Last weekend was very busy with shopping for last-minute items, and helping my son pack up everything he needed to take with him to university.
Sunday was a very emotional day. Friends had warned me I would cry, but I'd promised myself I'd try not to, but that was a fail on my part. I did shed a few tears, and for a good few hours felt like a piece of my chest was missing.
All is well and he starts lectures on Monday. He's not burnt anything yet, or set the fire alarms off- though a few have already this past week- including one at about 4 am.
So now I'm getting back to my current work in progress, and discovering more about my characters as I write. I've realised my heroine isn't as subdued as I thought she was at the start; and my hero has a cheeky side to his character I didn't know about...
Wednesday evening (17th) I did a session at the writers' club on Manuscript Presentation. It was only meant to be about 40 minutes (with time for manuscript reading in the second half) but every aspect generated discussion, and while it was good that everyone could share their experiences, it took up the whole meeting.
To show how important it was to really read every word and line looking for errors before sending, I gave everyone a brief exercise.
I used the first 153 words of Pride and Prejudice printed out with the punctuation and sentence structure that Jane Austen would have been familiar with. It's an opening most people will recognise.
The one thing I didn't do was remove any commas, as they can be tricky. Austen's language is much more formal and drawn out than nowadays, so I was sure we would have all disagreed on where any removed commas should have gone. So I limited it to creating spelling errors, missing words and general punctuation errors.
Some attendees were finished quite quickly, while others took longer. When it appeared everyone was done we went through line by line, with the
There were only 7 to find, and while many did find them all, others missed 1 or 2. So it was a good exercise to finish with.
I have great respect for all those writers who regularly do workshops and talks, as it takes a lot of thought and preparation time before the event even takes place.
Honestly, those first ten minutes were scary, but I was fine after that... :)