Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 07

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

  • Original: 411
  • Edited: 233
  • Difference: 178

Dust, Unsettled

Chapter 02 continued

Original Story

Cover Playing 03“Wanna come? I’ll buy ya a drink?”

“You’ve already had a few, haven’t you?

“No, I haven’t.”

“Those red lightning bolts in your eyes are telling a different story.”

“Get outta here.” Joey pushed away from the counter that separated him and Jessica. “Are ya comin’ or not?”

“Okay, I’ll have one drink and then I’ve got to head home. I’m going to the Sunday Market tomorrow,” she replied firmly, slipping off her smock. “What are you smiling about?”

“Nothing.”

“I mean it. One drink and that’s it,” she repeated. Joey never wanted to leave until the tavern was [An easy ‘was’ to eliminate] closed and then he would insist on a bite to eat [A ‘bite to eat’ could mean anything, so I decided to be more specific] or a movie from the all night video store. She turned off the water valve and pulled her jacket and sneakers from the closet. After turning off the power, she entered the front of the store to find Joey pulling the sliding door from its compartment.

“In a hurry?”

“Just thought I’d give ya a hand. I get bored waiting for you.”

Jessica pulled the door closed and locked it. Giving the door a few strong tugs, she slipped the key into her pocket.

“You’re gonna pull that off the hinges if ya keep that up.” said Joey.

“I have to make sure the lock catches. A couple stores in the mall have been broken into. They think it’s someone from maintenance, but they can’t prove it.” [This is all irrelevant to the plot, so it can easily be removed.]

“Don’t you have any jeans to wear?” Joey motioned towards her pants as they began [‘Began’ can be removed most of the time.] walking away.

“Why? What’s wrong with these?” Jessica hated the short pants, but there was no reason for him to remind her how ugly they were.

“Nothing, Jess. I’m just teasing.” [Dialogue is unnecessary.] He chuckled as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

“Right. You know how I hate these pants. I’ll just take your jeans. Wow, I’d never be able to get those off.”

“I’ll help ya later when we get to my place.”

We ain’t going to your place,” she said, pulling away from his arm. She hated the feeling of an arm draped over her shoulder as much as she hated wearing high-water pants. It made her feel like a possession, like someone without an identity.

“Jessica, come on.” Joey smiled and reached out for her hand. She accepted as he knew she would. “Do you know who’s playin’?”

“Yeah. Whirlwind. They’re pretty good, I think. Didn’t we see them up at the Rodeo a while back?”

Edited

horse walking“Wanna come? I’ll buy ya a drink?”

“You’ve already had a few, haven’t you?

“No.”

“Those red lightning bolts in your eyes tell a different story.”

“Get outta here.” Joey pushed away from the counter. “Are ya comin’ or not?”

“Okay. One drink, then I’m heading home. Sunday Market tomorrow.” She slipped off her smock. “What are you smiling about?”

“Nothing.”

“I mean it. One drink. That’s it,” she repeated. Joey never wanted to leave until the tavern closed, and then he would insist on pizza or an action movie from the all-night video store. She turned off the remaining switched, changed into her sneakers and jacket, and met Joey at the store entrance. They pulled closed the according door and locked it.

“What? No jeans?” Joey motioned towards her pants as they walked.

Jessica rolled her eyes; he knew she hated dress pants.

He chuckled and wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

“I’ll take your jeans.” She tugged his waistline. “Wow, I’d never be able to get them off.”

“I’ll help ya later when we get to my place.”

We ain’t going to your place.” She pulled from his embrace. His arm over her shoulder made her feel like a possession.

“Jessica, come on.” Joey reached for her hand and she gave it to him. “Do you know who’s playin’?”

“Whirlwind. We saw them at the Rodeo a while back. They’re good.”

…until next Saturday

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