Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Building a Novel

We just finished our kitchen.

Maybe "we" is a misnomer. My wife did all of the leg work to pick out everything with the design, and the contractors did the heavy lifting. I...stayed out of their hair. It was better that way.

I am not a construction type of guy. If a home improvement video says a job will take 1-2 hours, that means all day for me. So, I don't do that sort of thing unless there's no other option! This means I'm not familiar with the process of building.

It was fascinating to come home from work each day and see the layers stripped down. First the cabinets, then the old floor, then the sub-floor. The sheet rock, plaster, electrical, plumbing. The foundation wasn't the prettiest thing in the world.

Then it started changing. The sheet rock guy did the mudding, adding texture. Now there was some dynamic going on, instead of being flat. He did the basic painting, and now it seems like we're getting somewhere!

The cabinets came next, and it fleshed out everything, allowing a place for all the little things a kitchen needs. Then the counters. Now it can carry some weight.

The flooring was laid, and the path became clear. Still, the painter had to do the little touch-ups at the end to make everything finished.

I think you can see where I'm going with this...

I was taken by the relationship to building this new kitchen to building a novel. It wasn't completely brand new - the old foundation and walls were still there. However, it took a process to get to the end product, and it wasn't always apparent how it was going to turn out. The care my wife took in looking at all the options created a beautiful setting.

I know as I slowly chip away at what I want in the story, I find twists and turns. Some things don't work out as planned. Some choices make it worse. I realize I'm still in stages where it hasn't all come together yet.

It was a relief to get cabinets in, and the countertops set, but that wasn't the end point. What makes the kitchen is the little touches - the decorative pieces set into the backsplash, the glaze on the cabinets, the edging on the counters. A writer can get by with the functional pieces in place, but the novel can only reach its full potential if the time is taken to work the little details into the otherwise sturdy workmanship.

My wife is very pleased with how it came out. I'm happy for her, I enjoy the kitchen, but I'm just happy to have regular cooking again! I could have been satisfied enough with less, but it is so much more due to her vision.

I hope to keep this thought in mind as I go through the different levels of working my story.

No comments:

Post a Comment