What’s Your Story — Patchwork

This past weekend, I spent time making a patchwork quilt of my current novel in progress. Basically, I took all the material I had, cut and pasted it (literally) until it was in a better order. It reminded me of two and a half years ago…

I sat in the middle of the living room floor, scissors in hand. The kids had finally fallen asleep and, for the first time all day, silence filled the house. 100 pages covered the carpet, forming a semi-circle around me.

My scissors sliced through scenes and chapters. Bits and pieces of novel, disjointed.

Then the tape. Fragments of story taped to sheets of yellow legal paper.

Half way through the process, my husband came home.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I answered, looking up at him. “Oh. Hi. When did you get here?”

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I think so.”

“Okay.” He stepped over chapter 12 and sat on the couch.

I think he asked if he could turn on the TV. I think he watched some game or something. I just continued to cut and tape. Cut and tape.

“It’s all done!” I declared to my husband, a few hours later (my husband who was, no doubt, asleep on the couch).

I held my patchwork, Frankenstein’s monster looking piece of literature toward him.

“Now I know what the novel is about,” I said. “I really know. Now I need to write.”

Crazed, I sat at my computer and typed, typed, typed. For hours. Then the next day, I wrote more. And on and on.

When the first draft was done, I inked purple edits all across the pages. Then I rewrote the novel.

After ten massive edits, “Paint Chips” is in the line-editing phase. That means that my once scruffy novel is on the desk of an eagle eyed editor who is looking for every single typo before it goes to the galley phase (the dress rehearsal before publication).

My dream is coming true.

My novel will go live for readers in 85 days (January 15, 2013…mark your calendars, pretty please).

But that’s only part of my dream that is coming true.

I am writing a second novel.

I have plans for the third and fourth novels (one of which might require a trip to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere).

Part of the dream is publication. But the bulk of the dream is writing.

I am so blessed that God has given me this life.

Tell me, what is your big, crazy dream? What will it take for you to realize that dream? Have any of your crazy dreams come true? I love reading your thoughts. 

And thank you, thank you, thank you for being part of my dream!

4 Comments on “What’s Your Story — Patchwork

  1. I love this, such a beautiful image. Love love love that the patchwork is nearly at bookshop stage. Wonderful!
    I remember hearing a story like this years ago, when I was writing my first novel. I tried it. It didn’t help me that much, but it felt so good, like it was the right thing to do, some kind of rite-of-passage of books.
    Keep cutting!


    • Thanks, Megan! I’m a very visual person, so this is an especially helpful exercise for me. I was so excited to get the scissors out this time because I knew that what is going to happen next is truly raw and beautiful! And exhausting. 🙂

      Cut, cut, cut!

      Sadly, that means cutting some scenes that’s liked…but that were just not right.


  2. This is really neat Susie- I love hearing about the methods different authors use:) I saw the pic on facebook and thought- How can she make even cutting up a novel look like such talent?! Counting down the days until January!


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