And no, I'm not making this up. Florida is a lot wilder than the 62 million visitors a year to our theme parks ever imagine!
Follow-up from Sunday's Orlando Sentinel: the woman, age 37, lost her arm above the elbow. She was swimming in an area where alligators were visible on the banks. A definite no-no. The alligator was fought off by people in canoes and kayaks, using their paddles. A precarious maneuver. Trappers are still looking for the gator.
Update: Tuesday, August 11: the morning paper reports that the gator was caught and killed. The woman's arm was found in its stomach. Interviews have shown that six canoe/kayakers wents to her rescue, bringing the woman back to Wekiva Island draped across two canoes, where two Deputy Sheriffs working as security guards gave first aid until EMS arrived. The woman is a Spanish professor at UCF.
|Seven-mile Bridge on the way to Key West|
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Providing examples of content editing is always a bit of a challenge, but I hope sharing my experiences re-editing the first two chapters of my latest Regency Gothic after 23 days of foreign travel, will 1)make sense; 2) be helpful. Again, I emphasize that every author has to work in his/her own style. But all too often I see didactic statements from authors who are basically telling newbies: "My way or the highway." Don't fall for it! And for the same reason you can question my approach to editing. I do NOT claim to be infallible. I only suggest that if you've been told, "Write, write, write. Keep going straight through until the end before you edit," that concept can go terribly wrong. Well, maybe if you're one of those people who goes back to edit and gets stuck like an old phonograph needle on a "78" record and just don't have the will power to get started again . . .
Okay, so now I'm criticizing someone else's approach. Mea culpa. I just want to be sure new, or struggling, authors understand that other approaches are acceptable. In fact, I cannot even imagine how anyone can go straight through a book without editing - thus missing layer upon layer of "might have beens," additions that never were born during the process of editing chapter by chapter.
So here's what happened to the first two chapters of The Welshman's Bride. I somehow churned them out between unpacking from my move to Longwood and packing to go to the Med, Turkey, and London for 23 days. To say that they needed work is, of course, an understatement. I edited them once before leaving, taking hard copy with me, which I re-edited while lying on my bed in my marvelous balcony room on Norwegian Spirit! But when I got home and looked them over . . . definitely time to edit them again. (And no, I don't usually do so many edits, but circumstances seemed to warrant it.)
So keep in mind that the "original" in the examples below had already been edited twice. (And much the better for it. Let's face it, none of us can work at peak proficiency 365 days of the year.)*
*And, yes, purists, I have violated the rules by using Arabic numerals above instead of writing the numbers out. I do it because the numbers stand out better that way, and this is a blog, after all, a personal statement. In a book I would write out all the numbers: twenty-three, etc.
All excerpts are from The Welshman's Bride by Blair Bancroft. Original text in black; additions in blue:
Page 1 - This addition is an example of expanding information about the heroine's character and about her family:
"He is dark and drear and at least half a head shorter than Lord Morecombe. And Wales is the end of the earth," I added on something closer to a wail than I had intended. For dramatizing my pique was not my way. Wheedling and winsome smiles had worked quite well with Papa, with an occasional stamp of my foot to emphasize my independence to my brothers. As for Mama, she is such a dear we are seldom at outs for more than five minutes.
My cousin's words interrupted my drifting thoughts. "You know quite well every eye followed him at the Edgemere's ball last night. He—"
Page 2 - More on family, plus set-up for the heroine's sympathy for her husband's country.
I did, in fact, consider myself splendidly egalitarian, a modern miss who might acknowledge the French as our long-time enemies but understood what had sparked their rebellion against an unheeding king. Naturally, like everyone else, I was delighted when Bonaparte was defeated and consigned to Elba, but in my heart I still harbored an admiration for the American rebellion that had led the way, demonstrating so thoroughly that the rights of kings should not always prevail. A treasonous thought no doubt, but I was, after all, daughter of a man who was providing vial goods for his country, from cloth to leather to the latest in rifles, while a perfectly useless fat flawn sat on the throne, profligately spending every penny he could lay his hands on. At least that's what Papa said.
Page 4 - More on the centuries-long war between Wales and England, particularly as it relates to the English heroine's possible marriage to a Welshman.
Could I do it? Accept exile in a country where I did not even speak the language? I suppose, looking back, the exotic flavor of it went to my head. I felt like a Medieval heiress, perhaps even a princess, bartered to a foreign lord for the sake of an alliance. As the daughters of Welsh princes had been bartered to English border lords for centuries in a vain hope for peace, the marital alliances seldom lasting long enough for the ink to dry on the settlement papers. As useless, my common sense added on a distinctly sour note, as were nearly all the treaties Welsh princes signed with English kings.
Note: I made a number of more minor changes to Chapter 1 but will not record them here.
Page 13 - This addition emphasizes the heroine's horror at what she realizes was a serious error on her part. I felt the original did not have enough emphasis, for she nearly destroyed her marriage when it had barerly begun.
Correctly reading my frown, Mr. Maddox added, "You have made it quite clear that you are not comfortable with this marriage. Therefore I see no purpose in a few days of privacy that might unsettle you still further. We will return directly to Glyn Eirian, where I hope in time you may accustom yourself to the role of wife. In the meantime you may be assured I will not bother you with what you seem to believe to be my evil intentions.
Oh no! Married but hours and already I was a failure. He was rejecting me. And no wonder when . . .
I had offended him, of course I had. Foolish ninny of a female—having the vapors over something women had been since the dawn of time.
I found my voice at last, the words tumbling out in a rush. "I most sincerely beg your pardon. I admit I am frightened, but that is entirely my own fault . . . .[her apology continues]
Chapter 1 - 4th edit:
Page 9 - Extension of character development, elaboration on the heroine's reason for accepting this suitor when she has rejected so many others.
"I had not thought you a cynic, my lady. More a woman capable of rising to a challenge."
That did it, of course. As he knew it would. "Let me be as frank with you as you have been with me," I said. "It is time I was wed. My other suitors are blatant fortune-hunters or idle spendthrifts desperate enough not to mind the smell of the shop. You are a man of means in search of capital to increase your wealth and improve the lives of those dependent on you. An entire valley, as I understand.
He nodded. "I should have mentioned that I am intrigued by your intelligence, Miss Hawley, and by the fact that your father has nurtured it."
"Thank you," I murmured, and meant it, adding, "and you are right, of course. Though my life has been overly comfortable and uneventful, I am not afraid of a challenge. I would, in fact, welcome something beyond my circumscribed existence."
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Thanks for stopping by,
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
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