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If I were an agent, I'd stop reading...... now.

Richard Maitland

first registered 27.08.09

last online 14 hours ago

Title:; Bloodstones by Casimir Greenfield
Genre: Literary Fiction
Short Pitch: Death, lust and infidelity on a Summer's day. Lives will change forever in the idyllic Cotswold countryside deep in the heart of the Bloodstones.
Link: http://www.authonomy.com/books/42590/bloodstones/



There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun - Pablo Picasso

Chapter One.

Madge woke early to catch the first light. She dressed quietly in the dark bedroom, and then crept downstairs for muesli at the kitchen table. Before leaving she poured coffee into Gerald's willow pattern mug and left it near his clock radio without waking him. As she closed the front door behind her, a sensual melange of loam and honeysuckle caught her breath.

A vague mist hung over the Stanleys as Madge threaded her way through the crusted cow-pats along the ramblers' rutted path. The sun had not yet risen over the hills, the landscape diffused and pale in the scant moments before dawn.

This was her favourite time. The moments of quiet before the rest of the world awoke. As she moved past the curtained windows of silent rooms, the delicate lingerings of a brushwood bonfire drifted lightly around her. She hurried down from the brow into the dip, crossing the plank bridge over the brook that edged the playing fields. She passed the familiar limestone wall. Through the railings, across the yard and below the low-walled planes she could just make out the words carved above the doors; 'JUNIORS' and 'INFANTS'. The school was a school no more. Now it housed a play group and the polling booths. It was easy though, at this early hour to fly back to the crowded classrooms, where the smell of chalk mingled with Devon Violets, giggles and farts.

Madge thought of Gerald, still cocooned in the heat of their bed. She wished that she had made more of the coffee she had left him, but these were the hours she was loath to miss. The whole day would have been full of regret and spite. The days were becoming too few to toy with.

Somewhere in the Council estate a window slammed shut. She touched her cheek and it felt cold and bloodless. Someone was awake. Dawn. Colour began to seep back wherever she looked.

Dawn watched Madge begin the climb that was Penn Lane. "Stupid old bag..!", the girl muttered, clouding the glass with her breath. She lit a cigarette and sat down on the edge of her dishevelled bed, wondering what to wear.

Madge walked on uneasily, the soft pad of her brogues sandwiched between the cooing of the wood pigeons and the thrum of a distant generator. She could pinpoint the sounds. The birds huddled along the branches of the beeches that led to the mouth of the cave hollow. They would huddle above the avenue until her footfall sent them fluttering into the safety of the holly bushes.

Madge was fascinated by the cave hollow. She often paused there, transfixed, studying the rubber and gauze, abandoned in furtive squalor. She never painted there, the light was not to her liking, the pastels vanished into the shadows.

This morning the cave entrance seemed strangely ordered, the soft earth raked in regular patterns, narrow furrows. Madge looked as though from flight, hawk high. She imagined herself lying there, afterwards, tracing the patterns slowly, with satisfaction, brushing the dirt crumbs from her tweed skirt, smoothing the snagged stockings, adjusting the errant wisps of grey that escaped her beige beret. She traced such furrows in the cotton sheets, while he slept, his great bulk spent beside her.
<nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Cas, I wonder whether you actually mean the "sensual" melange of loam and honeysuckle? Although broadly synonymous, "sensual" applies to a person's baser instincts and carries connotations of sexual allure or lust. "Sensuous" relates to the idea of being alive to sensation, and would seem to be a more appropriate word.

Here's where I was taken out of the moment:

Somewhere in the Council estate a window slammed shut. She touched her cheek and it felt cold and bloodless. Someone was awake. Dawn. Colour began to seep back wherever she looked.

Dawn watched Madge begin the climb that was Penn Lane. "Stupid old bag..!", the girl muttered, clouding the glass with her breath. She lit a cigarette and sat down on the edge of her dishevelled bed, wondering what to wear.


In the first paragraph of the extract above we are with Madge, hearing a window being slammed shut on the Council estate. Then dawn breaks and colour begins to seep back into the world. So it was natural for me to think you were being "literary" and carrying on the concept of daybreak when you wrote "Dawn watched Madge begin the climb..." But no: it's a girl called Dawn, which (a) confused me, and (b) took me away from Madge's side as we walked through the village. I went to your book page, and found in the following section that Dawn, a rough, uneducated village girl, is Gerald's lover. Introducing her in the "Madge" section does the writing no favours and serves no practical purpose, and I would strongly suggest you delete it.

After rereading the last paragraph at least five times, I still have no idea what you mean by it.

This certainly doesn't need a heavy edit to make it really sparkle. More of a discreet cough and a quiet "Ahem" whenever the writing looks like taking a turn from lilac to purple (or to confusion, like that final paragraph), so I think I'd probably give it the benefit of the doubt and read on for a few pages.


Posted: 25/08/2012 08:39:35
Last Edit: 25/08/2012 08:43:32 by Richard Maitland

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Richard Maitland

first registered 27.08.09

last online 14 hours ago

Actually, Cas, I have now read on for a couple of chapters, and found myself coughing quite considerably. You've been too wrapped up in being "literary", and have rather taken your eye off the ball of the story.

Posted: 25/08/2012 09:12:26

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Casimir Greenfield

first registered 14.03.12

last online 7 hours ago

Actually, Cas, I have now read on for a couple of chapters, and found myself coughing quite considerably. You've been too wrapped up in being "literary", and have rather taken your eye off the ball of the story. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Thanks Richard. I value your input. Bloodstones is probably set to hit the Ed's desk in a few days (although nothing in the is world is certain) and I wanted to get it match fit before it does.

The florid language was deliberate, mainly to contrast more with the rough element that appear a couple of chapters in before the crime happens.

I will re-read with your insights in mind and possibly re-post.

Once again, that you for your time.

Cas






Posted: 25/08/2012 12:19:06

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Casimir Greenfield

first registered 14.03.12

last online 7 hours ago

Eh. Aside from an overload in places of adjectives and adverbs, this just didn't grab me. I felt nothing for Madge (a name I'd suggest you change, btw, since it evokes images of not a lusty, young colt, but a dusty old fruit-lady), and I wanted to. I tried reading further to catch where her conflict lay, but it just wasn't there. This, sadly, would be one of the types of literary fiction that I just couldn't read. And it's bugging me why. Perhaps someone else can pinpoint it and it will stick that that was the reason.

I'm sorry, I really wanted to give you distinct reasons why I simply skimmed most of it and felt very unengaged most of the time. I guess it would be the missing urgent conflict. Even in the great literary fiction I've enjoyed, woven within the seams of delicate character description and setting is the sense of urgency that something is about to happen to the characters, even if it doesn't. I'd rather read about unhappy characters seeking to change their circumstance, rather than happy ones who are flaccid. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Poor Madge is late 50s, and despite yearning for more, finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage. As the story develops - and it does so in a measured way - the tale gets darker and brutal. There are bodies.

I seem to be set for the Eds desk this month, one of the reasons I posted. Thank you for your insights which will be invaluable when I come to the next radical edit.

Thank you for your time.

Cas

Posted: 25/08/2012 12:53:49

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Kirrily Whatman

retired user

Title: Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor
Genre: Non-fiction / Memoir
Short Pitch: A mother's account of the triumphs and tragic losses of infertility, seeking how to make life count after her newborn's death.
Link: http://www.authonomy.com/books/46492/into-the-bliss-having-holding-ellanor/">Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor



August, 2008

I became conscious in what felt like an instant. It was something that had always amused me about the whole “going to sleep” under anaesthetic thing. Last I recall, I had been joking around with the theatre staff before they put me out like a light. It was something I had grown accustomed to doing to relieve my anxiety.

“Bye, then! I’m off,” I would say in these nerve-wracking final moments before the procedure. One final quip to show I was in good spirits, despite the fact they were about to spread my legs and do something medical to my uterus. The theatre staff would always laugh heartily and jolly me along. It was my way of turning these sensitive procedures into something more bearable, enabling me to ease into unconsciousness. The trick was not to panic as I went under for it would only make me more distraught coming back into consciousness after losing my pregnancy this way.

In the brief moment before closing my eyes again in the Recovery room, I glimpsed the oxygen mask covering my face. It was a harsh reminder that I had been through something far bigger than any jovial front would allow me to conceal.

My mind was awake now but my limbs still weren’t. I had done this often enough to know there was no need to call out, for I would only make a feeble grunt if I tried to talk. There were nurses walking about. I could hear them chatting happily amongst themselves. One of them would come and check on me soon enough.

“So I don’t know, I think he should finish the course – he’s come this far,” one of them was saying. She walked over to me when she saw me stirring, interrupting the conversation she had been having with her colleague. “Kirrily! Kirrily, love. Hi, you’re in Recovery.”

The nurse patted my hand. Without forcing my eyes open, I waved at her and raised my eyebrows.

“Hey,” I said in a voice that didn’t sound like me.

“It went well,” the nurse told me loudly. “They got everything. Your doctor said he will come back and see you before he leaves.”

They got everything. She means they got rid of it, I mused. And to think this time I thought the baby was going to be okay.

I gave the nurse a thumbs-up sign in acknowledgement. By now, I was numb to this sort of wake-up call. As I lay there, gradually becoming more aware of the room and the people in it, I was a captive audience to my own thoughts. How very different each of my pregnancy failures had been over the years, I mused. And how much more I had transformed after every one. My life circumstances were vastly changed again this time.

The whys of what had just happened began to creep into my awareness. Why this pregnancy had even happened if it was ending in this way anyway. Why I had to start my day with the hospital prescribed tea and toast. Why I had looked at Steve, my partner, and sighed resignedly—a “here we go again” moment shared—as we climbed into the car for the early morning drive to the hospital. Why I had to go through the booking-in procedure, have the tag on my wrist read, checked, double checked and re-read by every member of the medical team I came across. Why I had to lie on the unforgiving theatre table and give over my sense of womanhood (and decency) while my feet were going up into stirrups and my hand was being prepped for the anaesthetic.


Posted: 25/08/2012 13:56:16
Last Edit: 25/08/2012 14:01:25 by Kirrily Whatman

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El Womble

first registered 14.04.11

last online 515 days ago

Title:; Bloodstones by Casimir Greenfield
Genre: Literary Fiction
Short Pitch: Death, lust and infidelity on a Summer's day. Lives will change forever in the idyllic Cotswold countryside deep in the heart of the Bloodstones.
Link: http://www.authonomy.com/books/42590/bloodstones/



There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun - Pablo Picasso

Chapter One.

Madge woke early to catch the first light. She dressed quietly in the dark bedroom, and then crept downstairs for muesli at the kitchen table. Before leaving she poured coffee into Gerald's willow pattern mug and left it near his clock radio without waking him. As she closed the front door behind her, a sensual melange of loam and honeysuckle caught her breath.

A vague mist hung over the Stanleys as Madge threaded her way through the crusted cow-pats along the ramblers' rutted path. The sun had not yet risen over the hills, the landscape diffused and pale in the scant moments before dawn.

This was her favourite time. The moments of quiet before the rest of the world awoke. As she moved past the curtained windows of silent rooms, the delicate lingerings of a brushwood bonfire drifted lightly around her. She hurried down from the brow into the dip, crossing the plank bridge over the brook that edged the playing fields. She passed the familiar limestone wall. Through the railings, across the yard and below the low-walled planes she could just make out the words carved above the doors; 'JUNIORS' and 'INFANTS'. The school was a school no more. Now it housed a play group and the polling booths. It was easy though, at this early hour to fly back to the crowded classrooms, where the smell of chalk mingled with Devon Violets, giggles and farts.

Madge thought of Gerald, still cocooned in the heat of their bed. She wished that she had made more of the coffee she had left him, but these were the hours she was loath to miss. The whole day would have been full of regret and spite. The days were becoming too few to toy with.

Somewhere in the Council estate a window slammed shut. She touched her cheek and it felt cold and bloodless. Someone was awake. Dawn. Colour began to seep back wherever she looked.

Dawn watched Madge begin the climb that was Penn Lane. "Stupid old bag..!", the girl muttered, clouding the glass with her breath. She lit a cigarette and sat down on the edge of her dishevelled bed, wondering what to wear.

Madge walked on uneasily, the soft pad of her brogues sandwiched between the cooing of the wood pigeons and the thrum of a distant generator. She could pinpoint the sounds. The birds huddled along the branches of the beeches that led to the mouth of the cave hollow. They would huddle above the avenue until her footfall sent them fluttering into the safety of the holly bushes.

Madge was fascinated by the cave hollow. She often paused there, transfixed, studying the rubber and gauze, abandoned in furtive squalor. She never painted there, the light was not to her liking, the pastels vanished into the shadows.

This morning the cave entrance seemed strangely ordered, the soft earth raked in regular patterns, narrow furrows. Madge looked as though from flight, hawk high. She imagined herself lying there, afterwards, tracing the patterns slowly, with satisfaction, brushing the dirt crumbs from her tweed skirt, smoothing the snagged stockings, adjusting the errant wisps of grey that escaped her beige beret. She traced such furrows in the cotton sheets, while he slept, his great bulk spent beside her.
<nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Got a bit confused by Dawn. I thought it was a poetic reference to the new day, then I thought it was a person, then I thought it was both, then I reread the paragraph a couple of times. Then I realised I'd lost the thread of what was happening.

Madge seems to be in the country, it's still, and there are cow pats. There's a hill, and wood pigeons aren't being disturbed by milkmen or paperboys. But there's also a council estate…

I would have stopped at the last paragraph, which again, seemed to be confused.

It's nicely written, but for me it needed some clarity.

Posted: 25/08/2012 18:22:54

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El Womble

first registered 14.04.11

last online 515 days ago

Title: Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor
Genre: Non-fiction / Memoir
Short Pitch: A mother's account of the triumphs and tragic losses of infertility, seeking how to make life count after her newborn's death.
Link: www.authonomy.com/books/46492/into-the-bliss-having-holding-ellanor/">Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor



August, 2008

I became conscious in what felt like an instant. It was something that had always amused me about the whole “going to sleep” under anaesthetic thing. Last I recall, I had been joking around with the theatre staff before they put me out like a light. It was something I had grown accustomed to doing to relieve my anxiety.

“Bye, then! I’m off,” I would say in these nerve-wracking final moments before the procedure. One final quip to show I was in good spirits, despite the fact they were about to spread my legs and do something medical to my uterus. The theatre staff would always laugh heartily and jolly me along. It was my way of turning these sensitive procedures into something more bearable, enabling me to ease into unconsciousness. The trick was not to panic as I went under for it would only make me more distraught coming back into consciousness after losing my pregnancy this way.

In the brief moment before closing my eyes again in the Recovery room, I glimpsed the oxygen mask covering my face. It was a harsh reminder that I had been through something far bigger than any jovial front would allow me to conceal.

My mind was awake now but my limbs still weren’t. I had done this often enough to know there was no need to call out, for I would only make a feeble grunt if I tried to talk. There were nurses walking about. I could hear them chatting happily amongst themselves. One of them would come and check on me soon enough.

“So I don’t know, I think he should finish the course – he’s come this far,” one of them was saying. She walked over to me when she saw me stirring, interrupting the conversation she had been having with her colleague. “Kirrily! Kirrily, love. Hi, you’re in Recovery.”

The nurse patted my hand. Without forcing my eyes open, I waved at her and raised my eyebrows.

“Hey,” I said in a voice that didn’t sound like me.

“It went well,” the nurse told me loudly. “They got everything. Your doctor said he will come back and see you before he leaves.”

They got everything. She means they got rid of it, I mused. And to think this time I thought the baby was going to be okay.

I gave the nurse a thumbs-up sign in acknowledgement. By now, I was numb to this sort of wake-up call. As I lay there, gradually becoming more aware of the room and the people in it, I was a captive audience to my own thoughts. How very different each of my pregnancy failures had been over the years, I mused. And how much more I had transformed after every one. My life circumstances were vastly changed again this time.

The whys of what had just happened began to creep into my awareness. Why this pregnancy had even happened if it was ending in this way anyway. Why I had to start my day with the hospital prescribed tea and toast. Why I had looked at Steve, my partner, and sighed resignedly—a “here we go again” moment shared—as we climbed into the car for the early morning drive to the hospital. Why I had to go through the booking-in procedure, have the tag on my wrist read, checked, double checked and re-read by every member of the medical team I came across. Why I had to lie on the unforgiving theatre table and give over my sense of womanhood (and decency) while my feet were going up into stirrups and my hand was being prepped for the anaesthetic. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

I would *want* to stop at the short pitch, because it sounds heart-breaking. But being the *cough* professional agent that I am (I'm not) I'll read on.

Drop the first paragraph and start with "Bye then! I'm off," it's sharper.

The jump from going out to recovery is a bit sudden, maybe slip some back story in there.

The last paragraph would be stronger if you actually asked the questions.

I'd read on, it's a tough subject, and your writing feels honest which is something I think the subject matter requires.

Posted: 25/08/2012 18:34:21

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Carla René

first registered 11.08.10

last online 581 days ago

Title: Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor
Genre: Non-fiction / Memoir
Short Pitch: A mother's account of the triumphs and tragic losses of infertility, seeking how to make life count after her newborn's death.
Link: www.authonomy.com/books/46492/into-the-bliss-having-holding-ellanor/">Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor



August, 2008

I became conscious in what felt like an instant. It was something that had always amused me about the whole “going to sleep” under anaesthetic thing. Last I recall, I had been joking around with the theatre staff before they put me out like a light. It was something I had grown accustomed to doing to relieve my anxiety.

“Bye, then! I’m off,” I would say in these nerve-wracking final moments before the procedure. One final quip to show I was in good spirits, despite the fact they were about to spread my legs and do something medical to my uterus. The theatre staff would always laugh heartily and jolly me along. It was my way of turning these sensitive procedures into something more bearable, enabling me to ease into unconsciousness. The trick was not to panic as I went under for it would only make me more distraught coming back into consciousness after losing my pregnancy this way.

In the brief moment before closing my eyes again in the Recovery room, I glimpsed the oxygen mask covering my face. It was a harsh reminder that I had been through something far bigger than any jovial front would allow me to conceal.

My mind was awake now but my limbs still weren’t. I had done this often enough to know there was no need to call out, for I would only make a feeble grunt if I tried to talk. There were nurses walking about. I could hear them chatting happily amongst themselves. One of them would come and check on me soon enough.

“So I don’t know, I think he should finish the course – he’s come this far,” one of them was saying. She walked over to me when she saw me stirring, interrupting the conversation she had been having with her colleague. “Kirrily! Kirrily, love. Hi, you’re in Recovery.”

The nurse patted my hand. Without forcing my eyes open, I waved at her and raised my eyebrows.

“Hey,” I said in a voice that didn’t sound like me.

“It went well,” the nurse told me loudly. “They got everything. Your doctor said he will come back and see you before he leaves.”

They got everything. She means they got rid of it, I mused. And to think this time I thought the baby was going to be okay.

I gave the nurse a thumbs-up sign in acknowledgement. By now, I was numb to this sort of wake-up call. As I lay there, gradually becoming more aware of the room and the people in it, I was a captive audience to my own thoughts. How very different each of my pregnancy failures had been over the years, I mused. And how much more I had transformed after every one. My life circumstances were vastly changed again this time.

The whys of what had just happened began to creep into my awareness. Why this pregnancy had even happened if it was ending in this way anyway. Why I had to start my day with the hospital prescribed tea and toast. Why I had looked at Steve, my partner, and sighed resignedly—a “here we go again” moment shared—as we climbed into the car for the early morning drive to the hospital. Why I had to go through the booking-in procedure, have the tag on my wrist read, checked, double checked and re-read by every member of the medical team I came across. Why I had to lie on the unforgiving theatre table and give over my sense of womanhood (and decency) while my feet were going up into stirrups and my hand was being prepped for the anaesthetic. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

I agree with Wombat--start with "I'm off".

A few places I was taken out of the narrative:

I know that you English call your operating rooms "Theatres," and I would never suggest you change it otherwise, but in this case, whilst posting for an international audience, it really did make me blanch when I read it. Our Theatres are movie houses, and I know I'm going to sound ridiculous with this next part, but when you use the word "theatre" before procedure, it did evoke that image. I'm constantly trying to figure out--especially since I write comedy and the two groups of people appreciate different types of comedy--how to write in such a way that it won't divide the two countries by the common language. Even with Amazon now for Kindle, you upload one copy of your book and they distribute in six countries. You don't get a choice to upload separate versions with separate spellings and colloquial expressions for separate countries.

Anyway, in this instance, "theatre" completely took me out of the narrative. Do you use another word possibly, for an operating room? Or perhaps using it AFTER we know she's in the OR might fix it. Or maybe no one else will see it as an issue.

A small suggestion: since you use the word "amuse" in your first few sentences, I caught myself wanting to see a little more dry, acerbic and bitter wit. You "say" it amused you, but your internal dialogue and spoken words certainly didn't show me that. This woman seems smart, and smart women are excellent angry comics when we're under pressure. I kept reading, in fact, to find where she demonstrated that amusement, but it never came. You set me up and then let me down. Wink

And this -> "The whys of what had just happened began to creep into my awareness. Why this pregnancy had even happened if it was ending in this way anyway."

I had to reread the second sentence about four times before I finally realised what you were doing there. I might suggest a semi-colon to join the two, so it won't be confusing, and then let the rhythm of the other "whys" carry it. And should be a comma after way.

But it might've just been me. It's been pointed out that my comments have absolutely no merit and I know bugger about what I'm talking.

Here: "“Bye, then! I’m off,” I would say in these nerve-wracking final moments before the procedure. One final quip to show I was in good spirits, despite the fact they were about to spread my legs and do something medical to my uterus."

This is probably more a personal choice, but again, you've used the word quip, but the sentence she uses isn't really quippy. If it were me, I might use her internal dialogue after that to demonstrate her amusement and quippiness. "I was in good spirits, despite the fact they were about to spread my legs and rip out everything up to my chin." No, not suggesting you use that (unless it rings true with you), I wanted to demonstrate through exaggeration how you might be able to insert a little more wry humour. But do you see what I'm driving at? Your writing is good, the narrative voice distinct and clear. But you've set me up three times now (later you use "jovial front") for amusement and wry quips, but I just don't see any! And I SO wanted to! This is right up my alley--I've been told I can take the most horrendous subject and turn it into the best acerbic, embittered and funny rant. Maybe you weren't going for laugh-out-loud chuckles, and that's okay, but I'm trying to drive home the point that you set me up for something in your narrative, but I didn't see the pay-off.

I'm having difficulty trying to explain what I mean. If this were a stand-up comedy routine, I would say the only thing missing, amongst the wonderful narrative and writing, is your ATTITUDE. YES! That's what it's missing. Aren't you completely pissed about what happened? (I'm assuming this happened to you since you use your name in the script. If it did, my heartfelt condolences.) Aren't you mad that you've been robbed of this joy? DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHOW ME SOME OF THAT! I think that's the spark missing for me.

I think this is in great shape for you to now go back and add in some of that pay-off.

Oh, and this: " How very different each of my pregnancy failures had been over the years, I mused." Dump the I mused. It ripped me right out of your narrative and it's not needed, since by now we know your protag is the one giving us the POV. The entire narrative is you MUSING, so it's not needed again.

Posted: 25/08/2012 19:33:01

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Richard Maitland

first registered 27.08.09

last online 14 hours ago

Title: Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor
Genre: Non-fiction / Memoir
Short Pitch: A mother's account of the triumphs and tragic losses of infertility, seeking how to make life count after her newborn's death.
Link: www.authonomy.com/books/46492/into-the-bliss-having-holding-ellanor/">Into The Bliss: Having & Holding Ellanor



August, 2008

I became conscious in what felt like an instant. It was something that had always amused me about the whole “going to sleep” under anaesthetic thing. Last I recall, I had been joking around with the theatre staff before they put me out like a light. It was something I had grown accustomed to doing to relieve my anxiety.

“Bye, then! I’m off,” I would say in these nerve-wracking final moments before the procedure. One final quip to show I was in good spirits, despite the fact they were about to spread my legs and do something medical to my uterus. The theatre staff would always laugh heartily and jolly me along. It was my way of turning these sensitive procedures into something more bearable, enabling me to ease into unconsciousness. The trick was not to panic as I went under for it would only make me more distraught coming back into consciousness after losing my pregnancy this way.

In the brief moment before closing my eyes again in the Recovery room, I glimpsed the oxygen mask covering my face. It was a harsh reminder that I had been through something far bigger than any jovial front would allow me to conceal.

My mind was awake now but my limbs still weren’t. I had done this often enough to know there was no need to call out, for I would only make a feeble grunt if I tried to talk. There were nurses walking about. I could hear them chatting happily amongst themselves. One of them would come and check on me soon enough.

“So I don’t know, I think he should finish the course – he’s come this far,” one of them was saying. She walked over to me when she saw me stirring, interrupting the conversation she had been having with her colleague. “Kirrily! Kirrily, love. Hi, you’re in Recovery.”

The nurse patted my hand. Without forcing my eyes open, I waved at her and raised my eyebrows.

“Hey,” I said in a voice that didn’t sound like me.

“It went well,” the nurse told me loudly. “They got everything. Your doctor said he will come back and see you before he leaves.”

They got everything. She means they got rid of it, I mused. And to think this time I thought the baby was going to be okay.

I gave the nurse a thumbs-up sign in acknowledgement. By now, I was numb to this sort of wake-up call. As I lay there, gradually becoming more aware of the room and the people in it, I was a captive audience to my own thoughts. How very different each of my pregnancy failures had been over the years, I mused. And how much more I had transformed after every one. My life circumstances were vastly changed again this time.

The whys of what had just happened began to creep into my awareness. Why this pregnancy had even happened if it was ending in this way anyway. Why I had to start my day with the hospital prescribed tea and toast. Why I had looked at Steve, my partner, and sighed resignedly—a “here we go again” moment shared—as we climbed into the car for the early morning drive to the hospital. Why I had to go through the booking-in procedure, have the tag on my wrist read, checked, double checked and re-read by every member of the medical team I came across. Why I had to lie on the unforgiving theatre table and give over my sense of womanhood (and decency) while my feet were going up into stirrups and my hand was being prepped for the anaesthetic. <nolink>close quotes</nolink>

Kirrily, you asked me in a message to take a look at this and I was slow to do so, since (a) this is obviously a true-life account of a matter in which I can't hold an informed opinion and (b) dealing with non-fiction takes an approach vastly different from fiction, so I felt I needed to read quite a bit of your book before Commenting. But since you have been brave enough to put up an extract here for general discussion, I will restrict my reading to this 'submission' and treat it as I would any other.

I think you dilute the impact of the current procedure (I'm sorry to use such a bald term for an emotional experience) by telling the reader what you did on previous occasions. However much you may be able to muster a brave face each time, with a joke for the nurses, it still remains that this is no joking matter, and I think your start should reflect the bleak tragedy of the situation. My suggestion is to scrap the first four paragraphs and start with:


“Kirrily! Kirrily, love. Hi, you’re in Recovery.”

The nurse patted my hand. Without forcing my eyes open, I waved at her and raised my eyebrows.

“Hey,” I said in a voice that didn’t sound like me.

“It went well,” the nurse told me loudly. “They got everything. Your doctor said he will come back and see you before he leaves.”

They got everything. She means they got rid of it. And to think this time I thought the baby was going to be okay.



And there we have it. The poor woman has lost her baby and we realise with shock that this is the latest in a long line. Who wouldn't want to read on to see if there is a happy ending?


Posted: 25/08/2012 21:23:56

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Kirrily Whatman

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El Womble, Carla Renée, Richard... words fail me. Thank you. I was so scared of doing this but, hey, I've faced worse. This has been most helpful. Also throws up more internal questions for me.

Carla - I have seen some of your replies on here and was sooooo nervous of your reaction to my 600 words! Was mostly worried you wouldn't give it a go. But I needn't have been so hesitant. You've been so generous, practical and helpful beyond measure. Appreciate it very much.
I hear you. And I'd never looked on it that way before, smart women *do* have a habit of being sharp with their wit. Yes. I think the question you have challenged me with here ("weren't you angry?") is such an interesting one. The thing is, no. I can't say I had any passion/anger/drive left. 2008 marked the 8th year of trying (and losing) babies. The one I've described was my ... I've lost count, actually. 12th? 13th? By that point, there's nothing much left in the tank. Not to say I was passive or submissive, though, and therein lies the relevance in what you are asking me to bring out. So deepest thank you's.

Richard - now this is an interesting thing. You've given me much to contemplate. I see what you're saying and (excuse me for using possibly inappropriate words to convey) I like the shock factor of starting with the nurse's words. Much more impact starting it there. Yes, of course!

Guys, girls... ladies, gentlemen (whichever you prefer!), I am SO glad I sucked it up and put myself out there. I'm very serious about taking this further and knew this would be invaluable. Your help is gratefully received.

*gushing over*


Posted: 25/08/2012 22:28:54
Last Edit: 25/08/2012 22:33:50 by Kirrily Whatman

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