'Moby-Dick' -- How'd the book get so big?

'Moby-Dick' -- How'd the book get so big?
. Source: Reusableart.com

When he was writing Chapter 63 of "Moby-Dick," out of 135 chapters, Herman Melville must have had a bad time. Either that, or he didn't want readers to grow faint. Chapter 63 begins:

"Out of the trunk, the branches grow; out of them, the twigs. So, in productive subjects, grow the chapters."

So they do, even when the chapter has only two pages, as Chapter 63 does.

Details are building up as the story continues, and I'm learning to read it the way I read detective stories. Chapter 63 confirms that I'm on the right track:

"All these particulars are faithfully narrated here, as they will not fail to elucidate several most important, however intricate passages, in scenes hereafter to be painted."

The early chapters are full of clues, and the plot continues to grow.

Watch this space.

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.

Type your e-mail address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam-free, and you can opt out at any time.

Filed under: Writing

Tags: Moby-Dick


Leave a comment
  • Yes! "Grow the chapters." This is helpful and inspiring.
    Thanks for a great post.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you very much. I like that line, too. I just hope not to be bogged down thinking about whether something is among Melville's "productive subjects."

Leave a comment