A thing of many weak parts united into an object of strength… No, actually, I’m not talking about a novel. I’m talking about a light steel construction shed. A kit which the engineers say is cyclonic rated. Of course, it could have something in common with a novel, but generally most novels have at least one strong component. Based on what I’ve spent the last four weeks doing, that’s only necessary because most authors are not engineers.
This may (or may not) be a good thing. It is, however, in the same sense that Mount Everest is, and Alma Cogan isn’t (this for those of you deficient in Python is called ‘logic’. It is quite rare.).
Look, the point I’m trying to make is that in ‘light steel construction’ the entire structure does not fall like a house made of frozen Kleenex hitting its first warm breeze, because some smart bloke has calculated that folds, bends and the inter-relation of the other pieces (also folded, spindled, bent out of stuff closer to tissue-paper than steel) actually is quite strong – but only because it has been treated in specific way, and connected to other bits.
I have been reliably informed (well, my mate told me. That’s better than CNN) that it is not just inertia and the sheer weight of hex head cut screws that keeps it upright (and square!) but that in a house of cards sort of fashion the 2000+ and bolts and roofing screws just make sure the pieces act on one another. That’s why we spent so much time putting them in and taking them out – because there was yet another piece to get involved, or those screws needed to be pan headed not to interfere with the cladding aka folded Aluminum foil (yes, I wasn’t very impressed with the quality of the materials.).
But I will grant that once up it looked remarkably sturdy and did not rattle in the slightest in 50 mile an hour gust. Now part of that may owe itself to the brilliance of the engineers. Or to meticulous precision of the guy putting it together (I was just his off-sider, most of the time. I’m not that precise.) But the end result was a very good 775 square foot shed –with a perfectly flat concrete floor, which cheerfully shrugged off the issues of a gale force wind.
Believe me – especially after seeing the flimsy crap we started with, that’s enough for me to take a few valuable life and writing lessons from. A structure, be it a book, or a light steel shed… is not as strong as its weakest part. That’s only true if that weak part is unsupported. If the other elements don’t mesh with it. It needs Lots of elements all working in concert (or at least screwed together). It’s also true that the craftsmanship (and willingness to take it all apart and do it again, to change, to alter, to get RIGHT) is going to make a lot of difference.
It’s also been an interesting experience for me, as I haven’t actually taken time off writing – more than a day or two, which I try to accumulate word-count ahead for) for… about 20 years. Social media was also majorly curtailed because we started at around 7.30 AM and didn’t usually knock off for more than 10 minutes to eat, and worked 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, for four weeks – from raw bush to completed building. Now maybe it could be done faster (but not as precisely) if we’d either had proper plans (the shed plans were written by a moron) or known how to do it. But it amounted to long hot hard work, and – other than one short and the Monday MGC posts, and some proofs… no writing work. I honestly don’t know if this will have a good or bad effect.
I know I was exhausted with writing.
Now I am just exhausted.
In trying to catch up on the writing world doings and mishaps I see Chuck Wendig lost his writing job, apparently for foul-mouthed abusive twitter rants against half (or more) the audience that don’t share his left-wing politics. Hmm. As that’s been sure route to promotion and being one of the Dahlings for the last couple of decades no matter how tepid your skill, he must be a little puzzled. He reckons winter is coming. That’s odd, as it feels like spring to me, here. I wonder if it is the tide that is finally turning – something I have predicted for years.
We’ll see if it spreads.