Daily Archives: August 24, 2009

The Analogy Machine

In which I relate writing to random things, like plucking eyebrows.

I pluck. One time, when I went home from college with a friend, we did the wax-thing. It was cool. The wax was all warm and silky, and when it was all over, my eyebrows were thin like model eyebrows. But generally I prefer plucking.

Did you know that writing is like plucking eyebrows?

Your eyebrows look good. Fine. They’re not overly bushy or mono-brow-ish, and they are also dark and accent your eyes. Cool.

ooh, daniel, lookin good...

ooh, daniel, lookin' good...

But then… you pluck for the first time. Ouch. You start to look like you’ve been sobbing for an hour in the bathroom, because your eyes water and your skin turns all red. But — goodness! — it’s a whole new world. Really, were your eyebrows that bushy? And hairy? And did they really crawl that far toward your ears? And maybe you did have a unibrow, after all…

Wow. You and your new eyebrows look good.

show him how its done, emma

show him how it's done, emma

I see it like this. A rough draft is your pre-plucked brow. It looks fine, and the middle doesn’t sag too bad and the characters interact nicely. Wow, you think, this great, until you pull out your red pen. Suddenly you’re plucking all over the place. Ouch. Maybe the middle does sag? And you chop like a Food Channel cook, cut like crazy, trim characters and add tension to places that dragged.

Ta da! Maybe your old draft looked fine, but this draft zings. It’s skinny, sassy, smart, and sexy.

Oooh. Plucking’s good.

Tomorrow: Tuesday Teaser #1 (see some of  The Inbetween!)


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