I take it back. I’d rather snip a story than inflate it. I know I was upset about brutalising and cutting up my previous one but better that than to puff it out. So of course new story, new submission, new word count… And I got it wrong initially; thought it was 2,000, was even chopping down already (I’m becoming an accomplished lumberjack of wordlands and forests). Oh dear; it’s actually meant to be 2,500. I suppose it's a good learning exercise; I’ve got to do forwards what I’ve always done backwards before.
It does help that the most forceful critique so far on this one has been about expanding my characters. Plus after seeing the inspiringly raw poet Karen McCarthy Woolf last week I wanted to add in more emotional intensity. Then, in a thought-provoking workshop with Marcus Sedgewick on Tuesday the final point he made was about making words count and not neglecting them.
So tonight I’ve been using the word exercises Marcus gave us to pump up my people; containing myself to certain length sentences, exploring the senses, getting cross with acrostics, stealing Ted Hughes’ vocabulary and attempting to A-Void with Perec’s evil no “e” rule. It’s given me some depth, some nuance, some fractaling away from my slightly terse style. I’ve been enjoying the wordness of words.
Therefore I won’t be wadding it up with hot air; I have new substance, I have some new story, I have something to sculpt with. Tomorrow though. My brain now is only useful for reading and I’ve got a new book winking at me from the bedside table; C'laire Fuller's ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’, signed by the author, bought at her book launch earlier this evening.
On more personal edits, I’ve done the full Jillian Michaels’ 30 day shred. My muscles are expanding and my stomach is contracting, not quite to the six pack she has, but I can fit back into my skirts. Yay!