When I was frantic last week, a few fiction writers graciously helped me out. And so did an article I picked up today.
As I side note: Did you ever notice that answers come when you ask the right questions?
The surprising source was one of my favorite home decor magazines, Coastal Living. In their November 2011 issue, Million Dollar Decorators star Kathryn Ireland answers a few decorator question. I skimmed through them until I stopped at this:
If you can’t make it out, it says:
What are your rules for hanging art so that it looks pleasing and not chaotic?
KI: I prefer an unstructured look, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t basic principles. I like to start in the center of the wall with the largest piece of artwork, and work outward from there with smaller pieces. I never hang any piece of art higher than the tallest door frame and I keep every painting at least three feet off the ground. Most importantly, I always leave above three inches between each piece so they don’t look crowded-the artwork needs to breathe.
What does this have to do with writing?
It might be far-fetched. But it reminded me of what writer Natalia Sylvester said in her comments of my last post. Maybe it’s okay to let our work-in-progress guide us. Maybe there is freedom in that. Like Ireland says, “[T]he artwork needs to breathe.” But she also says, “that doesn’t mean there aren’t basic principles.” I think that adequately describes the process of writing.
What do you think? Is there a sense of structure in your madness and flexibility in your story’s structure? Is a blending of both needed to tell a good story?