… editing saga on a windy day …

A cup of coffee is the answer. I mull over the problematic paragraph while the kettle sings. It’s the word that doesn’t chime … back to the screen. I pull up Thesaurus. There – a more succinct term. With a warm, tingling feeling of satisfaction, I replace the word and read like for the first time. Still not right. The whole paragraph is flawed. My mind goes blank. I stare at the screen. A sudden comprehension animates, turn things around. I begin to cut, paste, type …

The telephone rings – I can’t ignore the telephone. It could be a client, it could be a friend, it could be my dad saying he has need of me after all, it could be … no, can’t be a publisher. I haven’t sent out queries yet, have I? I press the green button on the phone – the sound of a fax machine. Arghhh, one of those, back to the screen …

Damn, I lost the thread. Ah, the coffee. Didn’t I turn on the kettle a while ago? I return to the kitchen. While the water hums I may as well wash the white shirt I mean to wear tomorrow – done. I take it out to dry on the washing line. I grab three pegs because there’s strong breeze today. I clip on the first peg and have a fantastic aha-moment about the paragraph. I missed an opportunity to engage the reader.

I rush back to the screen and insert more dialogue. Excellent, now it flows, why hadn’t I thought of this before? On to the next sentence, this is easy, just a comma out of place. Commas should be done away with, allowing the reader freedom to imagine pauses. Full points, yes, but commas – I could call it experiential. Stop messing about, get back to your protagonist … I woke in semi-darkness to the scent of mint. Tuck busied himself over a small fire. I wondered why, having poured boiling water over the sprig of herbs, he went on pouring the tea repeatedly from one vessel to another …

A drink – coffee! I knew something escaped my memory. It won’t take long to make the kettle sings again.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “… editing saga on a windy day …

  1. Oh how familiar this all this. the worst I think is when there is someone there that you have to talk to and the sentence is niggling away at the back of your mind “fix me, fix me, fix me” I have on occasion invented a need for the loo and nipped back to the office by the outside door – isn’t that awful. Wholeheartedly agree about commas. If you want to start a movement against them I’ll join.

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  2. Whatever works to catch that thought … 🙂 There are days I know from the start it’s going to be a butterfly-kind-of-day, but some unconscious sorting goes on regardless. On other days I wake up tuned and know everything will flow effortlessly, including the writing. A little chaos now may be needed for the creative process.
    Commas – their so-called correct use annoys. You may have noticed I like ellipses … especially when they trail off into …

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  3. Zan

    I can relate to this scene very well! I have many such days, indeed! Ahhhh – the life of a writer, the agony of getting it just write (pun intended)! Very refreshing to read your posts – and now, off to write myself – now, where’s that coffee?!

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    • Bless coffee. I’m happily addicted to the stuff.
      Re: chaos, I had my share the last two days, driving in London, which inspires the imagination, and the untold. A great treat for changing one’s rhythm, too. More to come 🙂

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