Recently I was waiting for my appointment at my doctor’s office. To pass the time away, I watched the television in the screen. I quickly realized two things; the commercials sometimes make it hard to figure out what exactly they are advertising for and writing for publication is a lot like searching for a house to purchase.
Now, I well recall the weeks I spent searching for my wonderful little house, about this time last year. And the show I was watching was, in part, people out inspecting house after house in the quest for their perfect abode. It was some HGTV show, though I don’t know the name of it. Sorry. But I could draw some amazing parallels between house hunting and writing.
First, the Lists:
As writers, we need lots of lists. Plot and theme, characters and back story, timeline and setting. Don’t forget the lists from our research and every other detail we created or discovered. All that stuff we need to remember to keep the story consistent and our facts straight.
As house hunters, we also need lists. Location or neighborhood, price is a biggie, overall size including bedrooms, bathrooms, extra rooms and storage spaces. Schools might be an important consideration. Distance to work, school, family, friends and other places we go to are all considered.
Then once we get the big stuff out of the way, we still have more lists.
As writers, we have more detailed character sketches and dialog. We include secondary characters and other events to enhance plot, create conflict and move the story along.
As house hunters, we can now get picky. Kitchen size, yard size, room sizes are all studied carefully. Electrical outlets, flooring, remodeling needs and so much more now seriously enter the picture. And there is the entire loan process to stop and consider.
Deal breakers. We have them.
As writers, it is the sudden turn of events that take us off the plotted chart. Sometimes the characters kidnap the story and run off with it. That is always fun. Sometimes we hit the big wall of Writer’s Block and have to stop, shake our heads and find a new way out of the puzzle we just wrote ourselves into.
As house hunters, it can be a variety of stuff. Too much of this, not enough of that. Anything that didn’t make our Must Have list can make us keep searching. Like ways, if something met everything on the Must Have but failed the Want List by too many strikes, we can still walk and keep hunting.
And along the way, we’ll have redo’s.
As writers, we have revisions and edits, enough to make us want to scream and pull our hair out. The first drafts will never be right, and will always need polishing over and over.
As house hunters, the perfect house will probably not be so perfect. Something might be lurking there, waiting for you to find it. Or perhaps someone else has an offer that gets accepted before yours. Or upon closer and second (or third) walk though, and perhaps during the inspection process, things come to light that make you walk away.
But in the end, eventually we get it right.
As writers, it is publication and seeing your baby in print, holding that beautiful book. Yeah!
As house hunters, it is getting the sale and holding those keys. Oh yeah!