Finally, back to InMon and what fantastic prompts this week. One of them, second bookmark, reminded me of this picture that’s been doing the rounds on facebook etc recently. In addition, I’ve talked to a lot fo my fellow writers recently about editing and it seems the highs and lows of pride and doubt are fairly universal. And so my story below was born. I’d love to hear what you think, if you ‘get’ it and if you like it.
***WARNING: Mild offensive language***
Warren picked up the pad of sticky notes and peeled one off. The only other one he’d used so far flashed at him from the second page of the print-out. He knew exactly what it highlighted: a piece of epic description about Briggs’ descent from low self-esteem into madness. He was no longer certain it was any good, but he’d thought it was at the time, back when he was expecting to need pads and pads of sticky notes.
45 pages further in, it was still the only flag on the manuscript.
He stopped, the single sticky note held in mid-air, somewhere between the pad it came from and the wedge of paper he was going to stick it to. His mind flashed back to the image on Facebook where he’d got the idea: George R R Martin’s Fire and Ice series, with every death labeled by a luminous sticky note. He’d liked the look of it. But his manuscript looked nothing like that picture. And Warren wasn’t flagging deaths. He was flagging passages of excellence. Places he didn’t feel needed radical editing. Parts he was really proud of.
“Parts,” he muttered with a low chuckle. “The part.” The only part so far that hadn’t made him want to throw the entire thing out of the window and sit with his head in his hands rocking and crying and wondering why he’d wasted all those hours on writing this steaming pile of crap.
But now there was a second brilliant passage. He read it through again. This was where his hero, Castor, and his villain, Briggs, came face to face for the first time. It was the scene that had made him want to write the novel in the first place. It was a denouement of sorts. It was the part when he’d really felt as he wrote it, like he inhabited the characters. Briggs especially, who was only the villain at this stage and would later turn out to be the one in the right.
He held his breath as Castor opened the door and saw the whole of New York City set out below him; as Castor searched the penthouse apartment for the man he’d thought was dead; as Briggs – hiding in the shadows of the perfectly-appointed kitchen, his hand resting on the knife block – watched his old friend and sometime rival complete a circuit of the main open plan living / dining room…
The sticky note gradually descended as Warren lowered his arm. It was all too melodramatic. And that New York penthouse was such a cliché. At least he could have chosen a more interesting setting: a city no-one ever used, or a different path for Briggs’ life that hadn’t left him a millionaire.
He put the note back on the pad. It didn’t stick properly and the slight angle it made to the rest annoyed him. He’d drunk so much coffee while writing that now he was on a detox, but the lack of caffeine made him tired and irritable and he could smell it wafting through the apartment. Warren prowled into the kitchen.
“How’s the editing?” asked his wife, her fingers wrapped around a mug. Warren’s eyes flashed to the knife block, then back to her.