01/02/2017
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Under the Microscope extra: Sweet Sorrow

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In the March issue of Writing Magazine, James McCreet runs through a line-by-line critique of Millie Vigor's Sweet Sorrow. Read the original extract and his suggested rewrite below:

Sweet Sorrow - original
They were an odd couple. He was old, white haired and whiskered. Half hidden by the hat pulled down over his forehead his face, which was deeply lined; carried the stamp of a man who worked in the open. The dark suit he wore had fitted him in his prime, but now hung loose.
By his side a girl, no more than eighteen years, kept pace with him. She held her head high and, blessed with the dewy freshness of youth, walked with the confidence of self worth. She wore a coat of brown cloth that had seen better days.
As they entered the village, summoned there by the tolling of a funeral bell, neither looked right nor left.
Susan Jolliffe, purveyor of all things edible in the village shop turned her head to watch as the two passed by. ‘That poor girl,’ she said to anyone who would listen. ‘What is to become of her now that her mother’s gone?’ Whipping off her apron she threw it at Jeannie Potter, her assistant. ‘I’m going to the funeral,’ she said. ‘Somebody’s got to show they care.’
‘I’m coming too,’ said Jeannie.
Susan and Jeannie fell into step behind the man and girl.
Florid faced Jack Simmonds, Post Office, stationery, wools and haberdashery, turned the Open sign on his door to Closed and joined them.  Geoff Smith, baker, hesitated not a moment and leaving his son to watch the oven, followed in the wake of Jack.
By the time they reached the church the little group of voluntary mourners had been added to and numbered a dozen.
The interior of St Stephens was cold and quiet. A shaft of early summer sunshine poked a fragile finger through a window to point at a bunch of flowers on the coffin of Isobel Bartlett...

Sweet Sorrow - McCredited
They were an odd couple. He was old, white haired and whiskered. His deeply lined face was half hidden by the hat pulled down over his forehead – the face of a man who worked in the open. His dark suit had fitted him in his prime, but now hung loose.
The girl walking by his side was no more than eighteen years. She held her head high and was blessed with the lissom grace of youth. She wore a coat of brown cloth that had seen better days.
They entered the village to the tolling of a funeral bell, neither looking right nor left.
Susan Jolliffe, purveyor of all things edible in the village shop, watched as the two passed. ‘That poor girl,’ she said to anyone who would listen. ‘Her mother was everything to her.’ Whipping off her apron, she threw it at Jeannie Potter, her assistant. ‘I’m going to the funeral,’ she said. ‘Somebody’s got to show they care.’
‘I’m coming, too,’ said Jeannie.
Susan and Jeannie began walking behind the man and girl.
Florid faced Jack Simmonds – Post Office, stationery, wools and haberdashery – turned the OPEN sign on his door to CLOSED and joined them. Geoff Smith, baker, saw what was happening and followed Jack, leaving his son to watch the oven.
By the time they reached the church, the little group of voluntary mourners numbered a dozen.
The interior of St Stephens was cold and quiet. A shaft of early summer sunshine shone through a window to illuminate a bunch of flowers on the coffin of Isobel Bartlett...

Read the full critique in the March issue of Writing Magazine

Back to "How to write fiction" Category

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