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Longggg entry about writing and inspiration

Queen of Glass Goldryn
Ok, so adding more "Chaol" scenes in QoG was one of my revision goals...and I've had a lot of fun coming up with new scenes, or adding him into old scenes.

Except yesterday, I became an emotional MESS when I wrote this one scene--that was barely a page long--and totally broke down crying. It wasn't like, frustrated, angry crying, but crying because I hit this raw NERVE and tapped into it for that scene. Before I sound crazy (crazier than normal, I guess), let me explain.

So, in the scene, Chaol is standing at a window, watching Celaena and Dorian walk around in the castle courtyard, and he's having a debate about whether or not he should be down there to guard Dorian. But Chaol can't bring himself to move, mainly because the way he sees Celaena has entered this gray area where he still views her as a criminal, but is also starting to see her as a human being. Which, for Chaol, is a problem, because he has ALWAYS seen the world in black and white, and Celaena just throws a wrench in that.

As he's watching her and Dorian laughing, he remarks that she was seveteen when she was condemned to Endovier (Celaena now being 18), and when HE was seventeen, he was living in comfort and was never cold or starving or whipped. And Chaol realizes--in that one moment of watching Celaena laugh--that she went to Endovier at seventeen and SURVIVED...that she went to Endovier and can still laugh. And, somehow, the fact that she can still laugh is a miracle.

This was when I started bawling. The parallels between Endovier/Calaculla and the Nazi death-camps were totally intentional, but it never really hit me until yesterday just what kind of emotion I was digging into.

My grandmother and great-grandfather are Holocaust survivors, but when I went to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum) in Israel, I finally GOT it--I finally understood what they went through, and how miraculous it was that they survived. My grandmother is ALWAYS laughing--she's one of the most joyous, excited, active people I know. I adore her.

So, when I wrote about Chaol's realization of how miraculous and beautiful it is that Celaena went to a Death Camp at age seventeen and can still laugh, I realized I was, in part, writing about my grandmother. It ripped open something inside of me. Hence, the crying.

Changing Celaena's age has opened up this whole emotional well inside the story--every choice she makes, I think, becomes that much more poignant. Because when you're 22, it's expected for you to make these big choices, and be brave, despite your own terror. But when you're 18, hovering between childhood and adulthood, those choices take on a different shade. It's made me love my book even more.

...This is just one of the many, many crazy things that happen when I write.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 5th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
Emotional Writing
I think that you know that you're on the right track when you yourself evoke such a powerful emotion. Even reading your little sypnopis of the scene brought tears to my eyes.

The more I read about your changes, the more excited I get to read the published version. And I think that you're right--when you're 18 you aren't expected to make big decisions. Some people still consider you to be a child while some expect you to be an adult.

Good luck with the rewrites!

A. Barone (Anjirika from fictionpress)
http://patchworktales.blogspot.com/
sjmaas
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
Re: Emotional Writing
Thank you!!! I'm glad to hear that my entry touched you! :-) Hopefully, when QoG is published, people will be able to point out that scene and be like: "That's when SJM totally cried!"

I just checked out your blog--good luck with the writing/edits!!!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Emotional Writing
Thank you, same to you.

A.Barone
http://patchworktales.blogspot.com/
bitterluv
Feb. 5th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with the anonymous commenter from above, I'm so glad I found your LJ and getting updates about your QofG revisions because back when I read QofG (prolly 2 years ago), I really just read it to get the plot and find out what happens -- but there's SO MUCH MORE I prolly missed and I CAN'T WAIT!

Keep on pouring your heart in the story. It adds just so much more! (=
sjmaas
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
:-) :-) I promise I'll pour my heart/soul/brain into it!!! ...As if I haven't already! ;-)
a_soiled_dove
Feb. 5th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
lol...i thought you were trying to go for the whole holocaust/salt mines thing when i first read it...guess you just worked it out subconsciously...:P
sjmaas
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
lol, I just cracked up when I remembered you telling me about how you thought I made Celaena into Jesus, and pointed out all of these horrifying similarities.

lolol
strangejuliet
Feb. 5th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Chaol is so far my favourite! So I am utterly glad to have more of him.
Good Luck with publishing the story is totally woth it!
(forgive my mistakes I am italian and english is not my mother tongue)
Lene
sjmaas
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, I majorrrly <3 Chaol!!! And thanks for the well-wishes!!

(You're Italian? Wow! That's so cool!)
rurounigirl20
Feb. 6th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
Knowing that there will be more Chaol development makes me excited! He's easily one of my favorite QoG characters.
sjmaas
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Yayyyyyy Chaol!!
seeyouupside
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
My new userpic title for this icon is "it is the books i read that shape me" and for me, it's totally true. I am eager to read QOG with Celaena as an 18 year old versus her undefined mid 20's age. I think her age (and more Chaol- YAYYY!!!) will definitely bring something to new to EoTC and the other books. And you can make her age in the other books. :-) Sorry- I just thought of that! I am really interested to see how this version of QOG shapes me & I wish you all the best.

iloveyou♥
sjmaas
Feb. 6th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Yayyyy!

Thanks!!
star_x_faery
Feb. 6th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
*HUGS*
star_x_faery
Feb. 6th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
btw, that totally gave me chills to read ^^;;
eminish
Feb. 7th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
!!! (: I'm glad you went ahead with the age-change. I've always thought of Celaena as my age (16/17, when I was reading QoG)in my head. I think it does really flow better now, and her thoughts and actions make more logical sense.

I'm looking forward to more Chaol in the book!!! (: WE ADORE HIM! Andandand Dorian (I christened my laptop after him, bytheway =p) and of course Raonn!!!!!!!!

<3
stringless_kite
Feb. 8th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
wow. that's great to see more of chaol. and the thing that i love about how you write..is that you get into the characters and really think 'what would they do' and how they would feel.

i can't wait to see this on print ;P
amaurosthoughts
Feb. 8th, 2009 08:56 am (UTC)
So you're crazy for bawling after writing the scene?

I cried just reading your entry. The more I hear the more excited I am to read QoG (yet again ^.^)

The YA throws me off a bit, but I LOVE your writing so you cant really go wrong.

Oh, and I LOVE Chaol. LOVE him. He's a great character.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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I'm Sarah J. Maas, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Heir of Fire, Book 3, will be out in September 2014). The Assassin's Blade, a bind-up of all five TOG novellas is now available!

I'm represented by the awesome and lovely Tamar Rydzinski of The Laura Dail Literary Agency. Starting in Spring 2015 - my New Adult Fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, will be published by Bloomsbury as well! Hooray!










For more information about me and my books, please visit my (very rarely updated) website: http://sarahjmaas.com/

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