Last month I showed you a picture of some knitting I’d started in what, for me, was a new technique. It began by creating a chain of stitches in a totally different colour which would be removed once the scarf was complete. What a cliff-hanger for you - having to wait a whole month before hearing how it turned out!
It is with much joy and satisfaction that I can report that it was a success. Not only has the “waste row” been removed, but (with the help of a very nice lady on YouTube, who didn’t mind explaining it to me again and again) I managed to successfully graft the two ends together with no visible join.
I’m currently working hard on a novel. All sorts of inner wranglings have kept me from much progress over the last year (some of which were beautifully touched on in Andy Chamberlain’s latest blog) but I’m on a roll at the moment. However, I hit upon a problem during the week when my character did something I didn’t expect. Darn these characters and their real-life tendencies! Actually, Charlie doing ‘that thing’ has unwittingly solved a plot-line thread which will be very useful in about 1000 words’ time. However, him doing ‘that thing’ has also meant having to add substantial portions into previous chapters so that the “bam!” he has created makes sense.
One of the abilities we have to develop in learning to write well is to discern what belongs and what doesn’t; but it’s harder, in my experience, to take apart a carefully-crafted section and graft in new material. Perhaps there’s a need for more detail, or an explanation. Perhaps it’s simply too brief, too concise. Whatever the reason, it needs to be done in a way that the join doesn’t show.
Grafting can seem painful sometimes, but it is necessary. If you look at the gardening world, grafting takes place when plants – for example most domestic apple trees - will thrive much better on a different root-stock. Left to nature, you’d end up with a sickly tree that was prone to disease and not very prone to apples. It might seem damaging to the stock plant to be cut into and have a seedling strapped to it, but it is done by careful hands and the results ultimately speak for themselves.
So, this week, I shall take a deep breath, pray hard, and cut into my writing with confidence, trusting it will be improved. If you want to join me, do let me know how you get on….
Jane Clamp is Groups' Coordinator for ACW and writes for radio. Her first book 'Too Soon' will be published by SPCK in August 2018.