Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weaving a novel

My favorite part of editing came upon me yesterday. That moment in working on a novel that the light bulb stops flickering and stays lit. The point where my percolater goes *bing* and the questions I've been pondering are suddenly answered. I want nothing more than to curl up with my laptop and connect all the dots that I've just seen before I forget the knowledge my subconscious has just bestowed upon me.

For me, writing a novel is much like weaving fabric. I start with thread. Some of it is pretty crappy quality but I weave it in anyway because I don't have enough of the good stuff to make the design I see in my head. The thread knots. It breaks a few times, so I tie it back together. Occasionally I even use the wrong color. Hey, I never said my rough drafts were pretty to look at.

Once the fabric is done, I take it off the loom and watch in horror as one side pulls all crooked because I wove that section too tight and another section has huge gaps because I wove it too loosely. I spend weeks pulling out the crappy thread, inserting good thread, and adjusting the weave until it looks uniform. But when I show my cloth to other people, they point at the knots and the spots where the pattern doesn't quite line up. I spend a few more weeks fixing everything until surely it must be just right.

And somewhere in there it hits me--the point where I see that the pattern is much more intricate than I'd first thought. And I know just what to add to create it! Who knows, I might even add a few sequins for a little sparkle. (In this case, they were black sequins--the sparkle was quite dark.)

I've still got a little embellishing to do, but I'm liking what I see. What does your moment when all the threads fall into place feel like?


  1. I dunno, mine's a lot more like the game Plinko. Where it doesn't seem to matter where I start, but once I do, I have to ride it out until the end to see what happens. I drop my disc and it bounces around... sometimes, it starts to look really bad and then all of a sudden, it bounces into place and I celebrate. A lot of times things look like they might be right on-track, until I come to the end and miss that jackpot spot.

    I'm glad you're feeling on a roll, though! :)

    1. Well here's to hoping you hit the jackpot during Script Frenzy. :D

  2. Oh! Where can I get one of those light bulbs? It might shed some light on all the loose threads and plot holes that must still be lurking in my story.

    1. They're hard to find. Aisle twenty-four, bottom shelf, behind the range hood bulbs. They usually only stock one at a time so, you really have to be there at just the right time to get one.


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