Caught in the Middle of Time

As mentioned previously I have been practising with characters recently.  Here is another offering as if we have caught this woman in the middle of her life.

On a table sat a quiet timid woman who had done everything in her power to avoid eye contact when she entered.  She had spent her time nervously fiddling with her hair and smoothing her clothes down.  On several occasions, the waitress had tried to offer her a menu and she had smiled politely and asked for just a glass of water.  She spent time constantly looking at her watch.  Then restudying it as if she didn’t quite believe what it was saying.  She had positioned herself with her back to the wall and she had a clear view of anyone who walked into the dining room.  Whenever anyone did she looked up nervously.  The disappointment was fleeting on her face when she didn’t recognise that person.  Once she had checked the new arrival she went back to smoothing her skirt and picking fluff and stray hairs from her tweed suit.  The suit looked old and well worn but there was also evidence that it had been well cared for.  She once again quickly looked up at the next arrivals to the dining room.

Effective Editing

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Having just completed a short story and leaving it to sit for a couple of days I have started the difficult editing process.  This is a story I hope will make it into a relevant magazine and is based on one ladies journey into internet dating.  So it has sat there for the required couple of days now onto the difficult editing process.

I have decided to use a 5 step editing system.  Having read several books on writing I have incorporated the best of all suggestions.  My planned process is as follows:

  1. Write the first draft
  2. Edit first draft for spelling, grammar.  Add parts to make it flow better and take out waffle.
  3. The second edit adds description if needed.
  4. Third edit.  Final edit for adding and deleting parts checking spelling, grammar etc
  5. Leave to sit for a week – Final look through, small corrections and send off.

The editing in itself was not that difficult I diligently went through marking all the errors and writing extra scenes where there needed to be some.  Ruthlessly cutting out that waffle that I did not need.  However, the problem arose when I attempted to correct the edits on my computer copy.  Where were the mistakes?  I simply had not marked them clearly enough or big enough to allow me to see them instantly.

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” Oscar Wilde

It is worth mentioning, that I do not plan to follow the same editing process with my blog.  I plan to virtually write, check and publish these in one step in order to keep the flow of posts.  For future edits with storytelling, however, I will need to find a more effective method of marking my alterations on my writing in order to see them quickly and minimise the time editing takes.

What methods do you use?