November 26, 2019

Finishing the Sweater

Back in June, I used the analogy of a knitted sweater's loose ends to explain why the new revision of my novel needed another editing pass. All my projects, whether writing or knitting, take far longer than I expect they will, but I'm relieved to say that I finally have this novel into the shape I want it.

I went through the manuscript addressing all those comments hanging off the side. I worked in the extra bits of ideas and trimmed away the strands that still didn't connect. In a few areas, I had to redo sections with tangled or dropped stitches so the quality would match the rest. I removed part of the trim and added it back in another color. I sewed on some buttons to make the whole thing more attractive and more functional.

One of the final steps in a knitting project is to wash the garment and pin it down flat in the desired shape. This is called blocking, and it can dramatically change the size. In the course of rewriting and improving my novel, I'd ended up with a manuscript that was rather baggy. Happily, after the long soak and determined blocking of the past months, it's shrunk again to a more flattering fit.

Now that my project is really finished, I'm going to send it out into the world and see if any, um, clothing labels want to reproduce the design? Here the metaphor breaks down, but it's just as well, because I have a habit of spending months or years knitting something that I then put in a drawer and forget about. My novel deserves to be worn.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Rahul Kanakia shares his approach for deciding what to write next: "I have an exercise where I imagine opening a new book, and I imagine staring at 'Chapter One' and I imagine looking at the page and what I'd like to see on it. What's my ideal page one? Not my all-time ideal, but my ideal for right this minute. What do I want to be on that page? Usually what comes to me first is a certain shape. I want the text to look a certain way on the page."

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