on the writing & reading trail

Archive for February, 2012

Edit diary 29 February

Changes afoot

Days 8 to 13 (24 – 29 February 2012)

During days 8 to 11, various interruptions created diversions from the editing task, the main one being a spate of critiquing – for our Writer’s Group routine monthly meeting, along with last-minute requests for comments on short story submissions for a Stringy Bark competition, about to close.

However, yesterday and today (days 12 & 13) were productive. I got back to the first chapters of the restructured Part One of  Always . . .? Wrote several new short scenes, imported scenes from later chapters, expanded some spots, reduced others, and changed the order of presentation in a few places. On first re-scan I think it is will work. Will set aside for later tidy up. I’ve well learned the lesson of making time space before reworking.

Reflection: It’s interesting how story structures evolve. Much of the above rejigging has arisen because of a long-ago decisions about starting points. Each starting point needed backstory through flashbacks. At last have found a linear pattern to reduce that need. Experimentation is the name of the game for me. I envy those who get the structure right first time, but then my characters wouldn’t have had such fun finding their way.

Edit diary update

Day 7 (23 February 2012)

Decided to tackle Part Two today to let the struggles with the Part One early chapters filter in the subconscious for a day or two before reviewing changes. It’s a useful focus while the alterations to Part One are fresh in mind as several scenes early in Part Two are affected by work over last couple of days.

I am enjoying revisiting the Isle of Mull in memory even though protagonist Freya’s time there is filled with sadness after learning that her hopes of a future with Alexander have been dashed. She has no knowledge of the malicious interventions in her life that led to this, as she prepares to move to Aberdeen for midwifery training.

Around the same time, Alexander makes a surprise visit to Glasgow, to be met by the news that Freya has gone away, but is unable to find out where. He takes on a temporary teaching position but is unsure whether to return to Australia or not.

Day 6 (22 February 2012)

Still working on decisions from 20 February. Beginning to shape up. Structural question emerging – will I keep incidents as scenes in one long chapter OR as a series of short chapters? Open mind meantime.

Need to consider feedback from a reader of the draft – suggests more detail needed in parts to balance the emphasis on emotional impact. The story is so long already – I’m thinking seriously on this. She is right of course, I’ve chosen one approach, based on my preference for some limitation on details because I often skip long sections of detail when reading because I want to get to the main story. BUT there is a middle way and that is where I need to go. Any need for expansion probably lends support to the notion of more than one book, maybe even to the notion of a serialisation approach.

Made enough progress today to decide that several chapters needed (not one long one) to cover the incidents included. Struggling to make the changes fit.


Day 5 (21 February 2012)

Good working day. Much progress as identified yesterday; more complicated to change than expected. Not sure it is for the better. Have now identified another back story item to include linearly rather than as flashback.

Foundations for the Dunbar family interactions are laid. Will they lead to future choices or unintended consequences to the detriment of any of them? The protagonist, Freya is in danger of being trapped by love and care for her family and a sense of responsibility. She has a premonition that an apparently innocuous arrangement could turn out badly. There seems no way to retrieve the situation.

Freya and her special friend Alexander end up in different hemispheres; she is in Scotland while he remains in Queensland. Unhappy about the separation they make the best of things and keep in touch as much as they can.


Finding my way. Trying to work out something new each day till I get the hang of it. Could do with a tutor on hand, but finding the support pages helpful.

Valentine’s Day short story

The wave

The Wave

A wave of emotion engulfed Emily, overwhelming, paralysing. She paused, motionless on the shore, the ocean ebbing and flowing around her; oblivious of all but a compulsion to honour a precious chapter in her life, a time of belonging and peace. 

The soft, pure note of then hung in the void, its timbre and frequency quivering into recall. A distant past homing through a fissure in the ether, fusing a precious moment from long ago with a moment now. Whither has this memory come?

This ‘now’ memory calling up union with a moment on another strand, that other time; the same single note from a guitar string, sudden mutual awareness, a halt to the thread of sounds. Blue eyes communing with grey eyes, the making of a forever pledge. 

The forever pledge endured for Emily, through years of doubt and heartache when Lewis’s six-month overseas work absence became mysteriously silent and permanent. Unaware that letters both ways had been diverted and destroyed by an unkind landlady she’d concealed her pain.      

Emily unleashed a softly whispered ‘I love you’ through the swirling pink, gold and white dawn light. The words rippled further, out through the seething energy of the endless universal field. Still Emily stood, waves lapping unnoticed. The message, unspoken for so many years, now unfettered on a nowhere flight. 

And then!!  Into a transparent white space of mind slipped, ‘I love you still.’  Emily was drooping, ‘It came back.’ Then the significance of ‘still’ enwrapped her in remembered warmth, it was not her echo. She threw her arms up to the sky with joy.

How had this wonderful thing happened today?  Suddenly she knew. It was Valentine’s day in this year of 2012.  It had been Valentine’s Day long ago. 


Getting the show on the road. A bit unsure right now.

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