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Archive for January, 2010

Next project

While I’m waiting for Over the Hills and Far Away to simmer, I’m looking ahead to the future. Already I’m outlining my next project and I’m very excited to see it mature in such a short amount of time. Loads of ideas that should make it a whole lot of fun.

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Over the Hills and Far Away

Not really much to say at the moment as I’m waiting for input from a new reader.

To fill the time I’m re-reading John van de Ruit’s “Spud”, picking up some things I missed the first time around. The parallels are very encouraging.

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Over the Hills and Far Away

There are so many interesting aspects of writing a memoir. Some are funny and/or surprising, and some are frustrating as can be. I’m always amazed at what I thought I knew that I really didn’t or had wrong. One example is that I thought my father left for a new job in Anchorage in 1972, with us joining him the following year. Yet now I’m not so sure. It could be he went to Anchorage in early 1973 with us following him around August 1973. Hmmm…

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I’m very pleased with how the rewrites have gone – they turned out better that I expected. I thought I’d run into trouble due to lack of specific detail but it wasn’t too much of an issue. I rewrote certain sections the really popped, and that all adds up to a better reading experience.

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I wish I could remember who showed me the “trick” of making “creamed” coffee without creamer/milk/other? Put the instant coffee into the cup, add a couple drops of water, and whisk it vigorously until it becomes frothy. Add sugar and hot water and voila – creamy coffee (for a little while, at least).

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Still working on the “parachuting” issue. I’m listing every character in the book and then adding their “introduction” so I can see at a glance how things are handled.

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Working on the “parachuting” issue. My friend in England suggested an introductory sentence or two for characters, so readers had a frame of reference as to who they were in the story. He said his character could have been another student, a member of staff, or anyone. My first reaction was, does it matter? I wanted to say the “who” was not as important as the “why” – why was he in the story? It wasn’t because of who he was. However, in looking at where he appears I agreed – I really did need some kind of introduction.

My friend in Ireland, who made the same comment about a different section of the book, turned out to be a slightly different problem. The “why” was “because he happened to be there” – as far as I can remember there was not much else to it. Yet his character is important because of what happened in the scene. I used the simplest solution there is – I told the reader who he was at that moment: a second former.

There are more editing challenges ahead, I’m sure, but at least the story is complete now.

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