As planned, after finishing the raw draft I took a break from the project to clear my head and attend to other matters. This week, I’ve begun the arduous journey of first edit.
The editing process for me involves working through the chapters, one-by-one, and checking for:
• Obvious language errors and typos
• Evaluating words and phrases and choosing better ones where possible
• Overuse or inappropriate use of adverbs and adjectives
• Repetitive words and phrases
• ‘noise’ words – words that don’t add to the writing
• Inconsistencies and inaccuracies with information
• Lame dialogue – dialogue that doesn’t add character information or move the story forward
and a host of other matters.
As foreshadowed in the previous post, I’m adding subtitle quotations to each chapter that ‘comment’ on events in the chapter. For the first chapter, the quote comes from The Sullivans:
“As soon as this one’s born, let’s have another kid. I’d hate to think of a guy growing up without brothers.”
Albert Leo ‘Al’ Sullivan
Eileen was one of nine children and Clarisse, her mother, had those none kids in a thirteen year period, making her basically a baby machine over that time.
Creating the opening lines to a story is always a challenge. The story begins with the children stumbling upon a soldier bleeding from stab wounds at the local bus stop, so I’ve tried several options, choosing in this edit to go with:
“Two aspects of the moment astonished her: bright blood pooling on the concrete pavement beneath the wooden bus stop bench and the soldier’s indifference.”
In real life, a local soldier came home on leave only to find his wife undertaking recreation with another man. A fight ensued and the soldier came off worse. Oddly, he chose to wait for a bus to take him to the hospital and that’s where the Bonney children found him. An ambulance was called but his fate remained unknown.
This edit means adding details like the advertising on the side of a double decker bus – Crompton’s Bunyip Soap – and yes Adelaide had double decker bus services. Glenelg Primary School features and so I’ve gone through the archives and the history of the school in the past week to see what was happening in 1943 and the buildings of the time. Careful checking of hat styles and clothes and rationing has also been necessary to recreate the 1943 environment.
In 2010 I was lucky to go through the rear of the original family home on The Broadway with Mum and the old kitchen and backyard space was still intact. However, by 2018, the backyard was subdivided and demolished, but the old kitchen remains in place, albeit unused. The house is currently a furniture and fashion shop.
Another add-in while editing has been referencing the Anderson shelter that was built in the front yard of the house.
While I haven’t completed an edit of the full chapter this week, I’m hoping to edit a chapter a week from this point forward. I’ll add a post on what I discover while editing to show the process and its impact on the project.
Thanks for following the journey. I enjoy your company.