Sunday, April 25, 2010

Magic Under Glass, Deleted Scene

I don't have much in the way of deleted scenes for Magic Under Glass. But there is one complete scene that was taken out because it didn't really further the plot. It's really just a bit of Nimira's character. This scene would have fit in as the last part of chapter 8, which is a dinner conversation between Nimira and Hollin where she first hears of Smollings' visit.

I slipped out into the summer evening, dearly wishing for the companionable solitude of trees and wind. The sky was a washed-out blue, with the western clouds still brushed golden by the setting sun. I hurried along the edge of the garden, hoping no servant would bid me back inside. When I reached the copse of trees, I kept going. The suggestion of a path cut through a field of grasses. I wondered if humans had made it, and if Hollin and Annalie had once roamed here, or if it was merely a passage for rabbits or some other forest creature.

My shoes squished in shallow puddles of fetid muck. Grasses with spiny, feathery heads dragged at the fabric of my skirt. Little green things stuck to the hem. I knew I should have been dismayed to soil Annalie’s clothes; instead I felt an unreasonable satisfaction that I could do as I liked with them.

A few bats fluttered far above my head, and something trilled in the fields, either insect or frog. The cool wind of night swished through the grass. The sky was darkening fast, but I wasn’t afraid.

I slipped into memories as I walked. I recalled playing in the court gardens with the other children. We all took roles from myths and stories. Most girls chose to be the queens and princesses, but I liked to be the wise mountain dragon who doled out tasks for the boys pretending to be warriors. If they got into trouble, I would sigh and pretend to fly from my mountain—a rock half my height—to bail them out of trouble with my dragon powers.

I wondered if it was possible to forget oneself. If I stayed with Hollin, would I still be the same Nim? I hadn’t practiced dancing in days, and I could easily see this stretching into weeks and years. Here I was, on the doorstep of wealth and privilege. It wasn’t my first desire to be merely a rich man’s wife or mistress, but I had known for a long time that I would never follow my mother. I should have been so happy, and yet, for the first time, I imagined myself as the wife of a farmer, back home in Tiansher, with some delusion of nostalgia.

I would gather at the river to talk to the other women in my native tongue.

I would sit and embroider sashes and slippers for upcoming festivals, with delicious anticipation of their debut.

I would grind spices with mortar and pestle, and stir them in the cooking oil; before long I would bring to the table a dish
of such simplicity, yet such exquisite savory that I would never want for the cold pork and boiled vegetables of Lorinar.

I would have a little daughter to teach the songs and dances.

I would have twelve children like Uncle Sancham’s wife, six of them dead by their first year.

I would wake before everyone to tend to the animals, with the thick smell of dung in my nose, and sleep in my eyes.

I would have leathered hands and face from the sun, and breasts that sagged over my sash from all the children, and I wouldn’t bathe often, because peasants hadn’t the time for such things.

I felt such a selfish wretch. Fate had offered me more choices in seventeen years than most women ever had; how dare I wish for more? I looked at Vestenveld from afar, a stone monolith, and knew my choices were narrowing.

I must grow up. I must make that final choice. But I would not lose Nimira. If only I knew just what Nimira really was.


  1. 0__0 JACKIE!!!! How could you cut that scene?!?!?! That was fantastic! You already had me breathing in deep enjoying the wonderfully tactile descriptions of twilight in the manor's grounds, but the last few paragraphs of Nim imagining the life she might have had had she stayed in Tiansher...!! The poignant images she draws up about the sad, silent lives of the peasant women there with their twelve children (half dead in the first year) and sagging breasts and leathery hands... wow. That is something you really don't expect or see in YA fantasy novels (at least, I don't). I love it. That moment, those thoughts, give me the sense of Nim's culture that I didn't get quite as deeply as I wanted throughout the book (though you did a great job with the Tiansherian-Lorinarian/minority's struggle aspect of her present life in Lorinar--perfect!). But a moment like this that evokes her native land as more than the fairy land-like snatches from the Tiansher's court... that really spoke to me. I dunno, it could be my own background, etc, finding a resonance that not every reader would share or agree with, but I am very impressed by this snippet.

    I also really like that Nim addresses the fact that she is still unsure of who she is here and how she has mixed feelings of pride and distance in regards to her native land. It makes me understand better why she was so willing to throw aside her mother's traditional dancing costume in favor of the Lorinarian gown.

    Well, take my impassioned shrieks with a grain of salt. I do kinda wish you'd left this gorgeous scene in the final cut, but I understand that keeping good pacing sometimes requires sacrifices like this--and I did notice throughout that the pacing in MUG was masterfully tight (especially good in the first half!), so I'm glad you were firm about your edits.

    P.S. Nim's preference for playing the wise, old dragon who'd swoop down to rescue the hapless heroes was SO FRIGGIN CUTE. XD More importantly, it smacked of truth. Another great tidbit of info about our anything-but-typical heroine~~ ^^

  2. Thank you for sharing this deleted scene! I liked the glimpse into Nimira's childhood games at court. Love that she usually chose to play the wise dragon rather than a pampered princess or queen. And I really enjoyed hearing Nim's nostalgic yet realistic view of the day-to-day life of a farmer's wife in Tiansher. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  3. Aw, well, I'm glad you could see it here, anyway! It can be painful to cut these scenes, it's true... I guess the trouble is not much happens in it, and it didn't really fit with the flow of the rest. Well, whatever! I cut it! Maybe in the future I just need to learn to work this stuff in better...

  4. Violet: Thanks! I do love Nimira being the wise It's so her.

  5. I am so glad I was able to catch more of your lovely story. I wish it hadnt been deleted.