Monday, October 29, 2012

Rehab a House-Get a Better Novel

My personal deadline (and I guess the publisher's too) to refine my novel and send it in was Halloween.  Last week I realized, what I felt, was a glaring mistake in the first few pages of my overall premise of the story. I had to do some research which turned out to be a bigger deal than I'd anticipated.  Anxiety started to creep in as I struggled with making that leap into what I knew would be a lengthy rewrite in the first chapter.  Finally I realized that I just couldn't do the project justice if I didn't take my time.  My very wise daughter said: "Who said you had to be finished next week.  So what!" A welcome sigh followed.

Then I traveled to another city to work on a house my daughter and her family will be moving into soon.  I stripped wall paper (someone should be arrested for what they did to that wall), taped trim, painted, removed tape, taped again so I could paint the wall, then removed that! Up and down ladders, crawling on the floor, decorating my manicured nails with Ultra Satin paint, came along with helping with a six month old, watching two dogs, several trips to Lowes and I looked like a homeless person who fell in a bucket of paint.  My usual confident stride turned into a Walter Brennen hobble! 

But as I stripped that hideous wallpaper I pondered my novel.  The physical labor was a good lesson on how removing the bad and replacing it with something fresh and up to date could make a scene come alive with not only the action but a kind of realistic acceptance I hoped the reader would experience.  The awful soreness and stiffness I experienced paralleled the pain I'd feel in throwing out the parts of my novel which just didn't work.  And as my throbbing knees and back are better today I know that my novel will also be improved.  

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