Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Untangling

rope tangleWhether it’s serendipity, a true reflection of how one activity can bleed into another, or just a certain perspective, I often find what I’m doing in my non-writing life serves as a metaphor for what I’m doing on the page. And, of late, it all seems to be about untangling things.

An hour spent picking at tiny silver chains which mysteriously snarled in my jewelry box when I wasn’t looking. An evening battling knots and coils of yarn while turning skeins into tidy, easy-to-work-with balls. And outside, pruning twisty grape vines and teasing apart strawberry runners gone wild.

At the same time, as I rewrite my work in progress, I’ve discovered places where character motivations are either too complicated to be readily understood, or simply inconsistent. Solving those problems is another kind of untangling, one far more intricate than physically unsnarling snarls.

Same with weaving subplots neatly into the main plot. It’s a delicate and time-consuming process – not only fixing plot knots and smoothing scene slubs, but tracking them down in the first place.

Whatever the untangling project, once it’s finished the result is a sense of accomplishment, of effecting a tiny bit of order in the world. That makes it worth it every time.


  1. Great post for U. Untangling is so satisfying!

  2. Great point to make, and excellent succinct writing to communicate it. You just untied a few of my knots :~)


  3. P.S. ...or should I say...untangled (heehee)