Yesterday after four years of living together I took an axe to one of my ‘guinea pigs’. It was a deliberate wanton act on my part.Don’t worry no actual guinea pigs were harmed by my actions. I am an animal lover. The guinea pigs I am referring to are my pet names for those sentences that you get ridiculously attached to when you are working on a story. The cute fluffy ones that are so self-consciously wordy that one day you know you are going to have to kill them off. And yet somehow they survive edit after edit defying all rules of grammar and decency.
They snuggle comfortably in a paragraph so I leave them be. I’ve got more important things to do, like resolving a plotline or reaching the end. Besides I’ve grown fond of them. They remind me of a guinea pig from my childhood; a clever sentence that won me a gold star in primary school.
Doubts creep in. My fingers waver over the keyboard and it survives yet another draft. I am not ready to kill it yet. It’s a rubbish sentence but it means something to me. It triggers an image I still need to cling on to in order to move the story forward. Whenever I read it I see the northern seaside town called Whiterock created through the eyes of one of my characters.
The axe must fall on these ‘guinea pigs’
The air filled with spiteful sea gulls and dank smells. Whiterock’s crumbling art deco sea front had lost its glamour like the face of an ageing celebrity whose botox was wearing off.
Whiterock out of season was filled with spiteful sea gulls and dank smells.
Looking forward to seeing some of you at Cwig!