I am bad at editing. I don’t plan my stories and find that I don’t like rereading my own work. The story is only ever fresh to me in that brief moment between conception and preservation, between the initial idea and its translation to the page. Because of this I find the process of going through the work after the fact so much more difficult. Growing a story without clear structure is all fair and good but it is easy to create plot-holes while an excited flurry of wring leaves you prone to typos.
As such, while editing is often dry, demoralising and not remotely creative, it is a vital thing that all writers need to be able to do well. Being bad at it, I have spent a lot of time learning how to get better, some of it by proactively going and reading advice from other writers and editors, others by doing the wrong things and learning from my mistakes. I am still far, far from perfect but since I am in the editing phase myself at the moment, I felt that it might be worth presenting what I have learned for others in my position. Continue reading
It has been over a year since I first posted an extract of my current story. In that time I have learned a lot about editing and actually pushed to get reader feedback so now have a far more polished version of the story. This polishing isn’t fully finished yet but I figured that I would show how far the story has come by posting the 1st chapter of its current draft.
The original version can be found here.
Once again, any feedback is welcome. Enjoy.
A dark shape flew through heavy clouds far above Abernethy Forest. In a land of ancient myths such as Scotland, where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape, it was all too easy to see contorted faces staring down from the icy heavens. The shape disappeared into the churning clouds before erupting out from the silently screaming mouth of an angry god to swoop down low above the treetops. Leathery wings glided serenely for several seconds then lunged into the greenery to vanish from sight completely.
A short distance from here was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge. It had once been a private manor house but had been converted into a hotel in recent years. Fitting with its remote location it was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.
The clouds parted just enough to reveal the moon through the black veiled sky. A warped howl echoed through the snowy night. Nobody heard it over the festivities though. It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the few guests of Aife’s Lodge had forgone seclusion and gathered together in the main hall to celebrate. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the local fauna. Long dead deer and wildcats seemed almost alive in the flickering light. The guests mingled awkwardly in groups of two or three, the conversations gradually becoming less passive as the alcohol flowed. Continue reading
Just like Alice had to awaken from Wonderland
So too do we find ourselves torn from the pleasant fantasy
Of our dearest conventions.
We the weirdos and oddballs who find no peace in life
Who are beaten down and left alone in a sea of reality
Come together to indulge in the make-believe worlds
And form bonds of family that none outside can grasp.
For days we have laughed, loved and lived,
We have belonged. Continue reading
City walls of pale stone stood proudly on the horizon ahead. Around it rougher stone structures clung together in a hodge-podge of designs and materials like a cancer. Farmland covered the ground between the settlement and a lone hilltop many miles from it where a young man stood taking in the sight of the legendary city. Dense forests made a ring around it all.
It was early in the morning and the young man hoped to be within those walls come nightfall. He wiped an arm across his face to remove a trickle of sweat and grimaced at the smell that rose from his sleeve. He had been travelling by foot for over two weeks now without a single change of clothes. Washes had been few and far between and the summer’s heat had been like the innards of an oven for the entire time.
I sit here in the amber darkness, pleasantly drunk on fruity toxins that tug on my thoughts like children on their mother’s skirts. Two decades and more have not immunised me of that harsh orange glow that outlines my midnight world. Continue reading
It is a winter’s night
cold is thick in the air
and my covers do nothing to protect me
from the icy fingers that claw
across my skin.
Steely eyes gaze over clustered concrete flowers
A god of man-made nature looking down upon creation
Always alone except for now
As he stands humbled beneath the female form. Continue reading