Comment to 'ROOTS, a short excerpt posted for feedback'
  • Hi, I think your writing is lovely, and I was really drawn in, sitting beside Mariza under the chestnut tree. In one or two places, the writing feels a bit distancing, filtered through the narrator rather than written directly, ...and I mused about the people that tilled this land; I thought of how life would have been different...

    I don't know if you've ever read Emma Darwin's blog, but she is very helpful when describing filtering (amongst much else)

    I loved the line, My life in London was like that of an astronaut on a spacewalk: exciting but temporary. However, I thought the final line, She wanted us to sell and move to the bright lights of Lisbon feels a bit cliched. I think She wanted us to sell and move to Lisbon would be stronger.

    I hope this is helpful.

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    • Pat, excellent advice (as usual!)

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      • Pat, excellent advice (as usual!). I totally agree with respect to Emma's website.Since the editing course, it has been my main source for checking how I'm progressing.

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        • Hi Roger, thanks for reading.

          I like Emma's blog and have used it a lot. But... in respect to filtering and distancing, she also says that there are times when filtering words such as "I thought" etc. are irreplaceable. I think Roots is such a case because the words "I mused about" and "I thought of" show the character's thoughts., we are being privy to Mariza's thoughts so the filter is correctly applied. Cutting these words would change the meaning and the scene. What do you think?

          Also, the different topics (the tree, the vineyards, the neighbour, the chestnuts, the family gathered in the kitchen...) all come to the reader through the narrator, Mariza, as a stream of thought. And thoughts are like a thread: one thing leads to another. But they are all linked & anchored to the setting and Mariza. Do you think this works or does the piece feels haphazard?

          For me, everything in this piece is anchored in Mariza's perception and the setting. But other eyes may see it differently. Woud love to have your comments.

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