Saturday, September 17, 2011

Crooked frames and writing

Hanging pictures is a two-person job (at least.) Ideally, two people should hold the ends of a tape measure to locate the center spot where it's supposed to go. Then one person should hold the frame in place while the other person steps back to see if it's at the right height. Person one then holds her finger in the spot while person two moves the frame and gets the picture hanger and nail ready. I know this because when my dad used to visit, he'd help me hang all the pictures that had been sitting on my floor for months.

My husband is useful, brilliant and kind, but would prefer simple, blank walls. So he's no help. But I got tired of the pictures that had been sitting on the floor for so long that I almost started thinking they didn't belong there. My aim and hammer approach often means I have to hang things two or three times before I get the right spot, resulting in a lot of nail holes.

When I tried to write alone, it's much like standing nose-to-glass with a painting. It may take me a lot longer to correct my errors. I need someone who has the perspective of distance to help me see where my novel is veering way off course. I'm grateful for my critique group, and for writing conferences like Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. I'm also excited about critiquing based on whole novel trades.

I can deal with slightly-crooked picture frames. But since I really want my writing spot-on, I'm seeking education, good critiques, and whatever other help I can get.

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