Diana Gabaldon talks about the shape of BEES
As some of you may know, Diana Gabaldon says all of her books have a "shape" to them.
All my books have an internal geometric shape that emerges in the course of the work, and once I’ve seen it, the writing goes much faster. I may have no idea exactly what happens, what’s said, etc.--but I do know approximately what the missing pieces look like (e.g., I need a scene here that involves these three people, and it has a sense of rising tension and a conclusion that will lead into that scene over there …).If you have access to the OC Volume 1 (Revised and Expanded Edition) or the OUTLANDER 20th Anniversary Edition, you can read the full explanation in an essay called "The Shape of Things". If not, you can read a version of it that Diana posted on her blog in 2008.
These internal shapes are normally invisible to the reader--who isn’t looking for them in the first place--but if pointed out, the reader can certainly see them.
(From THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume 1 (Revised and Expanded), Copyright© 2015 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Naturally, as Book 9, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, gets closer and closer to completion, many fans are curious about what the shape of BEES will turn out to be. For some time now, Diana has described it as a honeycomb, a six-sided structure, because there will be six major storylines.
Well, today she said something completely new and unexpected on Twitter, when someone asked about the shape of BEES.
it's shaped like a snake. https://t.co/OdkfGFMGOz— Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG) August 22, 2019
A snake?? My first reaction on reading that was, "What an intriguing image!" And it is. But then someone asked about it on TheLitForum.com (formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community), the online forum where Diana hangs out.
Diana made the following comment:
"Honeycomb" refers to the six main characters (or pairs) whose stories we're following through the book; the internal, cellular structure, if you will. "Snake" is the overall shape of the book. It glides, it coils, it slithers, it climbs (and then drops out of a tree on you), it turns back on itself at the same time it goes forward, it has occasional bulges where it's swallowed something large...and it has fangs.I love this description on so many levels, but that "it has fangs" strikes me as a warning to all of us, in much the same way that the painfully sharp spikes on the caltrop on ECHO's cover (representing its shape) were a warning, of sorts, to her readers. Snakes are dangerous and unpredictable and sometimes deadly, and I think we'd all do well to keep that in mind. <g>
This description of the shape of BEES is making me really excited about this book! It sounds like it's going to be a very entertaining and suspenseful roller-coaster ride, with plenty of twists and turns -- but watch out for the snakes!
If you'd like to join in the discussion on TheLitForum, you can find it here. You have to sign up to read or post on the forum, but it's free.