02/07/2018
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Under the Microscope extra: Pearl and Doreen

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Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's humorous novel opening below, and see the August 2018 issue of Writing Magazine for the full critique.

Pearl and Doreen – original

‘Does it have be at Irene’s?’ said Pearl looking over the top of her teacup at Doreen. The two women were sitting up in the huge double bed Doreen had inherited from her parents.
‘Does Writers have to be at Irene’s?’ Pearl went on. ‘Can’t we have it here sometimes?’
‘No. You know she likes a blazing fire to sit by. If she wants to spend that much money on coal it’s alright by me. It's only three bus stops away and we save five-pence each if it's fine and we walk.’ Doreen turned to Pearl ‘What’s wrong with Irene’s? We've met there ever since Friday Writers started.’
But it was more than Pearl’s life was worth to mention the reason.
Doreen sipped her steaming molasses, took a sidelong glance at Pearl, and thought how like a King Charles Spaniel she looked in her fluffy brown dressing gown, with her hair done up in curlers. She felt Pearl, five years her junior and her lodger for twenty, was inclined to be babyish at times.
‘What you want doesn’t count very much,’ Doreen continued, ‘there are six of us who are quite happy to enjoy the warmth of Irene's fire and the delicious high tea she puts on afterwards.’
Pearl sat looking downcast, so in a rare streak of kindness Doreen smiled, patted her hand and said, ‘Read me what you've written to take to Writers this week.’
Pearl brightened, fetched her compendium from her room, and fussed about putting pages in order. There was quite a pile of edited paper now, but as Doreen knew, words failed her in abundance.
‘Continuing my story about two ladies who stole a valuable antique from their rich uncle each year and sold it to fund a weekend of debauchery in Skegness.’

 

Pearl and Doreen – McCredited version

‘Why does it always have to be at Irene’s?’ said Pearl looking over the top of her teacup at Doreen. The two women were sitting in the huge double bed Doreen had inherited from her parents.
‘I mean, can’t we have it here sometimes?’
Doreen turned to Pearl. ‘No. And why would we? If she wants to spend that much money on coal, it’s all right by me. Besides, it's close enough to walk.’
Pearl seemed about to say more but didn’t. She knew better.
Doreen sipped her steaming milk with molasses. She took a sidelong glance at Pearl and thought how like a King Charles spaniel she looked in her fluffy brown dressing gown, her hair done up in curlers. Pearl, five years her junior and her lodger for twenty, was inclined to be babyish at times.
‘What you want doesn’t count very much,’ said Doreen. ‘And I like the high tea she always does afterwards.’
Pearl sat downcast.
Doreen smiled and, in a rare streak of kindness, patted her hand and said, ‘Read me what you've written to take to Writers this week.’
Pearl brightened, reached for her compendium on the bedside table and fussed the pages into order. There was quite a pile of edited paper now, but, as Doreen knew, words failed her in abundance.
‘Continuing my story about the weekend of debauchery in Skegness...’

See the full critique in the August 2018 issue of Writing Magazine.

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