Day 36 (June 19)
Editing: Today was full-on editing. Have been surprised how much change I’ve made to Chapters 2 and 3 which had previously seemed almost done. They feel improved now, as if the motivations for action by the characters will be as clear for readers as I thought they were for me. But there was a surprise in store; the characters went beyond my visions for them. What a lark! The editing becomes more enjoyable by the day. Freya is finding the relationship with her mother-in-law puzzling. Where are Ruby’s manipulations heading?
I also worked on a late African chapter in the second part of the book to present for the next critiquing meeting of our Writers Group. Same experience as above; some big changes happened. Only issue perhaps is that the word count is creeping up. Hopefully there will be some compensating reductions somewhere.
Reading: Tony Park’s book The Delta is full of violence – very real – warlike with guns and tanks and rockets and explosions and major destruction all over, with personal and political sabotage as well. Not to my taste, but sadly representative of what is happening throughout parts of Africa and the reason for much of the humanitarian medical aid work of Freya and her MSF colleagues in South Sudan in her late 90s timeframe. Similar violence is happening again now. And Park is uncovering a nasty and unexpected personal twist which may become even nastier I suspect. Tonight will see me finishing the book. I am thankful that in the midst of horrors my story focuses more on the saving side. I am glad I read The Delta now though as I’ll soon be editing my African content. Serendipitous.
Day 61 (April 27)
Editing: Going well. Almost done with the latest sweep of Part One of Book One. Tomorrow I move on to Part Two. Still trying to settle on titles for parts and books.
Reading: Weekends seem to come round very quickly. That’s when major reading happens. I’m more than half-way half-way through the keepers of truth, and found the source of the title. Won’t spoil it for anyone – but what an impressive character duo. I love the scene where the meaning becomes obvious.
I’m also planning to revisit The Loop by Nicholas Evans for some light relief – great yarn about the tensions between the protectors and hunters of wolves.
The other book I want to revisit, but with serious intent is An imperfect offering by James Orbinski. In the not so distant future I expect to start editing the second book of the family and friendship saga series I am working on, and want to be in tune with the awful realities of humanitarian aid work. Orbinski’s book among several others, is so compelling about the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and will I hope, help me to bring some authenticity to my own writing. In my Book Two, Freya, after experiencing disappointments and sadness in Australia, sets off as a volunteer with MSF to work in South Sudan.
For anyone who is interested in what happens to the ordinary people (many of whom become extraordinary) in a country during devastating climatic conditions combined with the upheavals and politics of war, I recommend any of the participating country sites for MSF. The one I most regularly follow is www.msf.org.au for contemporary issues. Many such issues are mirrored in what happened in the time-frame of my story, set in the late 1990s. Orbinski’s writing itself is easy and flowing. My difficulty is with the impact of the stories and the need to read in increments to take in the horrors. This is real life, and I guess that is why I can’t read manufactured horror stories.