on the writing & reading trail

Posts tagged ‘Edinburgh’

Writing and critiquing

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Writers Group meeting

Our Writers Group meeting where we critique one chapter of each other’s work takes place on the first Friday of each month. It is always an interesting exercise but sometimes the breakthroughs are truly exciting. Today felt special.

It was a delight to find that after a longish break the writing of one member was back to full-bore quality. The struggles she acknowledged with the effort to regain impetus and multiple rewrites paid off – they were not apparent to us. Although she is writing to an audience in another culture, having teens in her household authenticates the interactions between friends, acquaintances and genders in that age group. Every scene sparks. When she’s done, I predict the first agent or publisher to receive the manuscript will be sold straight away.

And because of her daily lived experience her critique of another member’s chapter on teen misbehaviour was so penetrating. The rest of us, now distant from that involvement applauded the small tweaks she suggested that will shift a great chapter to an exceptional one.

I am amazed at every meeting at how differently each of us sees segments of the stories and the mix of issues we pick up on – so valuable in representing the responses of a cross-section of readers.

All of us wanted one author to add depth to anecdotes by incorporating more personal details about lead-in decisions, emotional reactions to events and interesting historical details to cajole readers to feel more involved.

My chapter, about a quarter-way through the third book in The Long Shadows Series is set in wintry Edinburgh. I was grateful for all suggestions to increase the drama of a brother and sister interaction over a family mystery. Also important were promptings to refresh readers on carry-over details from previous books – such helpful reminders. The characters are so clear in my mind I sometimes forget that a new reader (or even someone who has read the previous material) might welcome a recap.

Today’s specialness was the forward leap of the member who has been battling for several years to write the harrowing interpersonal memoir through the final stages of a sister’s terminal disease. After several years she has found the key and is now able to visit the emotional trauma of their experiences with such power and insight. It is wonderful work.

Two members were unable to attend so that’s all for today. Exhilarated when we left.

Nostalgic video

Do have a look at this wonderful video with aerial views of Edinburgh in early winter – music worth a listen as well. Nostalgic for me – I lived there while at Uni long ago.

You can skip the ad if you want to. Enjoy.

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New editing task

Soft air and solitude

Soft air and solitude

New editing task

Today I seriously started editing the third book in The Long Shadows Series – (author Winfreda Donald).

Future Hope begins in Scotland, and it feels like home even though I haven’t lived there for a long time. The early chapters take Freya Prentiss from Edinburgh to Plockton in the northwest with a small side adventure on the way even though she is aching for solitude and an opportunity to come to terms with her recent horrifying experiences during the Sudanese famine.

Writers Group have already critiqued five chapters so I’ll incorporate their suggestions – and in parallel will move forward from Chapter six. I feel I’ve learned so much over the last year and am making a lot of changes – more showing – it’s still a challenge, but I recognise where it is needed now.

I’m on a slight high as Present Tense the second book of the series was launched on Smashwords yesterday. Will submit to Amazon over the weekend. Also, the first book Past Imperfect in both e-book and paperback format has been approved for library distribution locally. Stoked again.

Also working on getting some short stories shaped up for publication. Soon there won’t be enough hours in the days. But seriously I will take a break during the festive season although I expect the mind will churn away regardless.

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