Revision is like Moving House

I am in the middle of preparing for a move to a smaller house, so have been busy packing and my writing has slowed to a crawl.

Now that most of the household items are packed, I have come to the conclusion that I should move every 5 years, just so that I am forced to weed out all the unused items over the previous 5 years. Having said that, I am not as bad as the bower bird habits of some people that desperately need help to declutter their lives.

I also realised that preparing to move is a lot like revision of my first drafts.

Cut unnecessary subplots

Just like recognising and removing unnecessary subplots, I need to recognise unnecessary household items and either give them away or throw them out.

Such as the large saucepans I used for cooking when my children were young and I only use now for large family gatherings.

I gathered up all the large saucepans and took them to Saint Vincent De Pauls, our main charity to help needy families. Of course, I filled each of the saucepans with glasses, plates and other assorted items.

When I delivered them to the charity I said they were old and might not be needed, but the glassware and other items inside were good quality. I was advised they would be happy to take every large saucepan I had, because there were many large families waiting for large saucepans.

I felt much better, because I was worried the large saucepans were old and junk, not items that would be appreciated by others. It just goes to show that one man’s trash is another man’s, or woman’s treasure.

I also had other decisions to make, such as, do I really need two ice cream machines? I decided no, and threw out one. Or if I really needed two bread making machines. I decided yes, I do. I use one every week, and the second one every three or four weeks, so packed them both. Then unpacked one because I still need to use it until moving day.

Just like some subplots are needed to enrich the main story plot, but other subplots are just bulk to make the story appear longer.

Continuation of plot points

Just like keeping in mind the weapons each character used in the previous scenes, I need to keep accessories required to use my appliances.

Such as all the attachments for my Kenwood, or the plastic containers to store the cooked foods. Or even the bread baking tins I use to bake my bread.

Removal of redundant words

Just like removing redundant words, such as “up” after “climbed” or “ascended”, I questioned if I really needed my set of 18 glasses when there is only me now all the kids have their own homes.

Or do I really need four bedrooms now there is only me. No, which is why I made the decision to move to a smaller house. Well I had other reasons as well, such as move now I am still young enough to survive the ordeal and strong enough to create new vegetable gardens at the new place.

Stick to my theme

In storytelling, the writer needs to keep the theme in mind, to keep on track with the developing plot.

I likened that to keep in mind I will still need my painting equipment because I will create pictures for book covers. I will still need all my writing manuals, including Holly Lisle’s course material, because I still intend to write after the move.

Planning plot point lists or scene cards

Just as I create plot points and scene cards to keep my stories on track, I made lists of things to pack early, lists of things needed until the last day before the move, and list of the furniture and boxes packed for easy access once I have moved and begin to unpack.

Over the past month or two, I learnt that disposing of items in the house or cutting words in my stories are hard decisions, but necessary, to get to the results to make either the story better or housework easier.

Even though I have been quiet on the internet, in between packing and cleaning, I managed to create covers and upload my last two stories in Galaxy Freight, and slowly but steadily write more scenes for another story.

I am now quite excited about this move, and look forward to setting up my office in the next house.

I also want to say I loved the photos of Dean Wesley Smith’s printed short stories. Take a look at them here.

What do you thing? Even though I am still a long way off uploading my files to Createspace, after looking at Dean’s short stories, I can’t wait to get my own printed books from Createspace.

Until then, keep writing, and having fun.

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4 comments so far

  1. E.K. Carmel on

    Very well said!

    I’ve had a couple moves in the past, but those were always into bigger houses. The next move (many years from now, hopefully) will be the big downsize. I’m not looking forward to clearing stuff out, though I’m not particularly a packrat. But one does accumulate over the years.

    DWS’s post was eye-opening. I didn’t realize authors were selling printed short stories. Createspace is amazing and the covers were gorgeous.

    • D J Mills on

      Yes, the Createspace printed books looked good. 🙂 I can’t wait to see my stories printed but too much to do at the moment to complete the formatting, etc. for print.

  2. Angela on

    Great analogy of moving and writing.

    I love the new covers DWS put up and I think they are paving the way for a short story boom.

    • D J Mills on

      Thanks. I was surprised at the similarities between editing and sorting my house contents. 🙂 And I love printed DWS short stories.


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