Saturday, January 17, 2015

The First One

My youngest son has begun a new phase of his life. He and his soon-to-be life partner have begun the process of buying their first home. A major undertaking that will test their coping skills, but, more importantly, will give them an enormous opportunity to grow.

It has me thinking of our first house in Austin, TX. It was small, probably the smallest on the block, and situated at the head of a T intersection that gave us a nice view of a high school. We used to walk the track for exercise.

Although small, the house had three bedrooms, a kitchen, one bath, and a great room with a high ceiling. Lots of room for a young couple starting out.

That house taught us a lot of lessons:

·        How to fix the small things
·        How to deal with the big things, like termites and flash floods
·        How to replace some of the darkest wood paneling ever made with drywall
·        How that new drywall made the room structurally stronger and visually larger
·        How to start your first business out of one those small bedrooms
·        How spilling red Kool-Aid on orange shag carpeting isn’t really noticeable
·        How not to yell at your first-born for spilling the Kool-Aid

We eventually replaced the orange shag for a beige Berber when it was time to sell and move on to other houses and other lessons.

I am reminded of how important that first house was.

I’ve been told by many books on writing and at many conferences how important it is to finish that first book. Just finishing.

Getting close to that goal, I can look back and see how far I’ve come and how many lessons I’ve learned. 

Such as:

·        How to fix the small things-like punctuation and spelling
·        How to deal with the big things-like verb tense agreement, dialog, and story development
·        How to replace some sentences and paragraphs with better ones
·        How those sentences and paragraphs made the story stronger and the themes larger in scope and continuity
·        How to start the first subplot
·        How spilling the beans on motives and major plot points too soon is bad, bad, bad
·        How not to yell at people and be generally disagreeable when they make constructive comments

Yeah, I can see the similarity to that first house. From here, it looks like a good view.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I was a bit rushed last week. Being late with my post and all. So, at this late date I've added a bit to my original blog post. Hope it creates a better analogy between house and novel.