Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The shape of SCOTTISH PRISONER

Diana Gabaldon had some interesting comments on Compuserve recently, about the "shape" of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER:
It's a very _balanced_ book, I'd say.  I told my UK editor that it's shaped like a ziggurat, with a double rainbow over it. <g>

Which is to say, Jamie and Lord John each has a complete arc.  The motivations--and hence the arcs--are different, but they support each other.
I always find these descriptions of the "shapes" of Diana's books fascinating.  Some of you may recall that we had an in-depth and very interesting discussion about the caltrop on ECHO's cover on Compuserve about a year before that book came out.

So, what's a ziggurat?  I picture it as looking something like this:



(That's the Ziggurat in Sacramento, California.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Something like a pyramid, only constructed in stages, with each successive layer smaller than the last, like the tiers of a wedding cake.

I like this image a great deal as a metaphor for Jamie and Lord John's friendship, which will have to be rebuilt literally from the ground up in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, after what happened between them in the stable scene near the end of BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.

My first reaction is that a ziggurat is a structure with a solid foundation, built to last for a very long time -- much like John and Jamie's friendship. <g>

It also occurs to me that a ziggurat is not as smooth as a pyramid -- there will no doubt be problems, conflicts, misunderstandings, arguments along the way <g> -- but it's still solid and enduring.

Not sure what to make of the rainbows, yet, except as two separate story arcs, one for Jamie and one for Lord John.

What about the rest of you?  Any thoughts on what this shape might mean?  The discussion on Compuserve is here if you're interested.

2 comments:

Cari said...

"My first reaction is that a ziggurat is a structure with a solid foundation, built to last for a very long time -- much like John and Jamie's friendship. "

I love your observations, Karen (Outlandish or otherwise!) My anticipation for this book just keeps building and building. As you said, things were left on pretty shaky ground at the end of Brotherhood of the Blade, so hopefully in SP we will see how these men became solid, lifelong friends (or at least we'll see a refortification of a foundation that has since crumbled a bit.)

Do you know, has a November release date been confirmed yet?

Lolly S said...

The sooner the better!