Today was our final editing session, so I couldn't give up this chance to have one more piece of work scrutinised by the group.
I submitted the opening piece of my novella. It is quite an atmospheric piece, about a young girl, who has gone to a deserted cove in the middle of the night to kill herself, but before she actually takes her life she finds an injured seal.
As I was reading the passage out loud I realised that I had used the work instinctively twice in as many sentences. I had broken the cardinal rule, that before I submit anything I need to read it out loud.
The feedback I received was that I had captured the atmosphere really well, the editors knew why my protagonist was at the cove.
Prior to my piece we had been editing a piece about a dog. Everyone assumed that the animal on the beach was a dog! I need to make it clearer that the animal is actually a seal, which is easy to rectify as I could mention that when he looks at her she realises it is a baby seal. Another thing that was brought up was the fact that she has to move him, which would be very difficult if he was full grown.
I also recognised that I really need to do some more research, when asked if there was a chance that my protagonist could be bitten by the seal I really didn't know.
It was pointed out that I write about water quite a bit, and was it significant. I can't say that it is. My husband is from Scarborough and we tend to spend a lot of time up there. I love the sea and my dream is to have a little house near the beach, so maybe it is just my unconscious longing to be back there.
I did receive some lovely feedback, especially from my tutor who picked out a passage he liked.
As I reached the top I took a deep breath. I knew now why the cove was deserted, the state of the path was keeping people away; the state of the path would keep you safe.
According to my tutor it has nice rhythm, but it is a paradox, the path is dangerous. It is nicely compressed in atmosphere, tone and mood.
I have found that editing is all about taking the good points with the bad, there may be things that have to be put right with my writing, but there are times when you know that something works, and it doesn't hurt to have your opinion reiterated.
As a writer I feel it is better to work with the editor. I am able to discuss the points I disagree with, after all none of us feel comfortable about getting rid of our little darlings. Editors see my work from a different viewpoint, and by working with them, hopefully I will end up with an acceptance letter from an agent.