Saturday, March 1, 2014

Be the egg encrusted fork!


Writing a novel is like doing the dishes. 

Just when you think they’re done, just when the last of the grimy sudsy water gets sucked down the drain, just when you’ve wiped dry your water logged hands – someone shows up with an egg encrusted fork they found in the basement. You can either choose to ignore it or you stop up the sink, run the water, get some suds going, plunge your prune-like hands in, and start all over again. 

A manuscript is like that. It’s never done until it’s between two covers. 

While you’re still doing the dishes, writing the novel – you be the egg encrusted fork to your writing. 

That problem that you know is there, but want to ignore - that's the last fork.  

Don’t just put it in the sink and forget about. You pick off that egg with your nail, scrub it with the little scrunchy-wash pad thingy, and wipe it clean. 

Sure you feel like leaving it in the sink, for next time, for someone else to clean up. Like a member of your critique group. Like the agent or editor you don’t yet have. 

No one is going to get the gunk out between the prongs of your manuscript but you.

Be the egg encrusted fork to your writing. 

Just when you think your manuscript is done, put your mechanical pencil on the line and apply everything you’ve learned in every book, in every workshop, and in every blue pencil session. 

Apply what you’re learned about tension on every page, showing – not telling, realistic dialogue, flawed, yet human characters, plot, setting, pacing, grammar, and scrub - scrub until we the reader, not only don’t see any encrusted egg, we never knew it was there.

That’s your job as a writer. 

Doing the dishes … get someone else to do them!   

  

4 comments:

Deb A. Marshall said...

Nice! I so love how you look at the world of writing!

Jan Markley said...

Thanks Deb! You rock!

moonduster said...

Great analogy! And I am determined to get down and scrub! lol!

By the way, love the cat picture. :)

Jan Markley said...

Thanks Moonduster - it's good to have an analogy for rewriting as it's so hard to explain to others why we continually do it!