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Friday, March 7, 2008


We're off to visit family in Chicago this weekend. It always seems to happen that something comes up just when the writing is progressing. So what do I do on the road when I don't have the opportunity to immerse myself in my own world? I always print a "current version" to take with me, and use the travel time as a chance to read it through. I see different things when reading a printed version rather than a page by page version on screen. What kinds of things in particular?

  • Repetition - amazing how that phrase "Maura's brisk pace" occurred three times on a single page. When screen scrolling, I just thought I kept seeing the same one. The page doesn't lie.

  • Pacing - reading a chapter as a whole gives a much better idea of how the scenes meld. Three talky scenes in a row. I need Action!

  • Plot movement and logical activities - Portier spent too much time meeting the manservant, Heurot, for too little gain. Later on in the chapter, Portier needs some information, but I don't see any way for him to get it at that time. (Where and when was this body found and who cares about it?) What would a true agente confide do? Listen to palace gossip. Query the manservant. So I replace part of the "getting to know you and hearing about palace life" interaction with Heurot with, "I have an appointment at the deadhouse tonight, but a footman told me a man was found dead this morning..." Much better use of the space.

Of course I find word problems and poor sequencing and all those various things as well. But at least I feel as if I've accomplished something on the road.

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