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Island Life, Word Birds & Process #24

On my bathroom wall hangs one of those pretty plaques – the kind with an elegant font & soothing words. Mine was a gift from my writing sister, Janey (aka Hexica for those of you who know me/her on Facebook.) It urges me to Relax, Refresh, Renew.

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I have no problem with this – I love my bath & as I’ve mentioned before, have a great many writing light bulb moments whilst lollygagging in rose & geranium-scented water. While I worked on this recent, detailed draft of my second book, it occurred to me to add a post-it note to the plaque with the word Rewrite on it.

It took me seven weeks to complete this structural rewrite & I’ve spent the last few days line-editing it too. As well as checking everything in sight with my squinty eyes, when I do a line-edit I read the dialogue out loud. It’s the only way to make sure it’s authentic. Sometime during the process, I considered adding Recite to the mantra.

Living alone has many benefits – not being considered nuts by your nearest & dearest when you talk to yourself (and answer) is one of them. As I waffled away the cat showed up, hopefully translating, ‘It was under a dustsheet, in an old wooden trunk with a pile of moth-eaten clothes’ into ‘Knock yourself out, Misty, have a whole sachet of Dreamies.’ It didn’t work of course & Misty is the mistress of the affronted sashay. (I know – couldn’t resist.) Off she went & I returned to my waffling.

On Twitter yesterday I noticed another friend has been going through exactly the same procedure. Jenny finished her own out loud read through (& added it was time to celebrate with chocolate.)

Quite.

It’s a good trick, this reading out loud lark & one that can’t be over-emphasised. As is the one involving chocolate.

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