Sunday, 15 June 2008

All the small things

It is amazing what mistakes you can catch in a piece of writing even after reading it umpteen times. Mainly more continuity points than actual writing errors – such as I had the sentence:

She had been hiding in the largely empty church for about twenty minutes now.

Only now does it dawn on me how on earth would my character know it has been 20 minutes? She had no watch, there is no religious clock counting down the time in her eyesight. So unless she is blessed with super time powers (which she isn’t), 20 minutes is too exact a time to predict. So that has now been changed to:

She had been hiding in the largely empty church ever since the funeral had started.

I also tend to write things backwards at times – like I had just typed:

…or in the kitchen making Florence endless strong cups of tea.

To my eyes that reads right – but it isn’t – the tea can be strong, but the cups – what, are they made of lead? So that had to be changed around. It is so funny what you pick up on – it really is like sieving your words through a fine mesh, and all the wrong ‘uns are the lumps that stay on top. Ew, that sounds like my cooking...

I wonder if real authors are ever truly satisfied with their books, or if they always think they could have improved something? I guess that is the same with artists, they have to know when to finish. I always found with my art work that I’d keep going until the composition clicked into place, and then as soon as my eyes were satisfied it was the right time to stop. Writing articles is a bit like that – you follow your own set plan and then you stop when it feels right, and reads right. Maybe it depends on knowing your audience – I have been writing for one magazine for over two years now, and have a very clear idea in my mind of who reads it, which helps when writing for them. I think I know my audience for this book, but it is a tricky one to guage.

Editing wise - well, I have just finished chapters one and two, and am happy with them. So two down, one to go. It is a slow business, what with everything else going on, but I like to think I am being slow but sure, like that tortoise racing with the hare. Incidentally, my neighbours when I was a child had a tortoise - 'Josey'. It was forever trying to get through the fence - I think Josey used to glimpse our untamed garden and reckon it was a tortoise's Utopia. It was the fastest tortoise in the west when it wanted to be - so Josey, this one's for you.

2 comments:

John - Chapteread said...

I know exactly what your talking about. I usually have someone re-read it for me or I wait a few days so that I look at it with a new pair of eyes.

Jayne Ferst said...

Nice to know I'm not alone! My plan is to get these 3 chapters as near to perfect 'as I can see', and then send them off to a few friends to check over for me - the more eyes the better!

Thanks for commenting!