Monday, October 6, 2008

From First Draft to Firestarter

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about my firewood supply for the upcoming winter. Making a romantic, roaring fire in the family room hearth is one those things that gets me through—even allows me to enjoy—the harsh winter months.

I live on several acres with lots of deciduous and evergreen trees, so wood is abundant. Over the past few years, random piles have accumulated around the yard from trees that were trimmed, damaged by lightening or windstorms, or died of natural causes. (Hmmm…how else would a tree perish?) Things were looking a little messy until my neighbor, Bud, paid me a visit last week.

Retired and an avid outdoorsman, Bud arrived in his Ford pick-up and offered to take all of my wood piles, pass them through his electric wood splitter, and stack it all very neatly near my driveway. Along with restoring my faith in basic human kindness, Bud’s neighborly deed provided me with a good analogy for the writing and editing process.

Many clients come to me when their writing projects are in the draft stage. Some parts of it are like cherry wood, sweet-scented and solid enough to be the foundation of their story. Other parts may look like a bunch of craggy sticks and small fragments but bundle them together and they’re perfect kindling to get the fire started. Still, other parts are dead wood, rotted, and should be tossed, nothing more.

Do have something in draft stage? I suggest you look at your project as a fire in the making. Keep chopping and splitting and tossing and stacking until you have not only a thing a beauty (like my picture, above) but something that will provide warmth, comfort and a glow of romance to those who read it.