on the writing & reading trail

Editing and critiquing

Day 43 (June 26)

Editing: Setting aside the first 50 pages of the second novel for a few days, waiting for feedback on the first chapter from Writing Group members. I need an opinion about whether it sets the scene for an independent book, given that the two parts that comprise it have been separated out from what was envisaged as a large whole. When I get to the end, the same will apply to the last chapter; will it wrap up well enough to be self-sufficient, before the third book unrolls the next part of the saga? I’m also playing with the idea of a different title – perhaps Present tense. Feels like a good follow-on from Past imperfect – maybe a bit risky though in linking it well enough with the storylines.

Critiquing:  Worked on a disturbing chapter of marital discord, appropriately set in the midst of a tropical Queensland storm (wonderfully described and felt). The woman of the family is not thinking straight, caught in a thrall of guilt about leaving her mother behind in Wales, even though she’d chosen not to accompany them. The husband is frustrated. He thought all had been resolved before they left, and he and the children are loving their new life in Australia. A few glitches, but I could see and feel the tension in the writing. Well done.

Short story competition: My story was not selected. I wasn’t that hopeful as it is a gentle low-key tale, not one to set the senses racing; I’d been aiming for more of a slow burn, but clearly it didn’t work. Not daunted, will keep on trying.

Comfort of knowledge


General:  I think I’ll head off early today. The library feels cold and it is dull and raining outside. Not so many in today even though the schools are on holiday. Home in front of a heater with a fleece around my knees sounds inviting – real old lady stuff. And a chance to continue reading Past the shallows.

When I was in the shopping centre at lunchtime one of the servers mentioned that there was no heating there, and usually isn’t anymore – cost constraints – electricity price hikes – pre-empting carbon price effects that start on Sunday. Concerns are real. Every week there seems to be at least one more shopfront pasted with closure notices. And other places worrying about laying off staff – some have done it already in preparation. The commentators are busy and people are hurting.

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