Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Sum of Parts

Some things are more than the sum of their parts. Most books, in fact.

I am knee deep in 'parts' right now. My revision process includes cutting my manuscript into distinct parts, dissecting those parts, rearranging them, and, hopefully, putting them back together to equal some magical sum.

This process actually has brought to my mind an ancestor of mine. Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, arranged districts in 1812 to benefit his political party during elections. They named it gerrymandering (pronounced with a hard G), because the resultant district looked like a "mythical salamander". It was not illegal at the time, merely creative. By changing those lines, he got something that was more than the sum of its parts-- and a mythical salamander, to boot.

I am hoping that the creative sum of my novel's parts build into some mythical creature as well. Hopefully that knack is in the genes.


  1. He was just trying to isolate and drown out those nasty folks from Ipswich. :)

  2. Isn't the map funny, when you have personal relevance? It's fun to have a crooked politician in the family.

  3. What a fun story, Heather! Good luck building up that creative sum of parts.

  4. Thanks, Casey, we'll have to see what it looks like when I piece it back together. Hopefully something beautiful!

    Are you finding any relief from your writing frustrations?

  5. Yes and no. I started brainstorming for my new idea and ended up solving something in my rewrite (go figure). So I wrote a bit on the rewrite, and now I'm back to brainstorming the new idea. Circles, I tell you! :p

  6. I love brainstorming--letting my mind go uncensored for a while. How are you deciding what to work on? Whatever is moving you at the moment, or do you employ some schedule of discipline?