It’s summer time and the weather is hot and dry. I decided I wanted a new dress. I found a cool fabric and a pattern. Took extra care to fit the paper pattern, cut out the dress and sewed it up. All was well. I’d have a new dress for Sunday. Except, the neck facing didn’t sit down properly. I unpicked the seam, worked the curve again, pinned it, re-stitched – same problem. Repeated this process several times with the same, unsatisfactory results. ( I know. Repeating the same actions over and over and expecting a different outcome is a sign of madness.) Before I ended up putting a hole in the fabric I put the whole thing away and cleaned my closet instead.
Eventually, I looked at the problem again and realized my error occurred several steps before the facing. No matter how much I tweaked that final seam, it wouldn’t come right until I ripped back to the source of the mistake. Ugh! I hate ripping out, but I want this new dress and I want it to look good, so rip I did.
The whole process is a bit like editing. I had gotten stuck in my wip – maybe that’s why I decided to sew instead. When I couldn’t avoid the keyboard any longer, I cogitated on the source of my problem and realized I needed to go back. Tweaking the last sentence, playing with the last paragraph, substituting words and synonyms was not going to get me unstuck. The error was structural. I needed to shore up the foundations of the story. My “cute” idea was not enough to carry a whole book. Fortunately, re-writes on a computer aren’t as arduous as ripping out a seam. I can fill in the blanks, add pages of new conflict and flesh out my character motivations without hours of labourious unpicking.
So, there I am, on track with the dress and the story. It’s a good week.