Remodeling kitchens … Rewriting books

How many people decide to have their kitchen remodeled four days before Christmas? Not many, I’d wager. For one thing, it puts a cramp in the annual cookie baking extravaganza when the oven is unplugged and the refrigerator is inaccessible. Not to mention what it does in the gracious-to-guests category when they’re greeted at the door with dust masks, ear plugs, and eye protection.

I’ll try to remember this next year when I get the brilliant idea to re-do every bathroom in the house on Christmas Eve.

Remodeling is messy. It’s noisy and dusty — it’s unfriendly business. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary as was the case in our kitchen.

I suppose the same could be said for revising one’s manuscript. It’s messy business too, and do-overs don’t always coincide with the luxury of time or inclination. For me, my wrists say, uh, not right now. We’re busy hurting. My head says, wha’ — are you crazy? Another edit? But nevertheless, my heart wants the best work possible.

Remodeling your kitchen may only occur once. But remodeling your manuscript may take several go-rounds before every word is just where it should be. A good manuscript … just like a good kitchen … requires architectural planning, structural design, good bones, and proper underpinnings all before the final showcase dressing of shiny words and polished paragraphs can be applied.

So, this year I find myself … wrists and all … with my own form of saws and hammers working madly to make certain my manuscript is the showpiece I know it can be. Its words are important, but its structure is no less important. Yeah, okay. I’m crazy. Still, a writer needs to be crazy-like-a-fox when it comes to telling a compelling and worthy story — even if it is four days before Christmas and there’s nary a cookie on my plate.

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