. i write to find out what happens next. (long hand, yellow legal pads, sharp pencil, btw)
second draft occurs when i transcribe the thing. as i type i edit, changing dialog, tweaking turns of phrase, embellishing to make things more cohesive, more descriptive, just ‘more better’, as it were.
that’s when the skeleton wolf, the one that is tentative and a bit timid as i find my way through the narrative, gets to finally roam free, growing flesh and sinew and blood and becoming whole, revealing the power and flow within its potential. and possibly ripping my throat out in the process.
i know a lot of other writers detest the editing process, they fly, wings spread wide in the first draft, which is great if you can pull it off. for me, the poetry has to have a form to hang its skin on. story shapeshifting, in my world, is a bloody, messy process and without those bones to build on, it would all turn to dead meat on a slab instead of a living, breathing thing.
so right now, my wolf is docile as a puppy, sniffing my hand when i offer it, following along as we wander the paths of narrative. but he’s growing fast, and before i know it i’ll have to start watching out as the playful nips turn into serious bites.
i just can’t wait until his big boy teeth grow in.