on the writing & reading trail

Edit diary, reading

19 November

Arrived at the library before opening time. Returned a book I could not finish reading; interested in the subject in the broad, but found it too heavy on detail that got in the way of my vision of the characters and the surroundings. Will check my own work on the next sweep through to see if I’ve done the same. Probably not; more likely the reverse. While waiting, I found new colour to photograph. Don’t know the name of this wonderful red foliage but it looks well with the nearby jacaranda still in flower. Now there are both red and purple carpets, courtesy of our recent high winds and storms. No damage in our locality but much elsewhere.

Windblown carpet

Editing: Slow. Made quite a few changes, mostly chopping sentences where I’d already cut content. And the same old business of changing the order within both sentences and paragraphs as well as finding the passive sentences that an agent had mentioned were there. Didn’t change them all; kept some for variety, and deleted some. The following is a short extract from the prologue of Past imperfect.

Glasgow – mid-October, 1970: – Rushes of energy rippled through the girl’s body like it sometimes did at home when a storm was building. There, it was always safe under the house or in one of the rooms. Puzzled at feeling scared like this inside her grandmother’s flat, she tightened her fingers around her father’s hand and half-stepped sideways to sense comfort from her mother’s soft wool coat.

The old lady was almost spitting, her face contorted, ‘No . . . No, I won’t go with you. I’ve told you before I’m not interested in traipsing about. Certainly not to that godless place.’

The girl cringed inside, but showed no expression, as the grandmother’s dark eyes bored into her. Fretting at the dissension she wondered if the reaction was stronger because today’s visit was her choice?

She wanted, . . . needed, to see where her mother had lived as a small child; to claim some insight into her mother’s life before it had been swallowed by the depressions. Mother’s memory of those years was vague, and grandmother would only say, ‘It’s all best forgotten.’

The older brother and younger sister were fidgeting, standing by the door, ready to leave. They didn’t mind if grandmother stayed home or went with them but their sister let her breath out gently, and felt her father’s hand relax around hers as he ushered her towards the door. Mrs Brown, the housekeeper was holding it open for them.

Outside, life in the grey city hummed under a lowering sky. Happed up people huddled and hurried along streets and cobbled paths that were greased and dark with the smirr of morning rain. It could turn into an anything kind of day but hadn’t yet made up its mind; to sun, or stay with rain, or sleet, or maybe even drop some early snow.

###

Spent a lot of time rejigging the short synopsis (300 words) and playing with the idea of the elevator pitch. No short synopsis can embody the complexity of a family saga with a couple of sub-plots, but I did the best I could to show the over-riding conflicts for the two major characters. Next task will be to work on the longer synopsis.

Reading: Found another Dorothy Kroomson book, goodnight, beautiful. Now there’s an author who seamlessly does detail, both physical and emotional and I never want to stray. I’ve only started the story but it is powerful, about complicated personal and family matters. You can find out more about Dorothy at http://www.dorothykoomson.co.uk/before-the-rose-petal-beach-a-special-free-ebook-prequel-available/ I’m predicting that many people will be hooked if they take a look at this website.

Also started a book about brain health but may not keep going. It seems a bit out of date and I’ll jettison it if I don’t find any new material in the next couple of chapters. I can get updates on old information in later publications for sure. My fault, should have checked publication date.

Critiquing: It’s almost time to be pulling a chapter together for our next meeting, and to have the chapters piling in. I always enjoy this time of the month to travel far afield, literally and metaphorically. My chapter will still be with Alexander, in Kruger National Park on his solo flying survey, when he stumbles (can you do that in an aircraft?) on what may be an illegal elephant cull.

 

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