The Spinner’s Burden

I have a close relative who loves to spin wool.

The process of choosing the material that will produce the best thread combines both art and science.

None of this is visible to those who wear the final product.

I think of her sometimes when I am writing an outline for a story.

When we discuss stories, we often focus on how the threads that form plot and character and setting mesh together to form the final product.

Less often, unless it is a very thorough dissection, do we examine the threads themselves.

We talk of stereotypes and ridiculous plot points and unbelievable locations but I think it is harder to sink down to the root of many of these problems.

Sometimes the threads themselves are such poor quality that nothing of value can be created from their weaving.

Sometimes the threads come from material that is weakened or damaged, that will never support a strong, consistent weave.

In many ways, I am not a natural plotter.

When I have a beautiful idea, I want nothing more than to giddily dive in and flesh it out, to share it at once in as many ways as possible.

I learned though, that if I did not strengthen my material before I began, create a steady base from which to pull my threads, that there would be weak points, points of damage and disruption.

This is not true for all writers or even all weavers, but I hated the moment where my threads revealed their weak points.

Weak points that became obvious when I looked them over before I began.

I choose my threads carefully now.

Sometimes even the best threads will have hidden weaknesses that could not be avoided.

But as I stare at the bindings I create, I can see the strength in that hidden study of material.

In the invisible moment of choice before the weaving begins.


 Before the weaving comes the spinning

I’ve been thinking about plotting and planning again and the commonality that so many crafts share at their core.

For the weave of my own fabric, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here.



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