Things To Do

Things to do to the first draft of the story I wrote earlier (Let Her Stay (full)) to make it into a second draft (Let Her Stay (penultimate draft)):

  • Use names (instead of ‘she’) to make it clear who is talking and to create empathy with the characters (SA). Give names to characters (SN). Make dialogue personal to make it more personal (SN). Try a section in First Person to get more personal (SN).
  • Show more clearly what motivates these characters and thus reveal the plot (SA). Are they taking revenge for the death of their daughter or are they fighting for independence? (SN) Be clear on the motivations for your protagonists and give us a more emotional connection to them, so that we can understand fully why they act as they do and why it is so important to them (SN).
  • See if you can show the characters in action in a physical world (SA). Show the death of the daughter, strains on the marriage (SN). Show the constraints that the North/South divide has placed on society (SN).
  • Make it clear why she uses Mel Gibson instead of William Wallace (cache of downloaded movies – too expensive now). Make it clear why the history is as fluid (scrubbing collars) as the futuristic elements – the environmental catastrophe has devolved elements of society (LC)
  • Tighten up –
    • take out redundant phrases (LC)
    • remove cliché – get rid of anything that clangs (LC)
    • eliminate anything else that stalls the eye / reduces smooth reading (LC)
    • careful with archaic phrases – ‘donned’ in place of ‘dressed in’ (LC)
    • typos, format, structure or aspects of craft, including grammar and spelling (LC)
    • replace numbers with words (LC)
    • change double to single quotes (LC)
    • a little confusing to switch from birds to trees (SN)
  • Find some science for Scotland coping with climate change better than England. Heat, flood etc. (SN).
  • Cut out sections that do not add to the plot – section one doesn’t really add to the whole (SN). Last section detracts from the quite poignant story that has gone before (SN). Last section does not work (HM). Last section gets too personal and specific so it’s a bit in the way (LS). Could end very effectively on ‘she saw only light’ (LS). I felt disappointed when you brought yourself and tutor into the writing (SW). Metafiction is a risky literary device: pretentious, self-indulgent, confusing and so sticking two fingers up to your tutors advice in the second part of your narrative … (may be a mistake) (AM).
  • Be much more focused on a couple of the big ideas and then use your space to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ your concerns about the political situation or the impact on their child (SN).
  • Make the segue between the Africa/Southern Europe v Northern Europe divide the the England v Scotland divide clearer (this is what it was – this is what it is now) (SN).
  • Remove the dog-shit and the blood in the collar (HM). The line ending ‘dog-shit. Yeah, as mixed up as that’ intrudes on my concentration (SW).
  • Clarify whether museum is in England or Scotland (LS).
  • I don’t think you need the reference to Miss Fletcher – I already had the primary school image of mixing paints and creating whiter skies of clouds (SW). No-one else objected to this, and I like it (RD).
  • Remove the funny bits (S):
    • “Like clean shoes after standing in dog-shit.” (pt 4)
    • “Damn Mel Gibson and his crappy woad” (pt 5)
    • “The Chinese party were keeping off to one side, seemingly not willing to let this sully their celebrations. Good for them.” (pt 6)
    • “His bursts of speed as he dodged and ran inside the closing circle of watchers lent him the look of a circus act – part clown, part athlete – all man.” (pt 6)
    • “a Transformer with batteries fading, dying.” (pt 6)
    • The reference to macaque monkeys (pt 7).

But actually, I just did all (well, most) of those things and submitted it for peer review. Picked up a lot of mistakes by having the computer read it to me. Yay for text to speech!


4 thoughts on “Things To Do

    • I submit it to a website, they (three people randomly chosen by a computer) read it and I read three others and then a week later the critiques are delivered to us. It’s a Masters in Creative Writing with the Open University – all online.
      I’ll post the full story later on. Gotta get some work done first I guess. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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