I resoled at the beginning of the year to throw out – preferably recycling in some way, one item for each day of this year. I kept a record for the first four months of all I got rid of, although sometimes I just wrote books, and there might have been twenty of them, ditto CDs. I haven’t been quite as assiduous but I have kept up with the ambition of clearing unwanted stuff from my life.

In terms of actual items, over the last two nearly three months I have got rid of:

  • more books
  • more CDs
  • more clothes
  • more tatty old clothes I was hanging on to from some hang-over time past when it didn’t actually matter if I had a nightie with holes in it, I liked it and it kept me warm – the fact that I had four other un-holey nighties didn’t match up to my hoarding instinct… so nighties with holes in went in January, now they have been joined by a nightie I don’t like (I got a lovely new one for Christmas) a belt where most of the holes are so frayed they’ve joined together, some dilapidated underwear, tops I like that would never suit me even if I lost several stone in weight… oh and shoes that I no longer like/wear/need
  • kitchen equipment such as a mincer, a sausage maker, a pasta making machine, a smoker, a ladle I don’t like and a wooden salad fork – its wooden companion spoon has disappeared completely
  • kitchen trays I don’t like

I am also editing a very long novel I wrote… It has taken me much longer than I expected because there were irrelevant scenes, pages and pages of unnecessary dialogue, plot lines which went nowhere, and just far too many words.

I have lost over 80,000 words, and 150 pages… I really do overwrite, I know I do, and in this novel in particular I think I had it in my head I was going to write in a completely different way from normal and every action a character undertook was described in minute detail, every sound and word uttered, recorded. Nobody would want to read all that!

it is still a long novel, twice the length of my usual ones, but it is beginning to take a better shape and has much better pace. Now I have got to  point when I am looking at particular scenes and thinking… actually, does this even need to be here? What does it contribute? What does the reader gain by knowing it?

For example, a certain event takes place which I hope will be as shocking to my reader as it is to the characters – shocking not in a horrific way but in a surprising and unexpected sense. In order for it then to be believable, I have to later on fill in the back story of how the characters got to the unexpected place they found themselves… I have different aspects of the story which happened before the reveal, but which are explained subsequent to it… I am now thinking I don’t need to have so many and in so much detail. The characters involved could just think about what happened, it could be explained to the reader in a paragraph of their thoughts, not a detailed description of what happened…

So yes, the chucking out continues…

Now as well as losing things and words, I need to lose some pounds in weight…

If you haven’t read any of my shorter novels, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

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