Sunday, July 17, 2011

Knitting

I have loved knitting since my mother taught me at seven years old. It was a way I could express my creativity without covering myself with paint or flour or anything that required more work. You see I am at heart a lazy sod. Knitting suited me. It provided instant gratification to a point. A few rows and you could 'see' your work and your pattern emerging. I was always gung ho at the start. I'm a really good starter but for years I struggled with the finishing. My mother despaired that I would ever complete a darn thing.

I didn't begin to complete projects until high school and by the time uni hit I was designing my own sweaters. They were in demand by friends and acquaintances. I loved it. Along the way I became skilled at teaching other people and fixing my mistakes as well as theirs...a dropped stitch - no problem.....most of the time.

On a plain sweater a dropped stitch or two was easily fixed...but where a complicated pattern was involved like Fair Isle or Aran then fixing the problem could mean pulling it all out down to the dropped stitch. Ouch. But I'd discovered that unlike on a simple sweater on a complex one you might not have the enough of the right colour thread to fix the problem or not enough ease in the yarn. A simple fix would pull the sweater out of shape or design. To get it right there was no short cut.

I'm finding my edits at the moment the same way. Changing a name is like the simple dropped stitch, but pulling key scenes out and filling them with new ones is like dropping a stitch in an Aran sweater. The tension is all wrong and it's pulling everything out of place. So I'm having to unravel whole chunks of the story to fix the pattern and where once I'd been a whiz at knitting because I was always doing it...I'm a novice at editing and scared to death of the process...I don't wanting howling wind or drenching rain whipping through the holes I've left in the story....

Come back on Thursday to find out what's on Biddy's mind...

12 comments:

  1. I love that analogy Liz. And so true.

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  2. That really struck a chord, Liz, because I'm doing the same thing at the moment and it's terrifying! Where before I thought the story worked just fine, now I'm unpicking it and adding new "stitches", I'm not so sure ... I can't knit anything other than the plain stuff, so I really hope I'm better at fixing the plot holes in my story!

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  3. I can knit or could anyway but plot holes...new territory. Good luck x

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  4. Great metaphor, I really like that. I'm doing revisions myself at the moment, and have really found that difference. I'd been pondering the idea of switching the backstory between two of the characters, which would increase tension between the MC and the romantic interest and seemed like a simple enough thing at first, but then as I started working through the manuscript I kept finding spots where the backstory affected the plot in ways I hadn't thought of. In the end I decided it wasn't worth unraveling all that stitching, and I'd do something else to increase tension. Good luck with your own revisions - in my opinion, they're a lot harder than the actual writing of the story!

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  5. Seabrooke - I wish I didn't have to do this but I have been asked. I'm hoping and praying the story will be stronger for it. Editing like this, at this stage, is hard....especially with a deadline. Good luck with yours...may you not have to change too many or unravel any stitches
    lx

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  6. Very good analogy - I was a really lousy knitter but journalism is about constant editing which is a good thing. Though hard!

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  7. I'm so deep in editing right now FP and wish I was better at...I hope practice makes perfect!
    lx

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