Anyone who has ever undertaken a home renovation project knows the utter chaos that descends on the household.
This week my son’s family has been replacing interior doors and casings, and all the flooring in the house except for the basement. Carpets and vinyl in three bedrooms, the main hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen – everything has been torn up. Furniture and appliances are shuffled from one room to another trying to stay one step ahead of the floor layers.
On home makeover TV shows, the family moves out until contractors have created a pristine new space. In reality, most homeowners simply live in upheaval until the job is done. It might not sound so daunting, but try being a family of six, including a special needs toddler, a part-time working mom, a dad who is a work-at-home business manager, a teenager on the eve of her graduation prom, and the inevitable cat and large dog, all trying to function in the same spaces that are being torn apart. As I said… chaos… and at some point, despair. Will it eventually come together and resemble the original dream?
It’s likely that many of us undertaking a novel revision experience a similar sense of despair during the process. The first draft has such promise, but after critical examination we discover potential changes that would make it so much better. Or perhaps an agent or editor sends pages of suggested alterations designed to improve structure, plot or character development.
We tear apart our carefully constructed story, removing undesired elements and adding new ones, trying desperately to maintain the integrity of the original plot. One change necessitates another, continuity is jeopardized, and there is so much more work than we anticipated.
Remember the axiom that says it’s always darkest just before dawn? Remember how installing beautiful new hardwood floors requires tearing out the old floor covering first and moving everything else out of the way? Novel revisions are no different. Yes, it gets messy, but the only way to create the well-crafted story we envision is to have a renovation plan and work systematically through it.
The end result will be worth the chaos!
Are you one who likes to leave well enough alone when you settle into a home, or do you like to personalize, redecorate and renovate? Do you enjoy or dread novel revisions?