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Back from six days away.

We dropped the boy off a church camp. Apparently he wowed everybody with his preaching. I’m afraid he’s the next Billy Graham. Sigh. Seriously, though, he has a great speaking voice — from his mother — is very passionate about his faith, and is very serious about his faith.

Sounds like what a writer needs: voice, passion, and faith.

We saw the outlaws and my dad at different towns. I drank too much beer and rum and wine. Yeah. I didn’t get enough good coffee — boo. And I read and smeared some 125 pages of my novel.

I printed the tome off before I left, the first edit stuff. I’ve gone through 320 pages and am a quarter way through. I wanted to accomplish a couple of things while away. I wanted to prove that
1. My story was worth pursuing
2. I’d achieved some sort of consistency in voice and form
3. Dredge up edit number two issues — the micro-editing.

I read these 125 pages worth while driving, sitting alone at night with too much beer in me, or early mornings at a coffee shop. I really didn’t spend that much time at it, maybe four or five hours. But I enjoyed what I read. I really did. I felt it was a logical story with no major gaps and very little unnecessary bits. I think there were some, but I couldn’t nail them down.

I red-penned practically every page and paragraph, not so much the first 30 pages as I’ve been through those already many times, but much of the rest is pretty marked up. This surprised me somewhat; since I’ve been through it a lot already, but it shouldn’t be a big revelation. I’ve always tended to assume a lot in my writing.

Here’s a little example. It’s the first line of a scene.

We arrived without fanfare.

The previous scenes(s) clearly indicate where this destination is, but someone reading this for the first time wouldn’t know. They’d have to go back and review, maybe, not that my readers will ever stop. They will all read from cover to cover without stopping. The real question that hit me was “what the hell do you mean by fanfare?” Is this a brass band, fireworks, or some medieval heraldry exhibition? Fanfare is a summary word. Isn’t this an opportunity to paint a deep, three dimensional image of what just happened?

We drove off the ferry in North Sydney at 9AM sharp. There were no town criers reading proclamations of our arrival, no trumpets lining a path through an adoring crowd, and no fireworks. I didn’t expect a great reception, but there we were, my first time gracing the mainland with our presence, and nobody even batted an eye. We drove through a piloned lane that led us right to the highway. They wanted us off the boat and out of the parking lot as fast as we could leave, so they could prepare the return voyage.

This is kind of cheesy, but it gives you an idea of what’s going through my head. I’m trying to turn a lot of these summary statements into something more meaningful and readable, something a little more engaging.

So now I have a section in edit phase 1 — which by the way I also mulled over — and a section on phase 2. I’m back to work on Monday, and we have renovations to finish and a garden to tend — yes we still have a garden up here, and it is dry.

I feel I’ve made progress, and I feel I’m just about ready to move a little faster.