I’m up against an insanely tight deadline to get this story ready to submit. Despite that, I took the day off writing today.
I got loads of other stuff done instead.
Went to my favourite charity shop (thrift store in the US, op shop in Aus!) to shop their 50p rack. I love wearing my £1 and £2 outfits! It’s a great source for clothes for refashioning too. Nothing spectacular today, but I picked up a pretty white embroidered shirt that I may dye, a nice orange linen vest top, and a couple of soft lightweight jumpers a couple of sizes too big to turn into cardigans or shrugs.
So that meant spending some time browsing crafting blogs for refashioning ideas.
Then time for some raw vegan food prep. While doing the grocery shop I picked up 2.5 kg of bruised bananas for 25p! Time to make carob banana pudding (see photo. I’ll post a recipe soon- it’s delish and one of my favourite things to have for supper when I get home late from the Day Job) and cut up the rest into 2 banana batches to freeze. Then I made tomato & spinach linseed crackers (again- it’s yummy, I’ll put up a recipe for that soon too), and seeing I had the dehydrator going put in a batch of halved cherry tomatoes to make some semi-dried tomatoes for salads.
Then out to the badly neglected food garden, mostly in pots. I repotted the apple tree I bought because I felt sorry for it as the last broken pitiful dead looking stick in the bare rooted tree bin. It’s doing well but needed a bigger pot. It’s now at the writing shed door. Repotted the goji berry (no idea if I’ll ever get fruit off this) which was looking very sorry for itself and found despite regular watering the compost had completely dried out, the poor thing had dehydrated. Harvested the garlic I planted from a couple of supermarket bulbs that sprouted. Planted a thornless blackberry and some strawberries that weren’t happy in pots into the rose hedge, which I’m slowly adding more food plants to. Took out the saladings that had run to seed and put in some lovely pink flowered strawberries I got for half price because they’d wilted. All they needed was a good drink! Planted out the few tomato seedling the slugs hadn’t got. We’ve had such a wet cool summer, the slugs are a nightmare.
I wanted to get some reading done too, but it’s late here now!
Anyway, tomorrow I need to start on the edits. No more time to put it aside. But I needed to empty my mind of my own story. I did think the last four chapters I did on Friday were pretty good. I’m sure muse was at work, because I had that lovely experience of writing something and being surprised, in a where-did-that-come-from? way. Wonderful!
But the problem with that is , I’m too close to it. The early chapters will be easier to edit, because I have a week or so of distance from when I wrote them. The last chapters – not so much. So the glamour and the love of my own words and the ooh-aren’t-I-clever will still be stronger than is helpful.
I really need my CPs to rip into this one hard for me.
And I need to be without ego in the process. I need to be honestly willing to admit where my work sucks. Sometimes that global “My story is crap” is a cover for very deep pride in it. And partially, that’s justified. Anyone who’s completed a first draft has done something so many other people who dream of writers but don’t put in the work will never do. But it’s also a trap. Because it stops us looking at what is really there. Finishing first draft is only half the writing process.
Now I need to lose my love of what I’ve written and examine it honestly, with a surgeon’s eye. There are parts that needing cut out. There are parts that need repair work, sometimes just cosmetic surgery, sometimes deeper more structural work (orthopaedics, to stretch the surgery analogy!).
The story, as it is now, is not fit for reading by anyone else. It’s full of typos. It’s full of cliches, where I just grabbed the first easy way of saying something so looking for a better way to say it didn’t slow me down. There are some places where my words are just plain clunky. There are too many repetitions, I know I do that a lot. And there are places where because I understood what was going on, what the character was doing and why they did what they did, I didn’t explain it enough to the reader.
There are other places where I didn’t have a clue why the character did what they did, I just knew they did so I wrote it and hoped I’d get the reason why later! Well, I have those reasons now, a whole little scene for the heroine came in yesterday’s morning pages, and the hero’s motivation will be just a matter of sprinkling in a few additional sentences here and there.
Word count will be my biggest issue. This is supposed to be a very short novella, ten to fifteen k. what I have tips in at closer to twenty, before I add the extra material!
So some serious word cutting is needed. All my repetitions. All my redundant words. Sentence structure needs tweaking to trim words (often a good way to eliminate passive voice, too, I’ve noticed). Any scenes or parts of scenes which don’t do enough to move the story forward need to go.
That will be the biggest challenge. This is essential a date story, with characters who superficially are complete opposites but under that are very similar. Neither of them want a relationship. They’ve just agreed to a series of very specific dates. So the conflict is in the push-pull of the developing relationship. The pull of their deep Essences calling them to each other, the push of the superficial Identity keeping them apart. I’m not sure that’s enough.