Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Creative Clutter

Goodness! Please forgive my lack of manners. I haven't visited the porch in some time. Not because I'm disinterested. I've been inside, decorating for Christmas (directions: pull pre-lit tree from box, jam the three pieces together, then plug it up. It's amazingly pretty) and working through some clutter.

I have a goal of sorting through the boxes we've been storing in the attic for over eight years and getting rid of stuff. I'll keep the old love letters, pictures drawn by my kids, and other little mementos, but textbooks and software stored on floppy disks have no right to the space. Neither do old clothes and the Super Nintendo my kids used to fight over (hubby and I usually won that battle). Not when someone out there could be wearing the one, and the grandkids playing with the other.

I'm also working through clutter in a novel. I started this story several years ago. Finished the first draft and followed that with the first revision. Regardless of any changes made, the first--and most important--chapter proved to be a problem.

Starting where I did, in the middle of a party, I had to introduce too many characters and relationships. After meeting with an editor at the Blue Ridge Conference, I decided to back up and open just minutes before the party began. It helped, but one relationship still confused people, so I sorted through my options and backed the characters up another half hour.

Now I had two people in one quiet little setting and time to get to know them. And, with the use of one prop, I could subtly introduce others, clarifying relationships, before the characters reached the party location. Even better, once I cleared the bottleneck, the story livened up again. I've been revising a chapter a day and having a blast doing so. I've missed these characters.

A chapter a day. A box a day. An easy way to tackle the clutter.

No comments: