Writer’s Workshop, week 2

“I wonder how the story can improve from this each week,” said Snow Melts Somewhere last week when I posted my story for the Writer’s Workshop at Go Dog Go Café. Isn’t this the sweetest? This week I tried doing it anyway. Have a look.


W – W

r — o

i — r

t — k

e — s

r — h

— o

s — p


“Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.”

This was the advice that Stephen King got from his editor in high school. He remembers the advice but does’t give the name of the editor? Hmm.

This is exactly what we were to do the second week of the workshop: lose ten percent of our puffiness. At first I’d thought it would be hard but it wasn’t really: I just had to remove 30 words since originally I had 300.

I also spotted one -s missing for the third person, I switched something around, lost some fluff and liked it much better already. As the last one I removed an important word in the last sentence, but I think it carries a better punch this way.

The advice stands then. Just too bad that we are not given the name of the editor. I like to go straight to the source.

Here is my second draft for this week. For the original puffiness go to week 1.

Clip cloppity clop

I am lulled to sleep by Father clicking away next door. It’s his work, he is a journalist. The world lives in the breath between clip and clop and everything is possible. It’s the seventies.

I’m in primary school and already on a deadline. Father’s old typewriter is on my desk. Clip cloppity clop. I type just to make myself heard, over the noise of Duran Duran. It’s the eighties.

Twenty pages on classical music, the teacher said. It’s the last day. I like to… what’s the word… oh yes, procrastinate.

I ask Father for some paper. Not many sheets left.

We count twenty.

No room for mistakes then.

I have a general idea and books lying around with bits of paper indicating useful passages.

I do not measure even once. I do not start and hope for the best. I start, knowing: this will be the best cut. It’s the only option.

I’m in high school, but for our household a computer is still many years removed. One class is called Typewriting and we type on ancient machines. Clip cloppity clop. All fingers do the former work of two. It’s 1984.

The novelty hits me on the head with its simplicity. Right, so now I can move paragraphs around! I can always insert a thought later, and print it out only once everything is perfect! It’s the nineties, and I discover my first word processor.

Typing as fast as I’m thinking, clip clippity clip, on my slick and only slightly noisy keyboard, I’m grateful for the lesson. It’s now, and I know the perfect cut.

In photos: The ruins of San Bruzio monastery near Magliano in Toscana.

For Writer’s Workshop I. at Go Dog Go Café, Week 2, Batting Practice


28 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop, week 2

    1. Hi, Equinoxio! It’s calming down, they say. Around here it’s been really quiet, but I’m in the countryside and we are a couple of stay-at-homes as it is. And in the cities they sing from the balconies. Nature is happy too. Have you seen the state of Venice canals? Fish are visible… All good to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Can’t spot the 30 missing words and it does seem nicely compact now. I was glad to see my fave line still there 😊 Interesting anyway to hear this advice since that’s how I always write: first a long free flow, the I shorten it and take out unnecessary words. Like you said, it can deliver punch. What do I do next, hmm, I sleep on it and have a look with refreshed eyes and read it aloud. I wonder if that’s your next assignment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, SMSW. I wonder too what is coming. 🙂 They are promising a fun task. Refreshed eyes the next day certainly help me as well. But now I’ve been watching this story with fresh eyes for two weeks. All well to you. I shall post a Letter from the quarantine later today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful job, Manja! It is the little things: “I start and know it: this will be the best cut. There is no other way.” became “I start, knowing: this will be the best cut. It’s the only option.” The revised phrasing feels stronger than the original. If you read them out loud, you can hear the difference.

    Sorry it took me so long to read this. Our kitty had been in intensive care a few weeks ago and ended up having a huge surgery this week. He just came home yesterday. Amid global pandemic, it has been a little overwhelming.

    That said, I have tomorrow’s challenge ready and can’t wait to see what you do with it. It is short and easy, but interesting and effective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the gradual progression of the years, the changes from year to year. I also like how everything seems to tie back to the father typing. The short supply of paper is another measure of time. And a counterpoint to ‘procrastination.’

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I would be glad to be quoted, as “voice” is what we come to know here. Cleaned up, it may read better to strangers, but not to those who know your authentic voice.

        Liked by 1 person

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