Les Cochran Blog

Fiction Author

BUILDING A HOUSE IS LIKE WRITING A BOOK

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Cover vs Curb Appeal ?

Over the last few years Lin and I have been engaged in writing and marketing my books.  It consumed much of our free time, but all that changed when we started building a new home.

At first we didn’t understand what building a new house would mean for our literary pursuit.  I continued to rise early and write.  After our morning ritual of coffee and reading the paper, Lin was off to her office to implement more book marketing techniques.  I was back to my laptop to continue novelizing.  But, the words didn’t flow and Lin’s marketing effort slowed.    

We became frustrated about our inability to fulfill our goals.  SAX CLUB had been launched, but our promotion effort was lacking.  BLIND PIG was drafted, but was left sitting on the shelf.  And the storyboard for book # 3, LAST CALL had been placed in the closet.

We had several talks before we realized our goals were on my books, but our hearts were on our house.  It didn’t take long before my drafting scale and triangles had replaced my laptop.  Lin’s new focus was décor, design features and paint colors. 

Our excitement grew!

It was sometime later before we realized the parallels between writing a novel and building a house.  And then it was clear—our passions were interchangeable!  From there came the contemporary style and the book genre was defined.

Designing the floor plan was like laying out the story plot.  The more we thought about it; the greater were the connections:

  • The front elevation’s curb appeal replaced the reader’s appeal of the book’s front cover and designing the back porch was like working on the back cover.
  • Then there were the special features of the house. They were similar to sub-plots and scenes in a book.  
  • Online marketing strategies to create reader interest gave way to design techniques creating personal interest and appeal.
  • An entire new line of characters occupied the story—the site supervisor became the lead character, supporting roles were filled by electricians, carpenters, tile layers, drywallers, and cabinet makers.
  • Building targets and deadlines were extended drawing to mind the many times I’d changed my book publication dates.

Our list of new words and phrases went on and on; there were blueprints instead of outlines; sub-floors replaced sub-plots, and “snoopervising” was like “editing.”  I could “cite/site” a dozen more but I think I’ve made the point.

Interestingly, just as we’ve become accustom to our new jargon the completion of the house is drawing near.  And wouldn’t you know it, the old familiar terms—drafts, storyline and characters—are popping back into our thoughts and daily activities—leading us back to promotion strategies and the laptop!

I’ll give you the scoop soon on our plans to re-release SAX CLUB, the first book in the series on the Thorn Birds of Detroit.  Just like building a house – – sometimes changes are necessary to make it better.

 

6 Comments

  1. Just like a book, a lot depends on the author(s). Thus, I suspect this opus will turn out pretty well.

  2. Your new home looks beautiful and Lin is a wonderful decorator so I am sure it will be a masterpiece. Good luck with moving in and decorating. Hope you have a beautiful view from the room you will be using to write many future books.

    • Joanie, You always have such kind words. We do have a beautiful view from our back porch, but the truth is, Lin has a better view of the mountains from her office than I do from mine. She definitely deserves it!

  3. To change the focus of the analogy a bit, fixing a house is like copy editing. Both involve repairing a work that needs a nip and a tuck. I think that you’ve made the better choice to be the architect and author than to be the handyman or editor. Creating is much more interesting than repairing mortar or fixing grammar.

    • Hi Phil – – I couldn’t write it better – – excellent analysis! Thanks. Hope you are doing well.

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