Colder. You’re getting colder. (Distance in fiction)

A lot of my photos feature distant subjects. Hmm.

Let’s talk about distance some. Sound good?

You remember that childhood game, right? You’re in a room searching for something hidden and another person knows where it is and as you get farther away, they say, “You’re getting colder.” And if you get closer, they say, “You’re getting warmer.”

(Apparently, there’s are a number of variations on this game with, like, nine thousand crazy names.┬áHuckle buckle beanstalk? Hot Buttered Beans? Really?)

There’s so much “distance” in fiction. There’s narrative distance and emotional distance. There’s the distance you should have from your subject matter and the distance you should give yourself from a draft before entering into revision.

Distance, distance, distance. Why so much? You’d think we writers were avoiding some things.

*Nervous laugh.*

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How to make the editing process cumulative


Look familiar?

So I’m betting a big percentage of us spent at least some time building a Lego construct with some small human under the age of five over the holidays. Right? Yeah, me too.

I’ve got two nephews, each two years old, who are quite enthusiastic about┬ásuch projects. And boy did they get Legos this year. Lincoln Logs, too, come to think of it. Spiky pieces, big and small, littering the floor, dumped onto tables. Everywhere.

But, despite their enthusiasm, these kids, being a bit inexperienced, often don’t set the right foundation for these mega-structures. Or they tack on pieces in the wrong places. As a result, these “buildings” of theirs tend to the toppling stage when they get too big, when too much is added in without taking a moment to stop and think about the overall structure.

This, believe it or not, is a lot like editing a novel.

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