CopyeditingProofreadingWriting Fear Free

You Can Move the Door

When my engineer hubby and I decided it was time to build a house, we spent a lot of time working on all the details. We chose everything from paint color to faucets. After a lot of hard work–we painted the whole interior ourselves–we had exactly the house we dreamed of owning. Except for one thing: the door to the master bathroom ended up in a weird place, and the shower was jammed in the corner behind it.

Looking back, we could see that the door was in an awkward place, but neither of us came up with the obvious solution, which was to move the door, early enough in the process. By the time we realized the situation, it was too much work (and cost) to move it.

When I get suggestions from my story editor, who is awesome by the way, I get that “move the door” feeling again. I always agree with her suggestions, and I wonder why I didn’t see the awkwardness sooner. I have a feeling it’s because I’m too close to the text by this time in the process, and I can’t see the big picture because I’m too focused on the minute details. So stepping back and seeing the issues that need to be addressed is always difficult.

I don’t get emotional or get hurt by her pointing out the flaws in the book. That’s what I want her to do. Better now than after it’s published! But I do look at the text and think, “Wow! I have a lot of work ahead of me. Why couldn’t I just see this problem sooner? I could have saved a lot of labor if I just did it right the first time.”

But the plain fact is that I can move the door. I CAN fill in the gaps and repair the issues in the text. But it is a lot of work. And boy, do I wish my first drafts would be perfect! (pipe dream)

5 thoughts on “You Can Move the Door

  1. Along with perfect first drafts, I am hoping for an end to cute kitten forwards, and no calorie Cheetoes.

    I’m wa-iting.

  2. None of my books have made it into the world yet, but I totally get what you’re saying. I’ve been told to write, write, write and worry about the details later, but that often results in another huge project to tackle when the creative flow is finished. Still, our friend Kevin reminds me that “moving the door” is frequently as simple as deleting a sentence, adding one, or rewriting one. Then, of course, it’s on to the next door. Personally, I’m glad you don’t get held back by the details when you’re first writing your work. I think that’s been my problem for years. Getting over that is what leads to a published piece. You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again! Good luck. Can’t wait to read!

    1. I couldn’t be a writer if I tried to make my first draft perfect because I would stall out. I’d panic. My method works for me, but this is the worst part: right before I start the story editor’s corrections. I usually have to do more than just add a sentence here or there. But hey, it works and I just have to muscle through the first couple of days. *takes fortifying breath*

  3. I had a relatively easy time with plot in His Good Opinion. After all, the basic bones of my story is Pride and Prejudice. The fill-in segments had varying levels of difficulty, but nothing compared to what I feel each time I plot a story wholly on my own.

    I’m not super happy with my Colonel Fitzwilliam plot, but I keep reminding myself there’s no point to renovating until I get the house built. Those weird sticky-out bits I don’t like at the moment might be the charming architectural quirks my readers love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.