Rolling the pastry

I call it ‘rolling the pastry’. And it’s not a metaphor for something rude. So those of you that thought it was, read no further. You will be disappointed. It’s about writing – again.

I sit down, I start typing and when I look up a few hours later I’ve got about 1000 words sitting on the page. A good days work. Time for a break – walk the dog, strum the ukulele, trim the hedge (none of these are euphemisms either. What is wrong with you? Although in fairness, I haven’t got a dog).

Anyway, when I go back to my desk there it is: a big lump of text waiting for me. It’s time to roll the pastry. This is not editing, it’s simply smoothing out the scene. That initial freewheeling feeling of words just tumbling out can be saved for tomorrow; now I can be IMG_6609more thoughtful, more considered. And as I go through what I’ve written I add a bit here, change a bit there, explain, illustrate, write – and instead of 1000 words I end up with a nice even layer of 1500 words. I haven’t taken the story any further, I’ve just made the scene I’ve written more digestible. It is very satisfying.

Of course, this is before the editor’s knife cuts it away until there’s not enough left for a jam tart. But that’s work for another day.

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About James Ellis

James is a writer. He is the author of three novels and has had a number of short stories published as well as a travelogue of his journey through Central America. He writes a regular column for The Gudgeon, designs and delivers workshops for new and developing writers, and provides a business writing service for private and public sector organisations.
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