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We have a beautiful whirlpool in our river, the Reversing Falls whirlpool. It’s only visible at low tide, and when the fog isn’t too thick. Google these phrases for more images if you must. Local folklore says that people jump off the bridge at low tide in hopes their body gets sucked down and is never found. They always bob back up. There have been two failed attempts to die this summer. The successful attempts don’t get reported. If I had a nickel for every jumper, I wouldn’t have to write novels in hopes I might retire some day.

Reversing Falls Whirlpool

 Reversing Falls Whirlpool

Reversing Falls Bridge

 Reversing Falls Bridge Whirlpool at low tide

My current novel feels like I’m stuck in the bottom of this thing. I know I posted I was doing well, staying afloat, even maybe about to drive the cool jet-boat that zips through this thing. I can see the water swirling. I can touch it and smell it. I have been on the real one, on the jet boat. I have touched the whirlpool. It’s cold and murky, the color of rotted tree bark. It smells like Winston Rothschild’s weekend camper. My story won’t clear, won’t stop swirling in my head. I need a high tide to flush it all out.

So at this very moment I’m printing the first 100 pages. I have a Sheaffer pen loaded with red ink and another with green. I plan on splitting the printout into two piles and attacking each separately. My stapler handles 28 pages and I printed double-sided. Read, mark up, then update. I am first going to try and assess each scene’s appropriateness for it’s mega-structural-container, its phase in the Hero’s Journey. I will also assess the scene structure. Is the beginning interesting? Can it be better? Is the conflict pulling me along, or am I flicking my lips with my thumb? Is the ending appropriate? Should it be stronger, more subtle, better worded, all that stuff. Finally I will keep a half an eye on the grammar and wording. Just half an eye. I’d like to pass over copyediting, but it’s unavoidable. My internal editor is awake, and he won’t go to sleep unless he’s fed. And I do have lots to feed him.