Remodeling my kitchen is beginning to feel like writing a book.
Maybe this is an occupational hazard– everything reminds me of writing a book. Or maybe remodeling is as much as pain in the butt as starting a first draft.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m very happy that we’re doing the remodel and I’ll love my updated kitchen when it’s done. What I don’t love…in fact, what it’s safe to say I DESPISE…are the choices.
Counters. Cabinets. Back splash. Paint. Materials. Textures. Colors. Stains.
Mix and match my options and there are a million ways to go. Wrong.
I’ve got samples lined up on my counter now and I don’t know where to start: do I pick a counter first and then figure out the cabinets? Or visa versa? I’m staring at a blank kitchen and in a way I’m creating a new world–exactly like I do with a new book. And it occurs to me, that I often start with the same question: What do I pick first? Where do I begin? Only it’s not about counters and cabinets — it’s about plot or character.
Plot or Character?
Because in a way the character is my countertop. I can go streaky red granite for drama or terra cotta quartz for an earthy look. I can go black for sophistication or cream for solid, tried and true. My character can be outrageous and like no one you’ve ever seen before. Or, she can be the kid next door, just trying to finish her homework so she can watch GLEE.
The plot is my cabinetry. It’s what gives shape to the story and the characters–it’s the skeleton I build everything on. Again–dramatic or conservative? Crazy blue and yellow painted cabinets…or classic stained maple?
And if you go dramatic on one, does that mean you should go conservative on the other?
These are the questions I’m facing with my remodel and I realize they’re the same questions I face when I start a new book.
Fortunately for all of us who love to write, I’ve discovered one HUGE difference between my remodel and the first draft I need to start soon. INVESTMENT. If I choose the streaky red granite, I’d better like it. Because it costs a LOT of money to buy a slab of granite, to form it, and to install it. One doesn’t just change their mind.
But when we write, all we’ve invested is some time and some paper, or perhaps a kilobyte of computer memory. Yes, it can feel like a lot, but in reality, we can change our minds and make that red granite go away with the touch of a computer keyboard. That means we have the freedom to dive in–go crazy and dramatic, or be quiet and thoughtful. And if it doesn’t feel right, then we hit OPEN and NEW and start again.
Which brings me back to the original question: Plot or character. Where should you start?
The answer, I’ve decided, is it doesn’t really matter, as long as you start.
Now, as far as my kitchen counters…maybe I should gather a few more samples?