house of cards

Last night I stared at "Shaping Lily" with my edit letter in mind, and wondered if it's possible to fix what needs fixing without pulling the story to pieces.

It was a totally vain endeavour, of course, and I knew this at the time as well, but it appears to be part of my process. There is a point in my process — just after I've received feedback on a story but before I've actually started any (further) revisions — when the story hangs in the balance. A point wherein I basically sit staring at the story, hesitating, thinking a lot but achieving nothing. Or nothing material, at least.

Because as soon as I start — as soon as I select a single thread on which to work — the entire story will unravel and in the process a whole slew of other things that require fixing will fall out, and what was once a story will become instead a mess of shredded words scattered haphazardly over my desk. And I will have to examine every word, singly and in context, yet one more time, as I try to weave it all (seamlessly!) back into a cohesive narrative.1

All that sitting and staring has its place as well, however. It's a moment of waiting, of zen before the battle frenzy, which fixes the big picture in mind before I get lost in the minutiae.

Which is what it's time to do now.

  1. This metaphor would probably be much stronger if I knew anything at all about sewing, or weaving, or knitting. []