Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's like middle school all over again

I often think in metaphors. I don't know if this is a writer thing, a right-brained thing, or just a weird Anne-thing. But if I can find the perfect metaphor to describe something, my thinking often feels clearer.

At the moment I'm on task to finish my first Project Sparkle revision by the end of July. It's exciting to watch the novel getting closer and closer to a polished whole. But the work itself is grueling. I change a detail in one chapter and it means I need to go back and change it in five other chapters. I think I'm halfway and then realize I've forgotten to incorporate one of my subplots for the past fifty pages.

So as I was agonizing about this yesterday, I tried to see it as a metaphor. What is this like?

It's like swimming in gym class, I told myself. All of a sudden my mind was overwhelmed with a clear, physical memory of 7th grade. My school supplied swimsuits rather than letting students bring their own from home. The suits were all black with different colored stitching along the sides. The colors represented sizes, red, blue green... I could never remember what size/color I needed. And the color was everything. I have no idea what fabric these suits were made of but they expanded in water. So something that was skin tight would become comfortable in the pool. Something that was comfortable would balloon into an inappropriate, breast-revealing mess. So my classmates and I spent forever choosing the right colors and the right suits. Of course no one wanted to admit to being a green, or even worse, a yellow. Then we had to fight to get the ultra tight suits on. I'd pull the suit up little by little, up the front of my thigh, up the back, tug it over the other thigh. Towards the end, red welts covered my legs. Luckily I had fewer curves back then. Finally the suit would be on and we'd actually be in a hurry to get wet. And that's exactly what my revision feels like! No, really, exactly!

I once read an article about writers thinking in metaphors. The author encouraged writers to see their metaphors through with positive outcomes and then apply these positive feelings to their writing.

So, if finishing my revision is like pulling on a swimsuit... everything will feel better once I get in the pool? I'll be happy when I'm done? Not sure this metaphor follows through. But I like it anyway.

How is your writing going? Metaphors welcome!


  1. But you're already in the pool, and swimming!

  2. Does that mean my swim suit's only half on, though? Oh dear, this thinking in metaphors is confusing me! =)

  3. Revisions, ugh! My swimsuit is on, but I'd like a nice comfortable floaty chair to hang on to. (And would a built in cup holder be too much to ask for?)

  4. And a pina colada to go with the floaty chair? Love it, thanks, Jess!


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