July 19, 2010

The entry in which authors are compared to architects

Okay, both start with the letter “A” and end in “S”.  There are three vowels in each…

Being serious now:

“I enjoyed the premise, but…”

This is perhaps one of the most frustrating themes in a rejection letter an aspiring author can get. A phrase that seems like it should be equaled to absolute praise is actually little more than a building contractor saying that he likes the picture of the house you drew for him.

Any house that is constructed always has a set of blue prints. The most user-friendly interfaces of these blue prints are the floor plan prints (the 2D layout of each room and square footage calculator) and the elevation drawings (the actual picture of each side of the house).

Let’s say now that you, the author, are an architect and your job is to design a template home for a housing community. This house will not be the same as your dream home since this house must appeal to families with different aged children, price ranges, and lifestyles.

You draw the floor plan with a few bedrooms and bathrooms, the kitchen, the living room, the garage... You get feedback and then you make the closets walk-in-closets, and add a washer/dryer area etc…You show it to the contractor.

He likes the way it looks, he likes the floor plan layout and thinks many families would want to live in a home with that style. However, as he looks over your blue prints he realizes you left out the Electrical Plan for the light wiring and the Framing Plan for the roof. Also, this house might be built in California so you’re going to need redesign the concrete footings in the foundation to meet the earthquake codes there. And, there is no sewer in the area  they will be building these homes so you need to include plans for a septic system and leech field.

By the time the contractor realizes everything that is lacking with your plans, he decides to pass. How were you supposed to know that water heaters located in the garage need to be 18” off of the ground level so the pilot light doesn’t cause an explosion when you pull your car into the garage? Still, he liked the “premise”. The outside of the house looked very nice and it had the right number of rooms and kitchen counter top space.

Yes, your house is very lovely, I’m certain a lot of people would live in it if it was built. But the contractor is going to go with the entry from the Cal Poly student because his blueprints are on CAD and included a schematic with the floor joists and plumbing. Changing his flooring in the dining room from carpet to tile is much easier than getting an engineer to design your indoor swimming pool on the second story of your home with cathedral windows on the first floor.

July 7, 2010


In the fashion industry, for something to be technically considered original and  not another knock-off (since all fashion recycles itself ) the new design must have changed at least 20%. 

On the left is the original. On the right is my creation. I've changed the fabric, length, and removed the rosettes.  I also did not include a petticoat.

The inspiration for my design: I was given a request for a casual "beach" wedding dress with vintage inspirations. And since the dress would be for a second marriage, "standard white" was not a prerequisite.

I bought this fabric at a Wal-Mart several years ago for $2/yard. 3 yards of the swirling hibiscuses, and 1 & 1/2 of the interlocking hibiscuses.

I usually use unbleached muslin to sew the samples rather than printed fabric. However, I realized muslin costs about  $2.49/yard and I've got  6 plastic crates full of  uncut fabric I've accumulated over the years.  Definitely a win-win situation.