Friday, 3 February 2012

So I've Built a House...

It’s February now, which means Project 2012 is moving from the read through to focussing on the big picture. This means looking at scenes, characters, and the entire story as a whole.

It’s like I’ve built a house. The house is okay. It’s liveable. But it’s just okay. It’s not perfect, not even near it. It’s not a great house. Just “all right, I guess…*”. To make the house the best house in the world, it’s going to need a lot of work. A massive renovation job. Mostly little things, like making a bedroom a bit bigger, adding a spa and a swimming pool. Maybe putting some bigger windows in to take advantages of the view. But then there’s some big things. Like tearing out entire walls. And I’m scared to knock out the walls, because what if the house falls down? Suddenly I’d have gone from having an okay house to a pile of rubble.

This is how I’m feeling with my manuscript. It’s okay. It’s “all right, I guess…*”. But it needs to be the best book in the world (or at least the best book I’ve ever written). This means a lot of work. Character arcs redone, characters fleshed out, chapters rewritten. Deep down inside I also know there’s bigger issues which need to be addressed. But it’s like I’m blinded to them. I’m purposely not seeing them.

With my house, it’s like I’m keeping away from one end of the building so that I don’t look at that wall that looks like it’s about to fall down. Because if I don’t see the wall, then I can’t be sure that it’s about to fall over, which means I don’t have to tear it out and risk end up being crushed by debris.

But I know I’m going to have to force myself to eventually inspect that wall. Sooner or later someone else is going to see that wall and wonder why it’s going to collapse and kill the neighbour’s cat.

Likewise, I have to address the bigger issues of EXCALIBUR before someone else spots them. Which is hard, yanno? Because I feel that if I play around with the structure too much, I’m going to end up with 80,000 words. Not a story, just 80,000 individual words. That’s scary.

So, yeah, that’s how I’m feeling right now. I’ll be able to address the bigger issues, but it’s going to be hard to face it. For the comments: Have you ever had to do anything like this? How did you go? Was it hard, or pretty simple once you got started? Let me know!

* Said in a really non-committal tone.


  1. When you first started this analogy, I took it a bit further—the 'house' needs to be a great house in order to sell it for the amount of labor, supplies, and time(time is money, after all!) it took to build it and still make at least a little profit. It all comes together! =D

    And I know what you mean about being blinded to them. So many times I've left something b/c it's okay, and I think if I pretty it up a bit(cover that big crack in the wall with some plaster, to continue the analogy, lol), people won't notice. Well…they do. And I always have to fix it eventually, so I don't know why I ever put it off to start with. Just lazy? I'm pretty sure that's it for me, lol. It's a constant growing process, to keep working at it and learning to do it right first, to save myself more trouble later. The old adage, 'If you don't have time to do it right, you must have time to do it over' is quite applicable. =)

  2. Great analogy. ^^ Tear down that wall! Once you do, your house will be better for it. I've never had this issue...or I am having it. Let me rephrase: I've never yet addressed this issue. But I hope that when I do finally do so, I hope I can just pick up the metaphorical sledge hammer and give that wall a good wacking! Because it needs it, but mostly because sledge hammers are fun.