Do you remember doing connect-the-dots pictures when you were small? It was usually with numbers, but sometimes it was the alphabet. There were a few squiggles on the page that were a part of the picture and you drew a line from number one to two and so on, until you reached the last number and completed the picture.
Dot-to-dot wasn’t really my favorite art activity as a child. It was kind of neat to find out what the picture was at the end, but it wasn’t very rounded out. You drew straight lines between the numbers, so there were no curves where curves should be. I suppose it might have been more interesting if you liked modern art.
I started to compare connect-the-dots to writing a picture book. It would be great if you could just connect the parts of a story and come out with a great finished book—going from character to setting to plot and resolution. But without the curves—rich language, attention to detail, action, dialogue, rhythm, repetition, and especially emotional connection—it falls flat.
I’m thinking that connecting the dots of the story are like my first draft. In my revisions, I add the curves. Maybe if you like modern art, dot-to-dot could work for you. But for me, I’ll take the curves.
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