Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Remodeling a Bathroom is a Lot Like Revising a Book

Well, we are in the throws of a major bathroom remodel in the Obenhaus home. And while we're changing the flooring, vanity tops, cabinetry, and fixtures, the basics of the room, the bones, will remain the same. We're not moving any walls or plumbing. The premise is good, but the execution lacked a lot.

Writers, especially novice writers, often face the same challenge in their stories. The premise is good, but the story just isn't working. It's a hard thing to come to terms with, because it means change. Even though things may not be perfect, you've become comfortable. Ripping it all out, stripping it to the bones, means a lot of hard work. Sorting and tossing. Cleaning. Coming up with new stuff. It may cost you--time and effort.

Recently, I've been going through a major rewrite of my first manuscript. This is a story of my heart. One I've been working on for a LONG time. But it was time to overhaul. The opening didn't work. It was slow. But changing the beginning changed the dynamics of the rest of the story. In some cases, that meant starting over. Yet the basis of the story, the theme has never changed.

It's been a lot of work. There were some things I didn't want to let go of. But I finally did. And you know what? The story is much better. Things that were bulky and didn't fit well have been streamlined or omitted all together. It's crisper. Fresher.

In my quiet time this morning, I read about the Vine and the branches in John 15. Verse two says, "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful." As God prunes us, grooms us to be more like Him, we need to do the same with our stories. Because after all, we're not writing for us, we're writing for Him.

Have you ever been faced with a major overhaul in your manuscript, or even your life? If so, what did you do? Where did you start? And what was the final result?


  1. Mindy,
    I think I am nearing the end of a pruning session with the Lord. The most wonderful thing for me personally has been this journey into the world of blogging, book reviews and - most significantly - I'm returning to my writing. It has been a long, hard road. Please pray that I will not let fear keep me from doing what I need to do.


  2. I'll be praying, Kim. And just keep hanging with us. We'll help you push through that fear.

  3. Kim,

    I'll be praying for you, too.

    I'm in a major overhaul right now bookwise--a total re-write. I've re-used a few scenes but am mostly writing the book over. It's been surprisingly fun because I love these characters. :)


  4. Hi All,

    I'm in a major rewrite, also. From 2 POV third person, to 1 person POV first person.....Yeah! But I'm loving it! Also, the plot is being reworked.
    Mindy--how do you ALWAYS know what to post? Lately, whenever you post you ding my heart---

    Kim--I"ll be praying.