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  1. #1
    Jo Mazz
    Guest

    How can I edit this?

    I'm having a hard time with the run on sentences and shortened them in this piece. But in doing that, I'm having a problem with the "I" word. How do I get around that?



    I knelt before the casket for one last look as family members filed out of the room that night. I didn’t want to leave him there alone.


    I stared at his face while I touched his tie, looking at it remembering how he never learned how to make a knot in a tie. I pushed his white shirt cuffs under the sleeves of his jacket so I could see his wrists. I ran my finger along them and touched his hands that only a few days before had touched mine.

    Without tears I spoke to my son for the last time “Rest in peace Danny boy, I love you my son and will always love you.”

    I kissed him on his head and his face. I leaned on his coffin and put my head on his chest. I cried his name over and over until Joe helped me stand, held me in his arms, and said, “Alright, come with me now, and let him rest for a while.”

    “He’s dead Joe! His skin is freezing cold. He’s dead.”

    The sedatives he gave to me earlier that night didn’t hold back my tears. Joe drove us home. We rode in silence. The next day came and went without notice, as did the months that followed.



  2. #2
    Denis Bonner
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    You could try turning it around so it is (for example):

    "the texture of his tie under my fingers..."

    "There were no tears in my eyes as my lips spoke those last words to him..." (though maybe that is awkward).

    Maybe "my last words to him left my lips"? As long as it doesn't sound forced.

    Or even "my final words seemed strained, even to my ears..."

    You certainly don't need to change them all, after all this is a first person POV.

  3. #3
    dan z
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    Jo, I wish I could help you with the words... I'm sorry.
    I will however tell you one strange thing that happened the day I burried my Dad.
    A gentleman of the gypsy 'persuasion' stopped by our house that was in the middle of the funeral turmoil.
    He asked me who died and I answered that it was my Dad.
    "He didn't truly die, he lives still" he answered.
    I couldn't understand him then, yet the very same words made sense to me years later, making the bad pains go away. I still am haunted by the "good ones", I still miss him... especially his smile. You're doing great Jo!

  4. #4
    Judy Spelbring
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    Hi, Jo
    Once again not an expert,
    But maybe the sentence with the tie, you could add a little detail to it like Denis suggested. Something like-
    I straightened his silk tie while...
    Then you could also say something about the kiss
    I brushed my lips against his forehead, and again, on his cheek. How did that feel?
    Leaning against the (what type) coffin, I rested my head on his chest. You could say something about the feeling of his clothes or how he felt against your cheek as you rested head.
    Why did you run your fingers along his wrists? What emotions did that bring? How did that feel?
    Short focused sentences that flow from one point to the next.
    I have trouble with flow too, and I have to rewrite a sentence at least ten times (probably more) before it sounds good, while at the same time flowing with what happened next. Of course my novel is fiction and third person, so maybe it might be different.
    The sentences that Busy and the other person came up yesterday would have taken me at least 20 times before I came up with anything close to that. And they did it right off.
    One thing that I do, especially when I am having trouble with a certain passage, is write what I want in very short simple sentences (and I mean simple) then I go back and expand on them.
    ie: The boy sat at the ocean. Then I might add
    The boy sat at the vast ocean. Then
    The boy sat at the vast ocean, enjoying the breeze.
    Then I continue till I have all the details that I want, and reword.
    While enjoying the cool breeze, which blew in from the ocean, the boy twiddled his thumbs.
    Then I reword and reword.
    The above is a bad example, but I was trying to show you what steps I take.
    It helps me, and yes, it takes forever doing it that way.
    Judy

  5. #5
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    The thought entered my mind that you might consider telling this part of the story in third person. I know that at funerals I attended in the past, a sort of numbness overtook me, and it all felt so unreal. One moment, I cried, the next moment, I laughed with a friend of long ago. My emotions sharded into one another, and I often had the feeling of watching myself perform this awful task, like I was a puppet on a stage filling a role.

    Anyway, I think that sort of emotional wound creates a numbness and detachment from the reality of the moment. I think third person for just this part of the story, or maybe even for the next several months of the story, would be a good device to convey that numbness and detachment. Then return to first person as your healing takes hold.

  6. #6
    Denis Bonner
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    If you like what John proposes, perhaps your character can feel so detached that it seems as if she is watching someone else - she sees herself touching his tie, his hands and so on while a flood of emotions overwhelm her. She is touching without touching. It is surreal. (And he isn't really dead at all.?)

    Then the sound of her voice, the words she speaks aloud, bring her back to reality.

    Or sticking to your scenario, her husband's touch or voice, or merely her awareness of his presence brings her back to being there, her hands on her dead son.

  7. #7
    Busy Lizzy
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    Jo,

    IMO, this needs some more shortening. You can do that without losing any of your content. - Remember: Sometimes less words say more than a conglomeration of phrases. Try this:

    I knelt before the casket for one last look as family members filed out of the room that night. I didn’t want to leave him there alone.

    I looked at his face. Then my eyes fell on his tie. Perfectly knotted, it looked strange on him. Danny never learned how to do that.
    I felt for his wrists. I ran my finger along them and touched the hands that only a few days before had touched mine.
    I spoke to my son for the last time, telling him that I would always love him.
    I kissed his head and his face. Then I put my head on his chest. I kept repeating his name, until Joe raised me to my feet, held me in his arms, and said, “Alright, come with me now, and let him rest for a while.”

    “He’s dead Joe! His skin is freezing cold. He’s dead.”

    The sedatives I had taken didn’t hold back my tears. Joe drove us home. We rode in silence. The next day came and went without notice, as did the months that followed.

  8. #8
    Jo Mazz
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    Thank you Denis.

    If I said,

    "He was wearing one of Joe's silk ties. While I was feeling the texture of it on my fingers,I remembered how he never learned to make a knot in tie."

    Is that better or worse?

    That paragraph was a few pages long. I cut out a massive amountof "telling" about that last night with him. Maybe I cut out too much. I don't know what the hell I'm doing.
    I want to take the story to the end without beating people with sorrow, but it's difficult.

    Thanks again,
    Jo

  9. #9
    Jo Mazz
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    I'm so sorry Dan. I understand your message and for the record, I learned that we don't die.

    Nope. :-)

    Jo

  10. #10
    Jo Mazz
    Guest

    Re: How can I edit this?

    "But maybe the sentence with the tie, you could add a little detail to it like Denis suggested. Something like-
    I straightened his silk tie while...
    Then you could also say something about the kiss. I brushed my lips against his forehead, and again, on his cheek. How did that feel?
    Leaning against the (what type) coffin, I rested my head on his chest. You could say something about the feeling of his clothes or how he felt against your cheek as you rested head.
    Why did you run your fingers along his wrists? What emotions did that bring? How did that feel?
    Short focused sentences that flow from one point to the next."


    Thank you so much, Judy!! This is the kind of advice that I need. I will take that tool and use it, if you don't mind :-)

    Jo

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