Diagramming Babel (Part 11)

(Originally Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007)

Diagram 11. Somehow, I’ve managed to get some of the diagrams out of order. This one predates the sections on the train through Faerie Minor and those in Babel. It’s for the section I excerpted and rewrote as “The Word That Sings the Scythe.” No matter. From left-top to right bottom, it reads:

WILL

sleep

piss

ESME

HONEST TOM

Problem

sleep

CENTAURS

A: Past
B: Future

NIGHT PASSAGE

WAR

piss

sleep

ARMY

Annotations:

For obvious reasons, I think of the time/space this diagram covers as “three sleeps and two pisses.” Normally an author politely averts his eyes when a character takes a leak (with the notable exceptions of Jonathan Swift and James Joyce) but there were plot reasons for each here. Also, I was divvying up the action by physical needs in order to keep it realistic.

Honest Tom was the place-holding name for the lubin who eventually became Saligos de Gralloch. Honest Tom was absolutely wrong for the character – I suspect it’s one of Nat Whilk’s many noms de scenes, actually – but I didn’t want to stop writing until I found the right name. Things were going slowly enough as it was.

This section of the novel was divided into three separate movements: Problem, War, and Army. The “Night Passage” is the section where Will and Esme are traveling across the war zone at night with a small company of lady centaurs. Which is easily my favorite sequence. There’s not a lot of the action of this novel that I’d like to live through. But I’d make an exception for this.

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