Saturday, 8 June 2013

Concentration and editing

It seems that no matter how many times I read through my first chapter, I can always, always find something to add in or take out, or simply say another way. I suspect this can become a habit, as much as anything. In a way, it might be putting off the evil moment of selecting an agent and sending it off - and thereby receiving a rejection a few weeks or months later.

Still, reading aloud was an interesting exercise and I recommend it. The only thing is it takes longer than reading silently to yourself. No doubt this is partially the reason why I found so many flaws. The eye moves along the lines at speed, and the brain grasps the essentials, but unless there is a glaring error, doesn't stumble and recognise a poorly expressed phrase.

Reading aloud requires a different sort of concentration. I don't know about you, but there have been times when my silent reading eye has skimmed down the page (or two or three) in a published novel and I suddenly realise I've been thinking about a knotty problem to do with something completely different. Being absent without leave is not possible when reading aloud. Let your mind wander and the whole process breaks down.

This morning we've been to puppy school for the second time, Tim was eager to go into the hall, and looked around for dogs to greet. He and the Alsatian puppy were initially next to each other, but became so engrossed in play that we had to separate them. He got too boisterous for the 11 week old Labrador puppy,  his next neighbour, and made friends with the sheepdog. An hour of 100% attention on what he has to do and what other dogs are doing means he is, to put it politely, knackered when he comes home. Right now he's asleep under my desk!

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