WOULD I WEAR IT?
Years ago, before I began writing for real, I poured my artistic self into sewing clothes. I preferred Vogue patterns. Their complicated sophisticated designs tested a technician's skill level and promised a challenge. I labored over each article of clothing, hoping the final piece would rival state-of-the-art fashion.
When I began my current art form of arranging and rearranging words into stories, I discovered writing is like crafting fabric into a unique garment - pleats, folds, and gathers stitched together so artfully the eye takes in the whole of the finished piece, not the parts. A seamless design, one that captures the artist's skill, elevating the piece from sewing to couture, rather than ensnaring the artist in a critical mass of mismatched plaids and sloppy buttonholes.
Now, as with tailoring, I am continually engaged in the dichotomy between good design and the need for editing. Sometimes I become so involved in the process, perspective become hazy. Questions arise: Is my writing authentic, geared for an interested audience? Or do I add self-serving embroidery, plopped onto the surface, exaggerating experiences to read better and more exciting than life itself? Do I use efficient language? Or do I add too much material, making the piece bulky and fat? Is my voice genuine? Consistent? Do the textures of words make the reader think, or feel, or care? Do I avoid cliché? Or do I stitch triflings into faded cloth with worn-out thread? Do the lines flow into each other with smooth and continuous motion, connecting the boundaries of detail and dialogue? And when the piece is finished, are there intricate patterns woven into a sophisticated, state-of-the-art story?
Would I wear It?
Then, regardless of an uneven hem or a puckered lining, I search for fresh material and innovative techniques to fashion a new narrative - one with such fine stitching it might rise to haute couture - worthy of a reader's runway.