Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 17

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.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

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: 392

Edited: 286

Difference: 106

Dust, Unsettled

Chapter 05 continued

Original Story

Cover playing 08Jessica had a love for markets like this and yard sales, but lately she found herself walking by many tables, not bothering to check out the merchandise organised neatly in front of the seller. Many things sold were new items that looked like they came from factory outlets or wholesalers. And [‘And’ is one of those sentence starters I lazily used for no good reason.] there were many tables with crafts which were very creatively made but too expensive to buy and useless. Jessica did enjoy looking [I use ‘look’ and all its forms way too often, so I’m trying to cut back. I used it four times in this short section.]  through the hockey cards to see the players she had watched play so many years and had a hobby of collecting a set each season, but with the new craze over hockey cards, the prices had increased dramatically and anyone who can, was taking advantage of this to make a quick buck. [Rant does move the plot forward.] There were at least ten sellers in the market peddling cards to the anxious young faces who pulled their parents to each table in search of that special card their friends were raving about. [I remember these days well; they were the transition from second-hand goods to direct sellers and ‘dealers’. When Sunday shopping arrived about 15 years ago, it caused the death of our lovely Sunday markets and made us a backwards society. Sad.]

There were still the odd tables holding second hand goods used by the families selling them and this was the reason Jessica returned to the market every week. She walked slowly from each set up, outside the stream of people flowing along the mall.  [I removed excess words and tightened the sentences.] Looking back, she spotted her mother examining a pair of red, high-heeled dress shoes. Jessica shook her head. Her mother, she knew, would buy the shoes if they were her size, even though she had two pair at home she seldom wore. The distance between Jessica and her mother grew as she continued down the mall looking for something interesting.

“Jessica. Jessica, hi,” a teenager called her name through the crowd.

Jessica swung around to see a thin girl dressed in a bright yellow silk jumpsuit walk towards her. Her first thought was, ‘how can she afford clothes like that? She attends college all winter and is unemployed. Parents, Jessica assumed. [Unnecessary thoughts that have nothing to do with the plot.] 

“Hi, Jessica, how are you?” Nicholl asked. Her long narrow face glowed with make up and her hair shone with a fresh perm.

“I’m fine. Your hair looks good,” Jessica offered, knowing Nicholl expected the comment.

“Thanks. Do you really like it?” she smile, primping the curls above her forehead. They barely moved, frozen by hairspray.

“Yeah, it looks good on you.”

“I just had it done yesterday. It cost $78.00, but it’s worth it. I love it.”

Edited

Jessica loved Sunday markets, but lately she found herself walking by many of the tables, not bothering to examine the merchandise organised neatly in front of the sellers. Many of the things sold were new items that looked like they came from factory outlets or wholesalers. There were many tables with crafts, which were creatively made but too expensive to buy and often impractical. She enjoyed browsing the hockey cards to see players she had watched over the years. There were at least ten sellers at the market peddling cards to fans, both young and old.

There were still tables holding second-hand goods used by the families selling them, and this attracted her to the market each week. She walked slowly outside the stream of people flowing along the mall. Glancing back, she spotted her mother examining a pair of red, high-heeled dress shoes. Jessica shook her head. Her mother would buy the shoes if they were her size though she had two pair at home. The distance between her and her mother grew as she continued down the mall, searching for something interesting.

“Jessica, hi.” A voice called her name from the crowd.

She turned to see a thin girl dressed in a bright yellow jumpsuit.

“Hi, Jessica, how are you?” asked Nicholl. The teen’s long, narrow face glowed with make-up and her hair shone with a fresh perm.

“I’m fine. Your hair looks good,” said Jessica, knowing Nicholl expected the comment.

“Thanks. Do you really like it?” She smiled and primped the curls above her forehead. They barely moved, frozen by hairspray.

“Yeah, it looks good on you.”

“I just had it done yesterday. It cost $78.00, but it’s worth it. I love it.”

…until next Saturday

Dust pic

 

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2 thoughts on “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 17

  1. Diane, I’m wondering if you should have left the part about Nicholl’s clothes in. It showed a personality trait in Jessica, maybe more than one–sensible, no frills. (Just a thought)

    • Thank you, Glynis, for your comment. I want to paint Jessica as a non-frills, sensible girl; it will help her where she’s going. I’ll make a note of your suggestion and consider it in the next edit.

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