Sunday, November 1, 2009

Measure twice, cut once, and avoid the chain saw


The carpenter’s adage holds true for many things, including writing. Case in point: A couple we know were building some shelves for their storage shed. The wife (the brains of the operation) was charged with the task of planning the construction and providing the dimensions for the cuts, while the husband operated the power tools.

The husband had a general idea of how everything would fit together and decided to go ahead with dimensions from a preliminary drawing. However, when he assembled cut pieces, he found that allowances had not been made for the width of one of the two-by-fours, and so the legs had to be notched to fit the standard width of a sheet of plywood. Because the unit had already been constructed, the husband decided that the most expedient tool to cut through the double layers of two-by-fours would be ... yep, his electric chain saw!

This same scenario can easily apply to writing ... planning your story ahead of time and knowing how all the pieces are supposed to fit together will spare you the trouble of going back with a chain saw to hack away parts that don’t fit the finished product.

In carpentry as well as writing, it's always a good idea to plan ahead – measure twice and cut once. It may take a little more time up front, but saves a lot of effort later. And the finished product looks neater too!

Dallas White
author of - Mistress Blackheart: Policeman's Prerogative

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