This post is the next in the ‘All the King’s Editors’ series, the brainchild of WU contributor Dave King. In this series, WU contributors edit manuscript pages submitted by members of the larger WU community, and discuss the proposed changes.
This is intended to be an educational format, and we hope this exercise will generate useful comments about the proposed changes–why the editorial suggestions do or don’t work. Each participating editor will approach a submission in a unique way, and speaks only for him or herself.
If you’re interested in submitting a sample for consideration, click HERE for instructions.
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Hi friends. First of all, I’d like to applaud the brave submitters. It takes courage to submit work for feedback, especially in this public forum.
You’ll see what I have added or moved (in red); the strikethrough shows what I have deleted. While it looks like I deleted and added significant sections, it’s really that I moved sentences around. This writing is really tight as is.
Maggie sets her wine glass down and sweeps a handful of rose petals off the table and into her palm. The rose bush, which blankets the pergola, has been dropping petals all evening. They litter the white embroidered tablecloth, and form drifts around the half-dozen empty wine bottles. When they fall into the flickering votive candles, they sizzle and send plumes of black, acrid smoke into the dark night.
Maggie holds her palmfull of petals toward her sister and raises her eyebrows. “How about a crown?”
When Justine doesn’t protest, Maggie
yanking her sister’s chin face toward her begins arranging She arranges the pale pink petals in a circle on her sister’s Justine’s crown of dark hair.
“Just like when we were kids,” Justine says. “You were always the crown-maker.”
The rose bush, which blankets the pergola, has been dropping petals on them all evening. They litter the white embroidered tablecloth, and form drifts around the half-dozen empty wine bottles. When they fall into the flickering votive candles they sizzle and send a plume of black, acrid smoke into the dark night.
Maggie smiles, focusing on the task. “Right. Because you needed something pretty.”
When she and Justine were younger, people used to say they could be twins: the same hair, the same high cheekbones, and the same long, thin nose. But a babysitter once told them that while Justine was pretty, Maggie was beautiful, a statement Maggie took as a universal truth. She assumed Justine took it that way as well.
Note: I’m curious about Justine’s facial expressions, posture, etc. Can you give the reader some idea how Justine, a grown woman, feels about having her sister arrange a petal crown on her head?
I’d also like to see, right away, who else is at this table; I assumed it was just the two sisters. Could Lizzy and Sonia say or do something during the crown-making to reveal their presence?
I love the imagery. The fragrant, pink petals that–surprise–also create black smoke plumes? Perfect. If we scratch the surface of this family, all is not so rosy! [Read more…]