Searching for locations: Hutongs, Beijing, China

What are Hutongs?

In Beijing Hutongs are formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences, called siheyuan.  Neighborhoods were formed by joining many hutongs together. These siheyuan are the traditional residences, usually occupied by a single or extended family, signifying wealth, and prosperity. 

Over 500 of these still exist.Many of these hutongs have been demolished, but recently they have become protected places as a means of preserving some Chinese cultural history.  They were first established in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)Many of these Hutongs had their main buildings and gates built facing south, and lanes connecting them to other hutongs also ran north to south.

Many hutongs, some several hundred years old, in the vicinity of the Bell Tower and Drum Tower and Shichahai Lake are preserved and abound with tourists, many of which tour the quarter in pedicabs.

The optional tour also includes a visit to Shichahai, a historic scenic area consisting of three lakes (Qianhai, meaning Front Sea; Houhai, meaning Back Sea and Xihai, meaning West Sea), surrounding places of historic interest and scenic beauty and remnants of old-style local residences, Hutong and Courtyard.  

First, we had a short walk through the more modern part of the Hutong area and given some free time for shopping, but we prefer just to meander by the canal.  

There is a lake, and if we had the time, there were boats you could take.

With some time to spare, we take a quick walk down one of the alleyways where on the ground level are small shops, and above, living quarters.

Then we go to the bell and drum towers before walking through some more alleys was to where the rickshaws were waiting.
The Bell tower

And the Drum tower. Both still working today.

The rickshaw ride took us through some more back streets where it was clear renovations were being made so that the area could apply for world heritage listing.  Seeing inside some of the houses shows that they may look dumpy outside but that’s not the case inside.

The rickshaw ride ends outside the house where dinner will be served, and is a not so typical hose but does have all the elements of how the Chinese live, the boy’s room, the girl’s room, the parent’s room, the living area, and the North-south feng shui.

Shortly after we arrive, the cricket man, apparently someone quite famous in Beijing arrives and tells us all about crickets and then grasshoppers, then about cricket racing.  He is animated and clearly enjoys entertaining us westerners.

I’m sorry but the cricket stuff just didn’t interest me.  Or the grasshoppers.

As for dinner, it was finally a treat to eat what the typical Chinese family eats, and everything was delicious, and the endless beer was a nice touch.

And the last surprise, the food was cooked by a man.

Searching for locations: We’ve just arrived in Beijing International Airport, China

Instead of making a grand entrance, arriving in style and being greeted by important dignitaries, we are slinking in via an airplane, late at night. It’s hardly the entrance I’d envisaged. At 9:56 the plane touches down on the runway.  Outside the plane, it is dark and gloomy and from what I could see, it had been raining.  That could, of course, simply be condensation.

Once on the ground, everyone was frantically gathering together everything from seat pockets and sending pillows and blankets to the floor.  A few were turning their mobile phones back on, and checking for a signal, and, perhaps, looking for messages sent to them during the last 12 hours. Or perhaps they were just suffering from mobile phone deprivation.

It took 10 minutes for the plane to arrive at the gate. That’s when everyone moves into overdrive, unbuckling belts, some before the seatbelt sign goes off, and are first out of their seats and into the overhead lockers.  Most are not taking care that their luggage may have moved, but fortunately, no bags fall out onto someone’s head. The flight had been relatively turbulent free.

When as many people and bags have squeezed into that impossibly small aisle space, we wait for the door to open, and then the privileged few business and first-class passengers to depart before we can begin to leave. As we are somewhere near the middle of the plane, our wait will not be as long as it usually is.  This time we avoided being at the back of the plane.  Perhaps that privilege awaits us on the return trip.

Once off the plane, it is a matter of following the signs, some of which are not as clear as they could be.  It’s why it took another 30 odd minutes to get through immigration, but that was not necessarily without a few hiccups along the way. We got sidetracked at the fingerprint machines, which seemed to have a problem if your fingers were not straight, not in the center of the glass, and then if it was generally cranky, which ours were, continue to tell you to try again, and again, and again, and again…That took 10 to 15 minutes before we joined an incredibly long queue of other arrivals,

A glance at the time, and suddenly it’s nearly an hour from the moment we left the plane.

And…

That’s when we got to the immigration officer, and it became apparent we were going to have to do the fingerprints yet again.  Fortunately this time, it didn’t take as long.  Once that done, we collected our bags, cleared customs by putting our bags through a huge x-ray machine, and it was off to find our tour guide.


We found several tour guides with their trip-a-deal flags waiting for us to come out of the arrivals hall.  It wasn’t a difficult process in the end.  We were in the blue group.  Other people we had met on the plane were in the red group or the yellow group.  The tour guide found, or as it turned out she found us, it was simply a matter of waiting for the rest of the group, of which there were eventually 28.Gathered together we were told we would be taking the bags to one place and then ourselves to the bus in another.  A glance in the direction of the bus park, there were a lot of busses.

Here’s a thought, imagine being told your bus is the white one with blue writing on the side.

Yes, yours is, and 25 others because all of the tourist coaches are the same.  An early reminder, so that you do not get lost, or, God forbid, get on the wrong bus, for the three days in Beijing, is to get the last five numbers of the bus registration plate and commit them to memory.  It’s important.  Failing that, the guide’s name is in the front passenger window.

Also, don’t be alarmed if your baggage goes in one direction, and you go in another. In a rather peculiar set up the bags are taken to the hotel by what the guide called the baggage porter.  It is an opportunity to see how baggage handlers treat your luggage; much better than the airlines it appears.


That said, if you’re staying at the Beijing Friendship Hotel, be prepared for a long drive from the airport.  It took us nearly an hour, and bear in mind that it was very late on a Sunday night.

Climbing out of the bus after what seemed a convoluted drive through a park with buildings, we arrive at the building that will be our hotel for the next three days.  From the outside, it looks quite good, and once inside the foyer, that first impression is good.  Lots of space, marble, and glass.  If you are not already exhausted by the time you arrive, the next task is to get your room key, find your bags, get to your room, and try to get to be ready the next morning at a reasonable hour.

Sorry, that boat has sailed.

We were lucky, we were told, that our plane arrived on time, and we still arrived at the hotel at 12:52.  Imagine if the incoming plane is late.

This was taken the following morning.  It didn’t look half as bland late at night.

This is the back entrance to Building No 4 but is quite representative of the whole foyer, made completely of marble and glass.  It all looked very impressive under the artificial lights, but not so much in the cold hard light of early morning.

This the foyer of the floor our room was on.  Marble with interesting carpet designs.  Those first impressions of it being a plush hotel were slowly dissipating as we got nearer and nearer to the room.  From the elevator, it was a long, long walk.

So…Did I tell you about the bathroom in our room?

The shower and the toilet both share the same space with no divide and the shower curtain doesn’t reach to the floor.  Water pressure is phenomenal.  Having a shower floods the whole shower plus toilet area so when you go to the toilet you’re basically underwater.

Don’t leave your book or magazine on the floor or it will end up a watery mess.

And the water pressure is so hard that it could cut you in half.  Only a small turn of the tap is required to get that tingling sensation going.

It’s after 1:30 before we finally get to sleep.

As for the bed, well, that’s a whole other story.

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Episode 36

Here’s the thing…

Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.

I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.

But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.

Once again there’s a new installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

“How long have you been working on this?”

“A week. Lying in bed is boring, so I decided to look at everything I’ve got again, and then again. There were some old maps of the coastline stored with the treasure maps, so I think my father was trying to find the actual location his treasure maps were based on and came up against the same problem. Physical landmarks on the treasure maps are no longer there, and if you didn’t know any better, I would think you were looking in the wrong place.”

“So, in actual fact, what you’re saying now is that your father had no idea where the treasure was buried, that he was just producing maps for the Cossatino’s’ to sell.”

That, of course, could be looked at from a different angle, one that I wasn’t going to suggest right then because Boggs was not ready to hear it. I think the real maps Boggs had found with eh treasure maps were the basis for the treasure maps, that is, his father had to give them real-life elements to keep the punters interested.

“No, not necessarily. I think he knew it was somewhere along this coastline give or take a hundred miles, because of its proximity to the Spanish Maine, but essentially you’re right. He probably had no idea.”

So, he hadn’t come to the same conclusion I had. Yet.

And if I could come to that conclusion, surely Cossatino also would, after all, he was the one who got Boggs senior to make the maps. Why all of a sudden did he think that there was a real treasure map. It couldn’t be simply because Boggs had said there was one. He’d have to know that anything Boggs junior found was an invention commissioned by him,

Or hadn’t Vince told his father what he was doing? Surely the father would have told the son about the treasure map scam.

As for Benderby, senior could base his assumption of the fact that he’d found some old coins off the coast nearby that could be part of the trove. Alex then may have decided to usurp his father’s search with one of his own, conveniently forgetting the treasure maps were an invention of the Cossatino’s. IT was a tangled web of lies deceit and one-upmanship, one that was going to leave a trail of human wreckage in its wake.

Boggs and I were two of the first three. We had lived to tell about it, Frobisher was the first casualty.

But what I suppose was more despairing was how taken Boggs was with the notion that the treasure was real, hidden out there somewhere, and that his father had ‘the’ map. I was loath to label him delusional, but his pathological desire to prove his father’s so-called legacy was going to not end well, especially when we found nothing.

And, yet, I had to admire the lengths he had gone to, to prove his case. Even now, looking at the overlaid maps, there was no guarantee we’d find anything, but at first look, the evidence was compelling.

Except I had a feeling Boggs had something up his sleeve. I had to ask the question. “Where did you get the idea of matching the treasure map to the real map?”

“My father’s journal. It was tossed in the bottom of a box of his other stuff. There are about ten boxes stacked in the shed, stuff my mother just couldn’t be bothered sorting through after he disappeared. Again, boredom pushed me into going through everything over and over just in case I missed something.”

He reached in under the mattress of his bed and pulled out an old leather-bound notebook. It had a strap that bound it together, and by the look of it had extra papers inserted or glued to pages, as well as papers at the start and back of the volume, making it look about twice the original size.

He handed it to me. The leather was old, cracked, and had that distinctive aroma of the hide. I loosened the strap and the top cover opened. The first page was a newspaper cutting, a small piece about some old coins being found about a hundred yards offshore by some surfers. Were these the same coins that Benderby had claimed were part to the trove?

“Benderby was getting that antiquarian that was murdered to identify some coins,” I said after a quick glance through the article.

“I spoke to one of the surfers the other day,” Boggs said. “He told me he came off his board on a big wave and as he was going down saw something glinting on the seabed. He managed to pull up three coins. There were more but he had to come up for air. When he went down again, he realized he’d been dragged away by the current.”

Tides and currents along this part of the coast were particularly bad, and the undertow, at times could get surfers and swimmers alike into a lot of trouble. I’d been caught out once in a dinghy myself, finishing up ten miles further down the coast that I expected to be.

“Then, I take it he can’t remember the exact spot so he could go back.”

“He tried, but alas no. Said he sold the coins to old man Benderby for a hundred apiece and told him approximately where he thought the others were, but nothing’s been found since.”

Not that Benderby would tell anyone if he did. But it explained where the coins came from that he gave to Frobisher.

“Except we can assume that it’s off our coastline somewhere, right?”

“Five miles of coastline to be precise. He and his mate always had a few reefers before they went out, made the ride more interesting he said. He could have been off the coast of Peru for all he knew.”

Surfers, drugs and a colorful story.

“It explains why Benderby and a team of divers have been out in his new boat,” Boggs added, “probably trying to either find the location or line up landmarks on his map from the seaward side at the same time. But he doesn’t know what we know.”

What did we know? I leafed through a few more pages of the diary, but the scrawled notes were almost illegible. I picked up various words, like a marina, underground river, dry lakebed, but none of it made any sense.

“Which map did we give to Alex?”

Boggs went over to a drawer in the wardrobe and leafed through the papers in it and pulled out one and gave it to me. Like the rest it showed the shore, the hills, the lake, and two what looked to be rivers flowing into the sea. Each of the maps had those same features but in different places.

I didn’t want to say it, but it seemed to me we were playing a very dangerous game. The maps might look different in some respects, but the chances were, if Alex was smart enough to hire an expert, that we might run across him out there, and, to be honest, he would be the last person I’d want to see.

“You do realize our paths are going to cross at some point.”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

A shiver went down my spine, an omen I thought. Boggs has something up his sleeve, and I really didn’t want to know.

Not right then.

 

© Charles Heath 2020

Meanwhile at the railway station…

This was going to be about my usual taxi run, picking up one or other of the grandchildren from either school, or the railway station, to take them home, a benefit their parents have with grandparents with nothing better to do.

I say that tongue in cheek because I usually have something else to do, but it is a pleasurable experience for both of us because it means we get to spend some time with our grandchildren while they are young, and before they discover that world out there that we ‘oldies’ would know nothing about.

I have no doubt there are times when they think we have passed our use-by date. It’s the bane of all old people sooner or later unless they forge a close relationship with them in those early years.

I like to think we have, but you can never tell.

We’d like to be able to give them an independent ear, people who will listen to them and not judge, not in the way parents would. I remember myself saying that my parents would never understand the problems we had, that it was nothing like that when they were our age.

It’s the same now. The mantra never changes, but the generation has shifted, and I guess to a certain extent they are right. We didn’t have computers, mobile phones, or the endless supply of cash to go out with our friends to the mall, to the movies, to parties, sleepovers. We just didn’t have the money period, even if those activities existed in our time.

There wasn’t television, computer games, we had to find our own amusement, in the street, with other kids, using our imagination. We had to socially mix, talk to other kids, and there wasn’t the level of marriage breakups, broken homes, and distressed kids, not in our day. Divorce was a dirty word, spoken in hushed tones.

Now it seems homes with a mother and a father living together, or still talking to each other civilly, is a miracle rather than the norm. What the hell went wrong in 50 years? It seems to me that in the last 25 years we have presided over a world that has fallen to pieces, and, failing to recognize the looming disaster, we just sat by and watched it unfold.

And just how I managed to get so melancholy while waiting for a child at the railway station, I’ll never know. Perhaps it was the observance of several kids bullying another, perhaps it was because I sat in a locked car partially fearful about that trouble spilling over.

I know when I was a child my parents instilled in me a respect for others, even if I didn’t agree with them, or, god forbid, I didn’t like them. Like now, I get along with anyone and everyone because it was how we were taught.

Then.

What happened since then?

Did we forget slowly over time the virtue of tolerance and respect?

Fortunately, the train and my granddaughter have arrived, so I can cease with the rant. The children hassling each other had to run to the train and what might have been an unpleasant scene dissipated without violence.

She gets in the car after I unlock the doors and it’s the start of a fifteen-minute discussion about her day at school. It, too, is very different from my day, but, in its way, still the same battlefield between students and teachers.

At least some things never change.

Damn and blast those interruptions

I can see how it is that a writer’s life is one that, at times, has to be shut off from the outside world.

It’s a bit hard to keep a stream of thoughts going when in one ear is some banal detective show, and in the other, a conversation that you have to keep up with.  I know how hard it is because I’ve tried doing three things at once, and failed miserably in all three.

So, out I slink to the writing room and start by re-reading the previous chapters, to get back into the plot.  I should remember where I am, and get straight to it, but the devil is in the detail.

Going back, quite often I revise, and a plotline is tweaked, and a whole new window is opened.  God, I wish I didn’t do that!

Then I get to the blank page, ready to go, and…

The phone rings.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

Phone answered, back to the blank page, no, it’s gone, got yo go back, blast, another revision, and back to the blank page.

Half an hour shot to pieces.

The phone rings again.

Blast scam callers.  I nearly rip the cord out of the wall.

All through this the cat just watches, and, is that a knowing smile?

It can’t be, I’ve just learned that cats can’t smile, or make any sort of face.

I’m sure his thoughts are not a vague or scrambled, or wrestling with the ploys of several stories on the go, getting locations right, getting characters to think and do their thing with a fair degree of continuity.

The cat’s world is one of which chair to lie on, where is that elusive mouse be it real or otherwise, and is this fool going to feed me, and please, please, don’t let it be the lasagna.  I am not that cat!

Unlike other professions, it’s a steady, sometimes frustrating, slog where you can’t just walk away, have a great time, and come back and pick up where you left off.  Stories have to be written from beginning to end, not a bit here and a bit there.

It’s a bit like running a marathon.  You are in a zone, the first few miles are the hardest, the middle is just getting the rhythm and breathing under control, and then you hope you get to the end because it can seem that you’ve been going forever and the end is never in sight.

But, when you reach the end, oh, isn’t the feeling one of pure joy and relief.

Sorry, not there yet.

And no comment is required from the cat gallery, thankyou!

 

“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way: Actions have consequences

It’s time for the policewoman to arrive.

There is such a thing as pure dumb luck.

If she did not walk through the door when she did then Jack would have walked away.

From the policewoman’s perspective:

 

She crossed the street from the corner instead of remaining on the same side of the street as she did every other night.  When she reached the other sidewalk, she was about 20 yards from the nearest window of the store.

As she crossed, she got a better view of the three people in the store and noticed the woman, or girl, was acting oddly as if she had something in her hand, and, from time to time looked down beside her.

A yard or two from the window she stopped, took a deep breath, and then moved slowly, getting a better view of the scene with each step.

Then she saw the gun in the girl’s hand, and the two men, the shopkeeper and a customer facing her, hands up.

It was a convenience store robbery in progress.

She reached for her radio, but it wasn’t there.  She was off duty.  Instead, she withdrew, and called the station on her mobile phone, and reported the robbery.  The officer at the end of the phone said a car would be there in five minutes.

In five minutes there could be dead bodies.

She had to do something, and reached into her bag and pulled out a gun.  Not her service weapon, but one she carried in case of personal danger.

 

Guns are dangerous weapons in the hands of professional and amateur alike.  You would expect a professional who has trained to use a gun to not have a problem but consider what might happen in exceptional circumstances.

People freeze under pressure.  Alternately, some shoot first and ask questions later.

We have an edgy and frightened girl with a loaded gun, one bullet or thirteen in a magazine, it doesn’t matter.  It only takes one bullet to kill someone.

Then there’s the trigger pressure, light or heavy, the recoil after the shot and whether it causes the bullet to go into or above the intended target, especially if the person has never used a gun.

The policewoman, with training, will need two hands to take the shot, but in getting into the shop she will need one to open the door, and then be briefly distracted before using that hand to steady the other.

It will take a lifetime, even if it is only a few seconds.

Actions have consequences:

 

The policewoman crouched below the window shelf line so the girl wouldn’t see her, and made it to the door before straightening.  She was in dark clothes so the chances were the girl would not see her against the dark street backdrop.

Her hand was on the door handle about to push it inwards when she could feel in being yanked hard from the other side, and the momentum and surprise of it caused her to lose balance and crash into the man who was trying to get out.

What the hell…

A second or two later both were on the floor in a tangled mess, her gun hand caught underneath her, and a glance in the direction of the girl with the gun told her the situation had gone from bad to worse.

The girl had swung the gun around and aimed it at her and squeezed the trigger twice.

The two bangs in the small room were almost deafening and definitely disorientating.

Behind her, the glass door disintegrated when the bullet hit it.

Neither she nor the man beside her had been hit.

Yet.

She felt a kick in the back and the tickling of glass then broke free as the man she’d run into rolled out of the way.

Quickly on her feet, she saw the girl had gone, and wasted precious seconds getting up off the floor, then out the door to find she had disappeared.

She could hear a siren in the distance.  They’d find her.

 

If the policewoman had not picked that precise moment to enter the shop, maybe the man would have got away.

Maybe.

If he’d been aware of the fact he was allowed to leave.

He was lucky not to be shot.

Yet there were two shots, and we know at least one of them broke the door’s glass panel.

 

Next – the epilog

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

Searching for locations: Castello di Monterinaldi, Tuscany, Italy

As part of a day tour by Very Tuscany Tours, we came to this quiet corner of Tuscany to have a look at an Italian winery, especially the Sangiovese grapes, and the Chianti produced here.

And what better way to sample the wine than to have a long leisurely lunch with matched wines.  A very, very long lunch.

But first, a wander through the gardens to hone the appetite:

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And a photo I recognize from many taken of the same building:

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Then a tour of the wine cellar:

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Then on to the most incredible and exquisite lunch and wine we have had.  It was the highlight of our stay in Tuscany.  Of course, we had our own private dining room:

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And time to study the paintings and prints on the walls while we finished with coffee and a dessert wine.

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And of course, more wine, just so we could remember the occasion.

Writing about writing a book – Day 21 continues

I’m still working on Bill’s backstory, and how he got mixed up in the war, and as a general background to his situation, and life before Davenport.

This is still in his own words:

 

But whether we were stupid or naive, or completely mad, we were all eager to get into battle, filled with the sort of hate only Army propaganda films could fill you with.  They were our enemy, and they deserved to concede or die.

A fresh face in a hardened platoon, I was eager to get on with it.  They looked knowingly, having seen it all before.  No idea of the reality, and no time to tell us.  Have a few beers to celebrate, and then, the next morning, go out on patrol.  No problem.

There was camaraderie, but it was subdued.  We walked single file, the seasoned campaigners in front and at the rear, treading carefully, demanding quiet, and a general cautiousness.  In the middle of nowhere, where only the sound of rain, or the animals and birds for company, we were naive enough to think this was going to be a doddle.

Then it happened, six hours out, and just before we reached a small clearing.  I thought to myself it was odd there should be such a clear space with jungle all around it.  There must be a reason.

There was.

We had walked into an ambush, and everyone hit the ground.  I was bringing up the rear with another soldier, a veteran not much older than myself whose name was Scotty, a little farther back from the main group.  Bullets sprayed the undergrowth, pinging off trees and leaves.  I buried my face in the dirt, praying I would not die on my first patrol.

We became separated from the others, lying in a hollow, with no idea how far away help was.  He was muttering to himself.  “God, I hate this.  You can never see the bastards.  They’re out there, but you can never bloody well see them.”  Then he crawled up the embankment, gun first.

He let off a few rounds, causing a return of machine-gun fire, spattering the dirt at the top.  Next thing I knew he was sliding down the hill with half his face shot away.  Dead.  I threw up there and then.  What an initiation.

Then one of the enemy soldiers came over the hill to check on his ‘kill’.  I saw him at the same time he saw me and aimed my gun and shot.  It was instinct more than anything else, and I hadn’t stopped to think of the consequences.  He fell down, finishing up next to me, staring at me from black, lifeless eyes. 

Dead. 

I’ll never forget those lifeless eyes.  I just got up and ran, making it back to the rest of the group without getting hit.  No one could explain how I made it safely through the hail of gunfire, from our side and theirs.

Back in the camp later, the veterans remarked on how unlucky Scotty was and how lucky I was to shoot one of the enemies, and not be killed myself.  They all thought it was worth a celebration.

Before we went out the next day to do it all again.

I spent the night vomiting, unable to sleep, haunted look on his face, one I finally realized that reflected complete astonishment.

 

There will be more, as the story develops.

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

Another night of stargazing…

And this is what I found:

Neptune.

It got me thinking.

Why did we name the planets after mythological gods?

I did a little digging and found that the Romans named the five closest planets to the sun after their most important gods, this one, named after the god of the sea, which to the Romans was Poseidon, but in translation, Neptune, and matbe because it was ‘blue’.

Of course, we all know about King Neptune.

We also know about Poseidon, which was the fictional ship that got hit by a tidal wave, and was turned into a blockbuster movie.

But in terms of science fiction, which is not what I write, but I seem to spend a lot of time watching, it strikes me that seeing the moon, we could assume that the moon could be a stopping off point on a trip to the pouter planets.

I’m always surprised at the ingenuity of ‘Sci Fi’ writers in how they can turn what is scientifically impossible to live on but not necessarily impossible to get there (after a long sleep), into a place where we can destroy with equal rapaciousness as our own planet.

If I was going to write something, perhaps it would be about turning the planet into a holiday resort, staffed by robots…

Uh oh, that’s reminiscent of another ‘Sci Fi’ series. I’ll let you guess what it is.

I just want to be finished

Just when you think that the story is done, and you’re on the third re-read, just to make sure…

Damn!

I don’t like the way that chapter reads, and what’s worse, it’s about the tenth time I’ve looked at it.

It doesn’t matter the last three times you read it, it was just fine, or, the editor has read it and the chapter passed without any major comment.

I think the main problem I have is letting go.  For some odd reason, certain parts of a story sometimes seem to me as though they are not complete, or can be missing a vital clue or connection for the continuity of the story.

That, of course, happens when you rewrite a section that is earlier on in the story, and then have to make ongoing changes.

Yes, I hear the stern warnings, that I should have made a comprehensive outline at the beginning, but the trouble is, I can change the ending, as I’m writing it and then have to go back and add the hooks earlier on.  Not the best method, but isn’t that what an editor is for, to pick up the missed connections, and out of the blue events that happen for no reason?

I find that often after leaving a finished story for a month before the next reading, the whole picture must formulate itself in my head, so when I re-read, there was always a problem, one I didn’t want to think about until the re-read.

Even then it might survive a second pass.

I know the scene is in trouble when I get to it and alarm bells are going off.  I find anything else to do but look at it.

So, here I am, making major changes.

But, at least now I am satisfied with where it’s going.

Only 325 pages to go!