Mar 31, 2011


By Susan G. Haws

We are remodeling a bathroom. It was a perfectly good bathroom, functional even appealing. But it didn’t meet our needs. So first the workman took measurements, found out our needs and made a plan. Then we picked out tile and soon there was a man demolishing our bathroom. Part of the foundation was even cut out. (That noise really scared the dog and cats.)

Now we are on the rebuilding portion of our adventure. The men installed new copper pipe new drains and new concrete. I have faith the toxic fumes from the red smear on the new walls will dissipate when it gets covered with tile and when finished we will have a room that meets our needs.

I think rewriting and editing are like remodeling. Sometimes perfectly good scenes or subplots don’t meet the needs of the whole novel. We rework or delete phrases, scenes, chapters, even characters we like. It is difficult, even scary. But we only rip out elements that detract from the story. We keep the structures that move the story forward and craft new sentences that the support the plot and main characters. We save the sink to reinstall, buy new tile, touch up paint and have faith that the new version will be better for the book as a whole.


  1. Awesome analogy, Susan! Thanks. Now every time I'm in that special room, I'll be thinking about writing.

  2. So that's the remodeling you're talking about.

    Great analogy!!


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