Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Editing Never Easy or Ironclad

Every author needs practice at editing and feedback both before and after the revisions.

The following is an example of an author's draft, not mine, where I tried to enhance it in my personal way staying true to the author's original prose. If you'd share how you'd do it different, we all gain. An old adage never more important than practice, practice, practice.

Here is the original sample:

As dusk approached, Eric marveled at the rifle Zachariah had once ownedand now through the old man’s generosity, Eric owned. He grasped the barrel with one hand and the stock with the other. It was a handsome piece of craftsmanship of walnut stock and glimmering steel. He clicked on the safety button and pushed the locking lever to disengage the barrel. There were two cartridges in the chamber. As Zachariah always said, the rifle was useless unless it was always loaded. It was an impressive clicking sound when he opened and closed the chamber. He felt empowered by the heft to it. He took out the two cartridges, fondled them in the hands, a cool and somewhat unsettling feel to them and put them back in their chamber.

Here is my suggested revision:

Dusk hovered ready to descend or be blotted out by the massing crow wings. Eric stood motionless, gravity tugging at his lower jaw, as curled fingers clutched the rifle Zachariah once owned, now his through the old man’s generosity. Eric thrust out both arms to again admire the everlasting craftsmanship of a polished walnut stock routed out for oiled glimmering steel. Bracing the rifle’s butt against his right shoulder, he clicked on the safety and pushed the locking lever to disengage the barrel. Two cartridges in the chamber. Why should he have expected otherwise? Zachariah repeatedly said the rifle useless unless loaded. An impressive sharp click sounded when he flexed the chamber open, closed and open again. The heft empowered him. He fondled the two cartridges in his left hand, the cool metal casing giving them an unsettling feel. Zachariah’s shells more at home nestled in their chamber ready for the firing pin.
Please note I added the crows which show up in the paragraphs after this initial chapter opening. The result for me more descriptive with a sense of drama and a link to the paragraphs that follow. Thank you for reading.

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