I’m hard at work prepping the next Candy’s Monster novella for e-publishing. So what to do I do for distraction? I write a short monster story. It’s the story inspired by the monster holidays (May 20) and rum punch ramblings (May 25) on this blog.
Short story, novella, novel the process is basically the same with multiple drafts, notes, reviewing, editing and trying it again. Sometimes it’s like Goldilocks and the third bowl of porridge is just right, but sometimes it takes more effort.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who knits. She made me a marvelous pair of custom socks that are almost too beautiful to wear and she’s been knitting for quite a while. She finds it relaxing and likes the concrete results. My mom also knits and taught me when I was a kid. I’d rather write. I don’t have the patience to spare — with all my re-writes — and the counting involved in patterns and fancy stitches makes me crazy.
But there’s something important that connects knitting and writing. It’s about the construction of the story and the characters and the threads of the story that you KNIT together as you go along. My mini monster tale, ‘Hurricane Castle,’ keeps finding new endings, just like a scarf that becomes a shawl and then a blanket as the knitter keeps going.
The other commonality is the need to rip it up and start again.
Knitters often discover the dropped stitch many rows into the process and have to go back, rip those rows out and, essentially, lose the time spent on those inches of sweater. A writer, all too often, has to go back rip those sentences, paragraphs and pages, and rewrite. I don’t think of those errant drafts as lost time so much as practice sketches, but it can be just as frustrating when things are not coming together correctly.
My knitter friend told me about the first pair of socks she’d made. One turned out to be radically larger than the other and she was mystified. The obvious cause — failure to count the correct number of rows — was not the culprit. She was very frustrated until she realized that she’d used a different gage needle to produce the second sock. Of course it was much smaller; it was a tighter knit. She ripped it out and started again, in order to make the perfectly matched pair.
In the midst of knitting a mini monster, I found that I was using the wrong writing gage. The reason the story keeps finding more endings is that it’s meant to be a longer monster.
Umm…. Maybe I should use a knitting needle to dispatch the vampire?