Monday, 2 September 2013

Writing a Book is Like Building a Fence

Weird title.  I know.  But because recently I finished the second draft of my novel, and I ALSO just finished building a fence, I couldn't help but notice a few similarities between the two!   Yeah, yeah - I have an odd way of correlating random things - I know...

Firstly, the words and characters in my story lay in a jumbled heap in the centre of my tiny brain - not unlike the pile of wood delivered to my driveway.  The letters of said words begged to be woven into a tale that thrilled and enticed the reader - but it required thought, time and energy to make that happen.  There were no shortcuts or quick fixes...just ideas that had to be laid out in a specific way that made sense. A dose of patience and advice from friends and family who read my scribing came in handy, because it is difficult to be truly objective with your own work.

The fence also required some planning and measuring...and hard, sweaty work!  Luckily for us we have friends and family that are really handy and smart and awesome and reliable and freakin' cool (okay - going overboard - but they did a lot!!) so it made the task easier to accomplish!  While hubby and I knew what we wanted, we also are smart enough to know we needed serious help.   

Which brings me back to my story...having actually completed my book (hooray!!!) I entered the first few chapters into a large writers contest, assuming I wouldn't win (but, let's be honest - hoping!) but rather looking for some feedback that wasn't from people that would feel awkward being completely honest with me.  I know I can't do it alone - just like building the fence, I need help building a solid piece of writing.  Extra eyes finding potential errors, advice from experts that know what they're talking about - I'm not above asking for help!  I know my limitations and humble enough to admit them and to listen to other people's advice.  In fact, I truly appreciate it! 

Imagining what our fence would look like without the expertise of others causes me to giggle at the potential outcomes that could have been.  Thank God for my friends and family!  I also have to thank the judges who read my entry.  My report card included some very good ideas for getting my book ready for the publishing world.  Ideas that will really elevate my story to the next level.  (For those wondering - my scores were 70, 73 and 74% - which makes me feel like I am totally on the right track!)

So, layin' it out - I'm not perfect.  I know it.  I appreciate constructive criticism and suggestions that can help me better whatever it is I am working on.  Whether it is a fence, my novel, or a recipe that needs a little oomph - planning, friends, family and an open mind - will help me make it a success!

I can't believe it but...I'm like a sponge absorbing everyone else's expertise.  One day I may even be an expert at something!  (Now that's a funny thought!)

Happy building whatever the heck you're working on :)

Kathy Pettit