Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Process Notes on Revision

Today I had a few waits in hospital waiting rooms. Getting my blood checked (nothing special just because) and back x-rays (something special - my damn back). I took my condensed manuscript and my big ole coil-bound notebook. I've finished my quick read of the first draft and now I'm analyzing it - looking at characters, plot, suspense, HOLES, drifting lines of too-many subplots - that sort of thing. I had a hard time getting to it while waiting almost two hours for the x-ray, wearing such a fetching outfit, you have no idea!  The reason I had a hard time was I met a very garrulous woman. She was desperate to chat believe me. The man on the other side would have had any uncomfortable procedure than the one he went through listening to her! She told me she was one of 'Butter Box Babies'. Now, unless you're from Nova Scotia or at least Canada, it is unlikely you've heard of the 'Ideal Maternity Home' that existed 70 yrs or so ago in Chester, NS.  It was run by a very cruel, greedy woman who ran scams getting babies from women who were told their babies died and selling the babies to rich parents who thought they were from unmarried girls. She let many babies die if she couldn't find homes for them and they were put in butter boxes and buried in the back. Yep - a Gothic tale of horror and avarice. For more go here - http://www.butterboxbabies.com/index.html
And more importantly - she was THE THIRD OLD PERSON to tell me an interesting story since Saturday. I can't wait til the step-dot hears! I told her the old person stories came in threes but she didn't believe me. Well then! So this woman lived in the maternity home til she was three years old and she told me she took care of the orphans because the nurses were too busy with all the shenanigans. (hmmm...) And she told me another thing that I knew was a lie. She probably believed it but it isn't true. I cannot repeat it because it is too too gruesome but the story itself which became a book and a movie a number of years back - is bad enough without small town myths tarting it up.

Finally she toddled off for her x-ray - and left me to do my work. Oh and to tell every single person that tried to open the lockers to put their clothes in - how to do it because they would try every damn one thinking they were locked when they were ALL tugging on the wrong thing. Man I was impatient today! But I was still helpful even though in my heart I was sinning by burning up with resentment for silly people who don't know how to do easy things.

Finally - what did I do - I figured out the time line. It is rather crucial that I know the history of all of my characters since there is a dad who had two concurrent wives and families. So, that was complicated and it involved MATH. Ick! But the thing is - I got it done.
another Dingle shot...

Tomorrow, I'm staying home all day. I have a few things to do - some gardening tasks, filling out of international student forms (YES!!!) all sorts of things but they will be fit in between great big clumps of revising. What heaven! Oh and the Friday Challenge will be there of course. Only one person commented on my last F.C. - maybe because I posted it on Thursday or maybe nobody much liked it. Oh well, you can't please all of the people or even any of the people some times...

6 comments:

Ann said...

Don't you just love those runway gowns.

Jan Morrison said...

Ann - oooh yes. If only Brad Pitt could've seen me - he'd be out of his mind with lust!

Talli Roland said...

I *am* from NS and I've never heard of this place in Chester! That's horrendous! I hate to say it but it sounds like a great novel, though (I know, I know, I'm capitalising on a terrible story but I can't help thinking it!).

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Talli - it would be wouldn't it. It actually has everything - shall we?
Where in NS are you from? I lived in Chester for many years so of course heard much about the Ideal Maternity Home. There is a movie and you can probably see it on your computer.

Watery Tart said...

It's because she was almost naked that she felt compelled to share her probably (mostly) fictional account... I love that you've gotten THREE stories recently though! Even if it can be annoying at the time!

YAY for timelines! I am so handycapped in my writing until I have one... in fact when I usually talk about outlining, it is actually a TIMELINE I typically do.

Jan Morrison said...

oh tartlett, yes - it would be easier if I did that too instead of after I wrote the damn thing but hey! I didn't know there were two concurrent families and a pregnancy (have to figure that our pretty precisely). Plus I'm collapsing two sisters into one and that can have repercussions. ah, back to it. nice diversion.