Wednesday, February 08, 2012

WRITER WEDNESDAY: Backstitching your manuscript

Writing is a craft, an art, a process. We would like to think we sit to our computers or notebooks, open a vein and bleed a story. In truth, it may feel like it, but writing is only part of the process. Typing The End is amazing (trust me, I know, I did it about a week ago) but there's still much work to be done. There's the dreaded Revisions. For some reason we authors tend to cringe from Revisions as mush as Synopses, like they're the evil under the bed, slinking into the light of our The End glory days.

Let's compare the writing process to other arts and crafts and I'll show you how revising is backstitching your story.

When you paint/draw/color a picture, you start with a light sketch. For writers, this sketch is an outline or rough idea. Then you grab your oil pastels, water colors, colored pencils, whatever medium you choose. To those writing a story that could be Voice, Characterization, Storytelling, and such, the tools we ply to tell the story. When the picture is near completion, the artist adds highlights, lowlights, outlines features to make the picture come to life. In the writing world, those are revisions. They accent plot threads, highlight themes, etc.

Bakers pull out a recipe, kinda like an outline. The flour, sugar, butter and cocoa are similar to a writer's Voice, World-building and Storytelling. After the mixing, comes the baking. Once those cookies and cakes and donuts come out, there's glazes, frostings, and sprinkles to highlight the flavors, accent the appearance, a lot like revisions do for writing. (Okay, admittedly, not all baked items get that extra step, but they usually do here! :P )

Cross-stitchers and embroiderers have charts they follow, much like writers have our outlines and ideas. They gather their floss, needles, scissors--the stitcher equivalent of our writer's tools. Some stitchers, like my Mom, put the floss onto numbered cards, like many writers notecard their stories, then arrange the scenes. When the stitching is done, it's time to backstitch and really outline points of interest, stitch opalescent thread in the eyes, or to highlight jewels, french knot to add depth to flowers, etc. The exact same thing writers do when we revise.  

So...celebrate when you've typed The End (I know I did!), but don't neglect the backstitching to make the story really come to life!


  1. this is a great reminder. I so often think of revision as "tightening," which it is, but there's also room for embellishment and more details.

  2. And sometimes, when you've misstitched something, you have to frog it and start over again, just like you have to entirely or significantly rewrite some things that aren't working or that you feel could be better. (Frogging refers to pulling out stitches. I've always preferred to pull mine out with the needle instead of cutting them out, to save thread.)

  3. Excellent site you've got here.. It's difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!


    My web-site ... Www.Dailymotion.Com

  4. Appreciation to my father who informed me on the topic of this blog, this webpage
    is in fact remarkable.

    Here is my weblog: Psn Code Generator


Breaths that matter...

Related Posts with Thumbnails