Mumble, mutter and murmur

I’m almost to the point where the polishing can begin… polishing up my next novel, Lucky Portbraddon. editing has been a tortuous process, getting rid of over a third of the text, slimming down, refining, checking for errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar, silly typos and slips of the finger, confusing names for example or inconsistency in spelling them.

Having gone through the manuscript in the normal way, starting at the beginning and progressing to the end, I then attacked it in a different way. I read the last chapter first, then the penultimate and so on. It’s amazing how many things crop up doing it like this; although it’s a reverse sequence, a lot of continuity errors become apparent surprisingly enough, as well as inadvertently repeated words and phrases.

I have now got a list of over-used vocabulary, and thanks to the technology we have it is so much easier than when we had to type or hand write everything. here is just a part of my list:

  • mumble
  • mutter
  • both
  • anxious
  • murmur
  • anything to do with crying, weeping and tears (too much of all of them)
  • hands – holding, taking, touching etc
  • anxious/anxiety
  • lead when I mean led
  • people going white/red/pale with fear, shock anger etc – they sometimes seem to be changing colour like Christmas tree decorations!

I have another check-list, making sure I have properly and consistently described people and places; the characters need addresses, their homes need to be described from the outside as well as inside and put in a described area. Some of the characters have no actual scenes of their own, but they all need to have a description attached to them – and an occupation. There are a lot of characters and I used the device of a stranger, a new girl-friend, meeting them; at first, as any of us would meeting a whole load of new people, identify some straight away by name, Ruby, Alison, Carla, and then attach people to them, Ruby’s sons (not named for a couple of chapters) Alison and Carla’s daughters (just the little girls and the big girls at first) Only gradually, once I feel that the reader will have grasped the families, do I begin to name them – that is the plan, so I need now to double-check the continuity of each character.

So nearly there! A publication date should be planned soon!

If you haven’t yet rad my other novels, here is a link:


  1. David Lewis

    I like watching BBC dramas like Morse and Inspector Lewis on TV but I find that if you leave the room for a minute then you miss the whole plot line and you might as well change channels. At least in a book you can leaf back a few pages to kick start the plot. I don’t care for stories within stories as I get detached and bored. I guess my thought processes work differently because of my technologist job. We used trouble-shooting flow charts that if followed correctly one step at a time would always lead to the solution. Maybe my job made me what I am?


    1. Lois

      Lots of writers write like that, with flow charts and logical progression, I’m a bit like a frog leaping from lily-pad to lily pad trying to catch interesting bugs.
      I don’t like it in stories when the person telling the story suddenly switches to an unknown person, and you don’t know which character it is – or even sometimes if it is a character which has been introduced.
      Like you I don’t like stories within stories – a bit of a back story is ok just to make things clear, but when suddenly you’re involved in a whole new set of characters in a different place and sometimes a different time, then I get so confused, then irritated, then give up!


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