Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending an exhibition of the neo-impressionist Georges Seurat. He developed a painting technique known as pointillism, a method in which small, distinct dots of pure color meticulously placed on the canvas form an image—this technique has always intrigued me. It was Seurat’s innovative style that altered the direction of modern art and captured the art lover’s imagination.
In order to appreciate a Georges Seurat painting like “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” my personal favorite, and “Bathers at Asnières,” you must take several steps back. I am sure that, during the creative process, Georges stepped back to evaluate his work, assessing color, placement, and form. Like Seurat, it is important for writers to take a step back to evaluate, or reevaluate, the story they want the reader to see. Are the characters compelling? Will the storyline pull the reader in, and carry them through to the end? Does my description paint the picture I desire?
After I have finished my first draft, I edit, correcting typos and other obvious errors. I then set the pages aside, stand back, take a deep breath, and ask do I like the direction my story is headed? While I patiently wait for the story to “come into its own,” I use the time to write the short story that has been rolling around in your head for weeks, or I develop new ideas into future writing projects. Once my story has had sufficient time to percolate, I am ready to begin my second draft.
“Writing is the painting of the voice.” —Voltaire