Life as a House

You would think after overseeing four remodels and the construction of a new home I would be a pro at that kind of stuff.  The reality is I am much better than I used to be at handeling projects.  I don't get flustered when something unexpected pops up as often as I used to, but every new project brings new challenges and problems.  The metaphors are pretty clear, don't you think?   But for those of you who want my take on them, here's what I've learned from writing and remodeling.

1. Prepaparation is EVERYTHING.   The right tools, a clean surface, a level floor, a solid foundation... the basics of good storytelling, plotting, grammar, and practice.

2. Don't rush.   Make you paint lines straight and clean.  Measure your flooring before deciding where to cut the planks.  Let a new story idea ruminate, write down a major outline.  Flesh out your characters on paper or in your head.

3.  Get help from friends and professionals!! You need it! Don't attempt to redo major plumbing or electrical repairs on your own.  Make sure you have two people for two-man (woman) jobs.. Find great Beta readers, make friends you can help and who can help you.  Establish genuine and mutually beneficial friendships.  Accept critique and feedback (especially from agents and editors).

4.  Enjoy finished projects.  Ignore the flaws for a while.  Wait a few weeks before attempting to redo anything.   If you're not sure about a paint color, look at it in all lights and at all times of the day.  If you LOVE a paint color, look at it in all lights and at all times of day.  Insert the word "scene" or "chapter" or "book" instead of paint color and the rule is pretty much the same.

These are my basic rules for remodeling and editing.  Yours might be different than mine, but either way I believe it's important to have them and reevaluate them from time to time until you find what works.


  1. Great post, Candice. It feels very relevant to me, as I am currently dealing with both ends of the metaphor. :)

    I especially like the last point. It takes SO much work to come to that finished product, be it a house or a book, and we should give ourselves time to simply appreciate that.

  2. Amen, sister. I'm quite familiar with both of these topics and you're absolutely right. They have so much in common. I'm a big fan of getting the right help. Something you probably know about me. ;)

  3. Great advice. I especially like the part about looking at paint (and words) in all lights and at all times of the day. Even when you love them. Thanks!

  4. Great post, Candice. I've missed you! And I hope your house is coming along! :)