Stringing Words Together To Create A Yarn

I have made it through my first week and while not hitting my goal of 1800 words every day, I am managing to make the world count goal to stay on pace to finish 50,000 words by November 30th. 

This post first appeared at Musings Of Two Creative Minds on May 15, 2018. 

Aside from using tools that are stick-shaped, you wouldn’t think that there’s much similarity between writing and knitting.  Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels.

I have been a knitter and crocheter for about ten years, and creating costumes for the last six. I have been writing in some form or another for over twenty years, but started my novel about six years ago. My processes for writing a book and creating a costume are strikingly similar.

I start by deciding on what I am going to make.  Be it a Cruella De Vil or an urban fantasy novel about werewolves and vampires, I need that seed idea to nurture.

If I don’t scare you, no evil thing will.

Next I figure out how I am going to do this. I study other costumes similar to what I want to do.  I choose my yarn and pick out patterns to modify. I read other novels in my genre. I make up my characters and write my outline.

You would assume this is where I dive in, but I’m not quite there yet.  If I’m not sure if this will work, I make a few samples.  I’ll make what is called a swatch by knitting a four by four inch square. From that I will get an idea of how the finished project will look and can estimate how much yarn it will take. I will write a short story or a few scenes to get the feel for my characters.  Once I feel comfortable, I begin the actual creation.

Now begins the hard part.  I begin the fabrication, which takes up the bulk of the work. At first it’s cheery because I am MAKING SOMETHING AWESOME. (Yes, I think about it in capital letters.)  But as my fingers start to get sore and my brain stops providing the words, I start to wonder WHY DECIDED TO DO THIS and WILL I EVER FINISH??? 

Then, I start noticing the errors.  Plot holes appear in my beautiful prose. I discover on row ten that I knit row seven twice, or worse yet, dropped a stitch.  Sometimes they are small holes that you can fix easily with a few stitches or a few words.  Occasionally they are  large holes that require you to rip parts out and, in a bad situation, start over. I pull the yarn off my needles, open a new file, and begin again.  Lather, rinse, repeat until to my surprise, I have all the parts made.  No more holes to fill. Now it is time to put it all together.

Once I have all my pieces in place and all my prose written, I work on assembling the finished product.  I start sewing pieces together to create the base of the costume. I pick any accessories that I need to add that finishing polish. I send my writing out to editors and beta readers to find out what needs to be rewritten to make the prose sing.  I’ll hire a cover artist and write the bits and pieces that will be used to promote the book.

And when I’m done with all the knitting and the typing, I have something I am proud to show off to the world.