Apr 07

More Revision and Editing

The Dice




The Dice by Sandie

The sound of something heavy rattling, ominously around inside the box was distracting. He turned it over and over, from hand to hand, all the time he was talking.
I knew it was serious then. He had always been so precious about that box of wooden dice. He had never even picked it up before, not since she had left it there at their last meeting – a tiny gift to lessen the pain of parting.
I watched the numbers, on the faces of the box, turn over and over, hearing what he was saying but not listening, absorbed by the revolving sequence – six, three, two, five, one, four. If I concentrated hard enough I could see just the numbers, hear only the smaller cubes inside tumbling and turning, could ignore the words that were spilling out of his mouth. Blocking out those words was all that mattered. Her gift to him was now a gift to me in my hour of need, holding back the pain which would otherwise escape from its box and spell the end.
He slammed the box on the table. The lid flew open and the tiny dice rolled end over end and across the table. My number was really up now.
Sandie’s story was written when she chose a wooden box, from a selection of objects as a stimulus. The box has a hinged lid and is marked a s a dice with five smaller dice inside.

When revised, some of her changes included:
Line 1: ‘…..rattling, ominously about inside the box…..’ ‘about’ was changed to ….rattling … around… (as just having a better onomatopoeic sound, it rolls off the tongue more smoothly.)

‘He turned it over and over between his hands…’ was changed to ‘He turned it over and over, from hand to hand…. ‘

Line 8: ….smaller cubes inside the box turning over ….. was changed to ‘…smaller cubes inside, tumbling and turning…’ (which has a better alliterative feel.)

Sandie had originally used the words ‘Blocking out’ twice, quite close together and changed the second one to ‘holding back’ the pain… (Line 9)

In complete contrast Marc chose the same object and wrote the following:

The Dice by Marc

Maths fascinates me, almost to the point of obsession, simply because so much of it eludes me.
I can do basic arithmetic but often I get things wrong, because I don´t feel the numbers.
I hover, seeking opportunities to get involved, when my kids are doing their homework, surreptitiously hoping to learn something.

I recently saw a trick which involved calculating someone´s birthday using a formula. It involved things like ´times´4´and ´times 5´…. I forget how it was done but the lecturer doing it said, ´Times 4, that´s double it then double´it again´.Genius! I had never thought of it like that. Then he said, ´Times 5, so times 10 and half it.´Again! Genius!
There are so many patterns in numbers that I can see there is a beauty in the logic, like an art form, but my poor old brain just isn´t wired up for it.

There are LOTS of maths in the written form of music and I totally get those, although I have long since forgotten how I learned, but music is just fractions; beautiful fractions but just plain fractions.
For really beautiful numbers you cannot go wrong with the Fibonacci series. This simple sequence is followed by adding the last two numbers together to arrive at the next, starting with one plus two; 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8 and on: 13, 21 and so on. It is seen repeatedly, in nature, describing the order of leaves on a tree, or the spiral of a pine cone… I wish I could see maths in this way. I love graphs, diagrams and curves. They illustrate the logic of numbers beautifully, and really help, but to be able to see these patterns by just looking at cold numbers on a sheet would be wonderful.
Yesterday, a friend, who is building an amplifier, was explaining his set-up. He had three volt meters patched into the innards and described what was happening: ´I add 110 volts here and this now reads 180 so this one should drop to19, multiply that and you get the wattage.´
´Yes,´ I nodded blankly.
´Imagine a hose pipe and the water is the electricity. Well, this meter measures the electricity coming out and when I turn this,´ he says, poking a screwdriver inside, ´it´s like tightening a jubilee clip and restricting the water.´
Ahhh! Now I get it. I´m afraid I am doomed to a life of needing explanations and numeric short cuts.

Some of Marc´s changes included:

Line 1: ‘…..I´m a little obsessed with it because much of it eludes me.’ became ‘….almost to the point of obsession simply because so much of it eludes me.’

Line 3: Started out as ‘I look forward to being asked for help….’ and was changed to ‘I hover, seeking opportunities to get involved…’ as creating a more entertaining image.

Line 5: ‘…..guessing someone’s birthday from the result of an equation.’ was altered to ‘…calculating someone’s birthday using a formula.’

Having written a first draft quickly and let the ideas flow, it is always worth revising as sometimes a different turn of phrase just sounds better or you realise you have expressed something somewhat clumsily, or think of a better word to say what you mean more succinctly. It does not matter. Revise even before you ‘correct’. There is no point in correcting any spelling or grammar, that might end up being abandoned, until you have decided what is staying in.

Blog 35.(Category. Members’ Work) Tags:Creative Writing,Starting Points,Revising and Correcting

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