02 February 2011

Tarred With The Same Brush





You know, I'm not really good with the more serious topics for this blog (in other words, most of the topics *shifty*), but as I was busy painting my son's bedroom earlier today, it occurred to me that writing is quite a bit like decorating.


No, seriously, it is.

I mean, most walls need at least two coats of paint, just like your novel will need at least two drafts, right? You also have to keep going over the same part several times, just to make sure you have even coverage. It goes without saying that each paragraph of your masterpiece is gone over time and time again, tweaking this bit and that until it's 'just so'.

Then it's the dreaded 'cutting in'. You know, those awkward bits, like the corners and the skirting boards. Using the smallest brush you have to make sure you don't get paint on the bits to be glossed, and gloss on the bits to be painted. Of course, there's no 'cutting in' with a manuscript, but there's always the 'cutting out' to drive you insane. The x amount of words that need to be cut to make the length more manageable; the dialogue that needs trimming because you realize that your characters shouldn't really be ramblers just because you are.

When the walls are dry (or your first draft is written *shifty*), you then have to look closely for the places that need patching up. Those missed spots that you didn't notice the first time. Pesky missing letters because you didn't hit the key hard enough on your laptop, for instance. Or blank places where you needed a name but couldn't think of one, so left a few asterisks instead.

Once all your walls are dry, the patches filled, the cutting ins (and outs) completed, all you have left is the glossing. I hate glossing. Loathe and detest it. It's hard work, stinky, fiddly, and time consuming.

Yup, glossing is to painting as editing is to writing.

It sucks totally, but has to be done to finish the project properly. No prizes for guessing who did the glossing in my son's bedroom today (not me!). Now, if only I could get the hubby to edit my novel as well as he glossed the skirting boards, I'd be a happy bunny.


Image courtesy of publicdomainimagesdotnet.

11 comments:

Amie B said...

i love this analogy! would have never thought of it, but it's so true!

Tundiel said...

Amie - Hahaha, I like the analogy too. :) I would never have thought of it myself, mind you, if it wasn't for the fact that I've spent the last three days up to my eyes in paint.

Still, I'm halfway there now. My boy's room is finished, now I'm starting my daughter's. *feels a distinct lack of enthusiasm*

Jan Morrison said...

This is totally true. And I'm at the glossing but I'm trying to love it so ....shshshsh!

Tundiel said...

Jan - Yeah, I need to gloss my chick-lit from NaNo 2009.The longer I leave it, the less enthusiasm I have to do it. I really need to embrace editing somehow...

Hart Johnson said...

This was my favorite: "the dialogue that needs trimming because you realize that your characters shouldn't really be ramblers just because you are." MAN... that's true, eh?

Great analogy, too! and I have this to offer to take it a step further... once you call it DONE, it is pretty humiliating to see a patch that you missed or an unsightly place where your wall color or trim color are in the wrong spot...

Tundiel said...

Tami - Yup, SO true, especially when it's me. And no... please, no! No more guilt trips on the editing thingy... I beg you.*dies*

ViolaNut said...

Ah, see, for me the analogy breaks down in one crucial place - I LOVE painting rooms. Hate editing. :-P

Tundiel said...

Oh, I LIKE the painting, just not the glossing. Just like I like the writing, but not the editing. See how it works for me? *snort*

Shaharizan Perez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaharizan Perez said...

This was an awesome analogy! I do have a question though, what is "glossing?" Doesn't paint come with semi-gloss or gloss in it already? Please forgive my ignorance.

Tundiel said...

Chary - Glossing is the shinier paint that you use on the woodwork - doorframes and skirting boards etc. We use emulsion (either 'matt' or 'silk') for the walls which dries in 2-4 hours, but the gloss takes a good 12 hours to dry and is REALLY mucky. We cheated somewhat and painted the skirting boards with the emulsion. It saves a ton of time.