01/08/2018
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Under the Microscope extra: Back to Forever

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Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's first 300 words and for the full critique, see the September issue of Writing Magazine.

Back to Forever

Original version

‘He’s going the wrong way, Milly.’ Steve Ellis grinned as she placed the coffee tray on the poolside table.

He waited till Brad Lincoln about-turned at the pool’s far end, then waggled an empty cup at him.

Brad waved an acknowledgement, swam back briskly to the corner ladder and climbed out of the water. ‘Thanks, Milly.’

‘Okay.’ She poured two coffees before returning to the kitchen.

‘Aah...’ Brad settled into a creaky chair as Steve – his agent and business manager – patted the morning’s mail.

‘Plenty here, Brad.’

You can handle it, Steve.’ Brad reached for his cup. ‘I’m… kinda busy right now.’

After business satisfactorily completed, he eased himself to his feet.

‘Problem, Brad?’

Yeah - back’s playing up a bit.’

‘Pushing too hard? Don’t forget you’re… ’

‘Aw, not the age crap, Steve!’ Brad padded to the pool edge and slid into the water. His overly vigorous strokes prompted Steve’s smile… then…

‘Brad! - Phone!’

He spun round – wiped his eyes. ‘Not now, Milly!’

‘It's a lady!’

‘Well… okay. Just get her number – huh?’ He resumed his swim.

Milly soon came back. ‘I told her you’re in the pool! She said to ask if you’ve still got the costume!’

Brad slowed to a foaming halt. ‘Got… what?’

‘The costume!’

He waded to the side of the pool, gripped the ladder and climbed out. ‘Who is she?’

‘Didn't say.’

‘Okay!’ Turning to Steve, he shrugged, grabbed a towel, followed Milly to the hallway and picked up the phone. ‘Hello. Who is this?’

‘Hello, Brad.’ A short pause. ‘So you're still swimming?’

Brad frowned. ‘Still swimming?’ A whisper from his subconscious stirred a long-latent, younger psyche. He tightened his grip on the towel. ‘Is… Is this who I think it is?’ He could hear the tremble in her breathing.

‘Yes… Eleanor.’

 

McCredited rewrite

‘He’s going the wrong way, Milly.’ Steve grinned and she placed the coffee tray on the poolside table.

He waited till Brad about-turned at the pool’s far end then waggled an empty cup at him.

Brad waved an acknowledgement, swam briskly back to the corner ladder and climbed out. ‘Thanks, Milly.’

‘Okay.’ She poured two coffees and went back to the kitchen.

‘Ah...’ Brad settled into a creaky bamboo chair as Steve – his agent and business manager – patted the morning’s mail.

‘Plenty here, Brad.’

You can handle it, Steve.’ Brad reached for his cup. ‘I’m... kinda busy right now.’

After finishing his coffee, he eased himself to his feet.

‘Problem, Brad?’

Yeah – back’s playing up a bit.’

‘Pushing too hard? Don’t forget you’re...’

‘Aw, not that again, Steve!’ Brad padded to the pool edge and slid into the water. His overly vigorous strokes prompted Steve’s smile.

‘Brad! Phone!’ Milly’s voice from the kitchen.

Brad span round and wiped his eyes. ‘Not now, Milly!’

‘It's a lady!’

‘Well... okay. Just get her number, huh?’ He turned to continue his length.

‘She said to ask if you’ve still got the costume!’

Brad stopped and stood among bubbles. ‘Got what...?’

‘The costume!’

He waded to the side. ‘Who is she?’

‘Didn't say.’

‘Okay!’ He shrugged at Steve, grabbed a towel and took the phone from Milly. ‘Hello. Who is this?’

‘Hello, Brad... So you're still swimming?’

‘Huh? Still swimming...?’ A whisper from his subconscious stirred a long-dormant, younger psyche. His grip tightened on the towel. He could hear the tremble in her breathing. ‘Is... Is this who I think it is?’

‘Yes... Eleanor.’

 

• For the full critique, see the September issue of Writing Magazine.

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