Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Devil is in the Details

I'm in the midst of the reno from hell and, for the most part, my husband has had to deal with stuff. Mechanical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. Not very glamorous (to me anyway) but all those little details add up to a working house that I will one day celebrate and not curse because it doesn't have adequate heating, low water pressure etc. Now that we're getting toward the last third of the reno I now have to become immersed in the details. Lighting, paint colour, tile selection, ack! I know if I screw up on those things that no matter how well my husband has taken care of his details, my details will be out there for everyone to see. So, you might ask, what's your point? What does this have to do with anything - especially writing??

So many writers are doing NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short)this month that I keep reading about the deluge of submissions agents will be inundated with in January. I also keep reading that writers should please, for the love of God, please hold off on submitting. Why? Because it's the details that make your submission stand out. You might have got the bones of the book down this month. Maybe even some flesh and blood. But do you have the right nuances of character? Are your secondary characters fleshed out enough? Like a house that needs the right furniture, have you gone through the book and made sure the setting is solid and evocative and does it contribute to the overall mood of the room ... I mean book! So, so many DETAILS. You get my drift?

Those details - and like a house reno there can be hundreds of details/decisions to attend to - are critical if you want that book (or house) to shine. Even if you get sick of going through every scene (room) to make sure it flows with the rest of the scenes, even if you are sick of looking at lighting fixtures ... I mean descriptions! you need to to make sure your scene is as bright or as dark as you want it to be.

So, yes, the devil is in the details but the beauty will show in the book. And, I hope, my house. Good luck you NaNoWriMo's! Come January our books and houses may not be quite ready but they'll be on their way!


  1. Good analogy. :)

    I know your house will be great. And think how peaceful it's all going to be once the reno is done!

  2. Like writing, it's more fun when you're done! L)

  3. It's always the 'little things,' isn't it?

  4. Hi Linda: That thought and numerous bottles of red wine are the only things getting me through this. Thanks for the good thoughts! :)

    Hi Anne: Amen, sister. Truer words were never said.

    Hi Mirka: Those little things'll kill ya' if you let them. Luckily I'm a stubborn wench. Probably why I like revision so much! :) Still working on liking renovations, however.

  5. Good luck with the reno, Nelsa! I hope you'll be celebrating your new, more peaceful home in not too long!

  6. I believe revising should take longer than drafting. It's the rule I stick to. Plus, I revise several times on my own before sending to my CPs. Then I revise again at least once--usually more. :)

    I'm not doing NaNo, but good luck to those who are.

  7. Hi Lena! Thanks so much! One day I hope to host a Torkidlit party in my new space. Just don't pin me down to a date! :)

    Hi Kelly: That's a great rule of thumb. I definitely think the revision should take much longer than the drafting. Does revision ever stop, really? At some point we have to let it go...