Wednesday, June 8, 2016


About a month ago, Dax discovered a damp, moldy patch of carpet under his little sister's bed. We had a sneaky leak in the bathroom that ran under the vinyl tiles and through the wall. Gross.

The wall and the floor in the girls' room was visibly in a lot worse shape than the bathroom, but the bed had hidden the damage. So, the girls slept on couches for a few weeks. We replaced the moldy bits. Their room doesn't look any different than it did before the damage.

The bathroom, on the other hand, needed more of an overhaul. Ben took out the toilet (that just kept finding new ways to leak) and the shower (that had mold growing underneath it). Dax pried up the vinyl floor tiles. A large section of the wooden floor had to come out, as did some of the sheetrock. They've been replaced. When we've painted and put in a new toilet and shower, it will look and function SO much better than the bathroom we've had for the last 13 years, but it's going to take a lot more time and money than the bedroom did.

I've been thinking about how, as a writer, I've found that different stories need different kinds of remodeling at different stages.

Last year, I added two point-of-view characters to my YA fantasy. It was a rip-out-the-tub-and-toilet remodel, and it took a couple of drafts to nail down the characters. I'm getting notes back from readers on my latest draft that indicate my next draft will be more of a mud-and-tape-the-uglies job. Then I can finish it with a shiny coat of new paint. At least, that's the plan. I'm currently 15 drafts into this story.

A little over a week ago, Shelley Moore Thomas (AKA The Storyqueen) announced her intent to write seven picture book drafts in seven days, asking if anyone wanted to join her. I didn't need seven new drafts. Thanks for Julie Hedlund's 12x12, I already have a bunch of drafts that need revising. So I told Shelley that as long as the drafts could be revisions, I was in.

We both cranked out seven drafts. Yay! Some of my revisions were more drastic than others. I killed some darlings, especially in the manuscript I thought had the most potential, and my picture book critique group agreed that it was submission ready when I shared it a few days later.

Currently, I'm expanding a picture book into a chapter book series. It may even end of turning into a middle grade series, but at this point I think it makes more sense as a chapter book series. The picture book was written in first person, present tense. I'm rewriting it in close third, past tense. The main character has a different name, and now the story is rooted in the real world. I like it. I think it will be well worth the effort when I've finished.

And so will our bathroom. :o)

Are you tackling any projects this summer?