Daily Archives: October 29, 2009

The Analogy Machine: Hair

Normally T.A.M appears on Mondays, but I felt like blogging about it today.

My hair is weird. I supposed I’d describe it as naturally chaotic, always indecisive, mostly misbehaved (without a straightener or hair-dryer). So I like hair-product aisles. I like Herbal Essences conditioners (straightening! curling! anti-frizzing!) and John Frieda products (heat and weather protectant! shine-gloss! curl stuff!) and Pantene-ProV. Hair marketing gets me every time: walking down that aisle I have thousands of fantasies about my new, perfect hair . . . and how this product is going to change my life.

Does it change my life? Well, no. But that’s beside the point.

The process of revision reminds me of shopping for hair products. I have a million cool ideas (new ending! sizzling characters! awesome plot twists!) as I shop the aisles of revision-land. And every new idea seems so shiny and so full of potential.

And then I try the ideas, and not every idea works. Some ideas that claim to bring shine and snazz make the story as frizzy as my hair in the rain. Some ideas that seem like they’ll straighten out all the plot’s kinks and curls only make the story more crazy.


Taming my hair is a constant process of trial and error. Maybe Herbal Essences doesn’t work, but I still have faith in John Frieda. Or…

The revision process is just like finding the right hair product. Trial and error. Shampoo and rinse and dry and — who knows? That new idea just might make your story PeRfEcT.

I’m working through revisions as part of The Call process right now. I think it’ll be a lot of trial and error, a lot of buying new ideas and trying them on for size (to mix metaphors). And it’s exciting. I think a lot of these revisions are going to make this story as sexy and irresistible as hair-model-hair on T.V.

How do you revise? Try new ideas? Make your story so bewitching that everyone (agents, readers, the whole world) just HAS to buy it?

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