Fiction Friday: I Drink Alone

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By Leslie Lindsay

Write On, Wednesday:  Creating a World So Believable Your Critique Partners Think You're Having an Affair

Still working away on that novel of mine…here we are in 2nd draft re-writes.  What’s the difference between re-writing and revising?  How about editing?  Is that all the same?  Well, no.  At least I don’t *think* so.  Here are my own definitions:

  • Revise.  To my ear, this simply means tweaking the words you already have on paper (or screen).  It may mean making a statement or description more clear.  It may mean switching the order of the sentences…that’s a “new vision,”  or a revise. 
  • Rewrite.  This one sounds harder than revising, and it may be–just depends on where you’re at in the process.  Here’s what I think this means…”you’ve got a great concept here, but it  sucks like a vacuum.  Save the general gist of this piece, but made it much more active by adding in dialogue, subtracting over-zealous amounts of backstory, and removing extra words like ‘had’ and ‘was.’  When I get a submission back with this type of advice, at first I groan and then I have fun because making the scene come alive is really why I love to write. 
  • Editing.  This is really sharply focusing that lense that has become your story.  I think of ‘editing’ mostly as a grammatical phase, but it may not be 100% the case.  Look for typos, gaps in the story/setting/characterization.  Make sure your work is infused with your theme. 

To be “good,” I believe we writers have to be judicious about all three steps.  And to know when each section needs these tools.  Okay, on to the section I have been working on this week.  (It’s probably still not ‘done’).  [As always, this is original work, it’s fiction. It’s not up for grabs.]  Enjoy!

          “I heated my Lean Cuisine in the microwave.  The hum of the appliance lulled me to sleep as I stood at the counter flipping through the day’s mail.  Dinner tonight was Butternut Squash Ravioli with veggies.  The box read: Spa Collection.  Yeah, the plastic tray really made me feel like I was at a spa.  I poured myself a glass of white wine, grabbed the heated meal from the microwave and plopped on the floor of the family room.  Alone. 

         I drink alone, for no one is near. 

         The girls were bed at last.  The digital clock on the DVD display read 8:42 p.m.  The day was over and I felt like I had accomplished nothing.  I sighed and stabbed a ravioli with my fork.  

         I flicked on the TV for background noise and found something about a kitchen facelift for one hundred bucks or less HGTV.  I watched, mesmerized as the woman tacked fabric remnants to the padded kitchen chairs giving the room a whole new look.  My eyes trailed along to my own diaper bag/portfolio wedged in the corner of the room, tucked between a bookcase and a toy bin.  I scowled at it.  As if that was going to any bit of good. 

         You must tackle your fears head on.

         I mumbled a few choice words before I got up and grabbed that bag.   I sure wish her voice would stop taunting me.   

         I tossed out the dried up wipes stained from Madi’s sticky fingers, my lipstick—cocoa rose, and Kenna’s princess coloring book, leaving just my black leather portfolio. I picked it up—no one understands the heft a portfolio, not even one barely filled—and inhaled the new leather scent.  I cracked it open, smoothing my hands over the glossy 8×10’s I had run off at Walgreens.  Images of Kenna and Madi’s bedrooms filled the photos; earthy green walls covered in whimsical trees and birdies for Madi and puppy dogs and ladybugs for Kenna.  I smiled, lost in the memory of creating those rooms at our old house.  I flipped a page.  Our guest bedroom came to life with a rich swirly paisley in greens and blues.  My favorite colors to work with.  Light, airy and relaxing.

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