Life in progress


34 Comments

Balance

DSC00089

Life is all about focus. Some of us focus mostly on how we feel within ourselves. If we are unwell, it’s the only thing on our minds, unless there is something more important going on outside our illness. When we are well, some of us focus on what is closest in our lives – our family and friends, our homes – and some of us set our focus to our jobs, the weather, and even what is happening in the world. We’re all different that way.

We focus on what makes us happy, and depending on our circumstances, what makes us sad.

In other words, we tend to focus on things that stir our feelings. But what if we could focus on contentment? Balance: that which makes us feel nothing at all. That fine line in which everything is perfect. Nothing is particularly wrong, or right. Everything just… is. The middle ground.

It takes practice, but it can be done.


33 Comments

JusJoJan 13 – What Blogging has Taught Me About Subtracting

From this:

With the door closed it was very quiet in the room apart from the sound of birds cooing. Herman went to the window in search of the source. A line of tall, thick trees at the perimeter of a vast lawn surrounded the house. Daffodils and tulips poked up through the soil as close to the house as she could see without putting her forehead against the glass. Beyond the garden a cobblestone walkway, wide enough for two people to stroll side by side wound it’s way past a patio sat off to the left. To the right was a small brick building with six or eight sides, she couldn’t really tell from her vantage point. It was made of the same colour brick as the house and had many small windows near the top. It looked to be about two stories high. A shed, or a coop perhaps. She turned her back to the window see if the room appeared as domestically normal as the garden. The walls were paneled with dark wood and the furniture was antique, upholstered with red velvet. Along one wall, to her right, either side of the door hung pictures of landscapes rather than family portraits. The wall opposite the door was covered in fragrantly old books. A computer with a the large flat screen perched upon a heavy ancient-looking desk was the only evidence that she hadn’t stepped back in time.

To this:

The sound of birds cooing beckoned Herman to the window in search of the source. A protective line of tall, thick pines stood like sentries around at the perimeter of a vast lawn, and daffodils and tulips poked their heads up through the soil as close to the house as she could see. Beyond the flower garden a cobblestone walkway, wide enough for two people to stroll side by side wound it’s way past a patio off to the left. To the right stood a small red brick building with six or eight sides and a dozen small windows near the top that reflected the gloomy April sky. A shed, or a coop perhaps. She turned her back on the peaceful scenery outside, to see if the room appeared as domestically serene as the garden. The dark paneled walls were adorned either with painted landscapes or covered in bookshelves containing fragrantly old books, lending the student in her warm comfort. A computer with a the large flat screen perched upon a heavy ancient-looking desk was the only evidence that she hadn’t stepped back in time.

Above is first the original NaNo 2011 version of the beginning of Chapter 5 of my manuscript, and second is what I edited it down to this morning. What do you think?

I see this as the result of two years writing experience and endless blog posts which have forced me to write to be publicly read. I see this as the result of two very wonderful people who have critiqued my work and told me in no uncertain terms that I have to put the character in my descriptions. (Thank you so much, Janice and Connie. Honest critique is the most valuable thing a writer can receive.)

In all, I see the second version as something that a publisher might actually look at. But that was one paragraph out of 524 pages.

Back to work!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Post on your site, and join Just Jot it January. The rules are easy!