Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Excuse#9 Autumn cleaning

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I’m used to spring cleaning. As the sun rises and light floods in through the portholes, I’m used to washing smoke residue from the walls and ceiling. All the furniture that can be moved is, and everything gets brushed, washed and polished before it’s put back in place. Autumn cleaning was a new one on me but, as I do in spring, so I have been doing this week. The floor needed washing and waxing throughout the boat (3/4 rooms done) but the mould growing up the legs of the chairs and along a couple of drawer fronts also begged attention. The fire we lit last week, just for the furniture’s benefit, didn’t magic it all away, and so the past few days have been ones of hands in soapy water.

This concentration on househould maintenance deprived me of the time to read through chapters 7-12 before writing Wednesday. And so, once hubby had cycled off to college this week, it was inside to read. Chapter 7 is dire and took an age to get through. There is much chaff to be cut and 3 and 1/2 sides of A4 of new words and additional description to add in when I get to that point. After struggling through that chapter, which was the one I had to write to move me on in July, the reading came more easily, but I’d still only got to the end of chapter 11 before hubby was home and we cycled off to visit friends.

Although not productive on the words front, it was all useful reading in that:

(1) I found a conflict in character dialogue – Stacy speaking with the voice of Pippa, at least using her tone and words. A quick rearranging of a phrase or two and that’s been dealt with, but it was interesting to find and pleasing that I was able to recognise it.

(2) I identified a couple of chapters are a bit samey – eating and chatting over meals, with different characters involved but not much action. Once I have the whole story down and the first edits inserted/ cut, I hope the big re-read will identify whether this remains an issue in need of addressing.

(3) I was able to pull out a couple of themes to continue through to the last section. Stacy has expressed concern over Pippa’s health (in chapter 9) which have not yet been followed up. And there’s a doctor’s appointment mentioned in passing that the reader needs to know the outcome of. Both must be addressed in chapter 13 or I need to insert a reference further back.

Although I can’t say how I’ve affected the word count, there is a lot of scribble on both the fronts and backs of most of 30 pages, and I hope to be able to read and understand all my notes when I come to edit them in later. Hopefully the next read through won’t elicit quite so much illegible long-hand.

Written by Sarah Ann

October 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm

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