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Showing posts from April, 2015

Is This How Thor Began?

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Seeing a sight like this amongst the catastrophe of a volcanic eruption is enough to get anyone to their knees.

Editing: The First Paragraph

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This rather macabre image, a photo of a bit of squashed road-kill, was a beginning that led to the invention of many interesting images and illustrations.

In the same way a first paragraph needs to be able to lead into a reader's enjoyment and indeed tweak a prospective reader's intention hard enough to make them want to read. The promise of the whole story to follow must be in the first paragraph.

In my novel Monster-Moored I didn't have that yet. My beta readers found my first paragraph a turn-off. They didn't want the geography lesson I had there. They wanted a description of the main character.

But I resisted for a while. I didn't just want to insert a couple of sentences listing Tardi Mack's attributes. I needed to weave an indication of the whole story into it. I wrote out the first paragraph in longhand a few times, making changes each time. Left it overnight. Next breakfast I had it.

Old first paragraph:

Tardi stopped paddling. He sat up on his surfboar…

About Editing

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There's more happening with editing, but due to my shoulders not working properly, I am suddenly limited to 3 x 15 minute sessions a day on the computer.

So it's back to amending a paper print-out of Monster-Moored. With a pencil or pen, as the day may be. This is a sample of the previous 'real' edit of the same novel. What it may look like when I'm finished with it.


Why did I ever think I could edit any other way? I'm finding so much more to improve. It's so much easier to go forward and back, to check on details. So much easier to make notes than with Tracking.

The Nitty Gritties of Editing

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This borrowed image, thank you for your art Azot2014, a near-perfection illustrating the mood of the forest scene in my post.

Del, a supporting character in Monster-Moored, is in the clearing at midnight. The moon turns off. Clouds perhaps. A storm threatens. Yet she can't go yet, there's a strange light.

This post is about editing. Making the scene stronger by untangling clauses to clarify sequencing, rewriting in the active mode and ratcheting up tension.

Notes for page 107 1: In my first version I had: In the clearing there was enough moon light to see by. She switched off the torch. Transposing these sentences, and making the new second one stronger, works to strengthen Del as well. Good sequencing makes a story stronger, so it is said, and I can see it becoming so on this page. The new version reads: She switched off the torch. There was enough moonlight in the clearing to see by.
2: My awareness of the need for clear paragraphing has obviously grown since I wrote this. …

Editing and Proof-reading

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This mandala was not made by the professional mandala makers, the Tibetan monks, who often visit  these climes. But you might agree that it has a certain charm, and really, if you wanted to use it to meditate over ... sit down, though there's only the ground, I'm afraid, and go for it. Up close you will see enough detail to keep you going a while. 
In the same way that this mandala is 'home-made' so must my novel Monster-Moored be home edited. I'm sure some people will consider it foolish. Or unprofessional. Even impossible. Needs must. 
I had it printed out. Double sided and 1.5 line spaced to save paper. Spiral bound so it can lay flat when open. (Having a go at beta-reading a digital file convinced me that for a comprehensive edit I'd need a paper copy.)
Way back when, when I first began to write, someone advised a loose leaf file. Throw it into the air was the next instruction, and pick it up any-old-how. Edit as the pages come to hand. Pick up 52 they cal…

Nuancing The Game of Thrones

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As I began to read The Game of Thrones once more, feeling myself get involved with the characters and seeing them in my memory in their filmic characters, I realized that the texts and TV series will forevermore be intertwined in my experience of the Song of Ice and Fire series.

It struck me then, that what I was experiencing, were two different nuances of the story, a double serving of the different ways that the story has been and is being told.

Reading the book, I am nuancing it, and viewing the TV version I am nuancing it, albeit a a set of different but overlapping nuances. An audio version would still be that story but yet another set of nuances.

Nuancing can be reading, listening to another reading such as in an audiobook, viewing a film or a TV version. Even spending time on Westeros.org is nuancing.

Books, film and audio-files are all different modes of story delivery. Adding drama, dance and video gaming and we are starting to get a collection of modes for story delivery. E…

The Mysteries of Blogging

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I was pretty amazed on April 1 to open the Stats page to this blog and find about 200 more hits on than normal for the day, making a pretty impressive spike in the graph.




What? I thought. I don't believe it. Google is playing me for an April Fool?

But no, after I checked different pages and posts, the hits were doled out over the usual topics of interests and panned out pretty well, leaving me only with a few questions.

What interest group did I hit on ... was it the sewing and handcraft cohort with the posting of the twin dollies put in an evil spotlight?

Was it my story in the #Street Scenes page that attracted all these people to my neighbourhood?

Was it something in the outside world that suddenly attracted a truckload of US readers to an Australian blogspot?

What? What? What?

I want to know.

I want to do it again.