They tell you where I am – in this, for instance, which you could call postmodernism for the sake of convenience and with which I ended up in trying to edit two male characters into one – and in which I have (for the moment) kept the name in strikethrough of the character I was trying to edit out (though – almost – either one of them would have done) – in order to help the current reader see how this came about

Up, up, up into the air, almost to the hanging bough, almost touching it with one red-shoed toe.

Down, down and back, brushing at the foliage behind her…and then the giddy rush of cool air in the descent.

That was what she was swinging for, that cool rush of air.  The summer had been so hot.


It was Henry Donald.

His voice whispered from the bramble bushes beside the swing-tree.  “Katherine!  Sneak away with me!”

The swing swished in a slower arc.

It swished slower and slower, and Katherine let her feet touch the ground, touch, touch, slow the swing.

And then she kicked up high again, high up and giggling, because she knew Henry Donald Banner was watching her – and probably had been watching her for the last ten minutes.

She swung so high she kicked the hanging bough, and the leaves on it rustled, and the old bough itself cracked, though she could see no new splinter.

Then she dragged her feet as she reached the ground, dragged at her new red shoes, knowing the heels would show the wear quicker because of it.

Now, she walked leisurely with Henry Donald, disdaining to look back over her shoulder to see if Aunt Milly was at the hedge.

The back of her neck tingled, and she imagined Aunt Milly leaning over, the way the garden hedge itself leaned into the back lane.

“Hi –” Donald said, sloping over.  “I’ve-brought-a-bowl –” he said, slowly.

Author’s note.  First problem.  First she walks with him, leisurely, and then he slopes over.

You weren’t paying attention, were you?

Second problem.  Something’s been missed out – this meeting was pre-arranged; it is taken for granted that Katherine knows why he’s brought the bowl.


This Donald, who slopes over, isn’t the Donald who asked her to sneak away with him.

Verdict.  Unconvincing.

“He sent for his bowl, and he sent for his pipe and –”  Katherine set her eyes on Donald, but his slid away…

[Okay, okay – this is probably as clear as mud – but I’d edit out the references to Henry that I’d tried to edit out – I’d leave the authoritative author bit in – Barthes’ essay, ‘The Death of the Author’ – and worry about re-instating Henry later – he does need reinstating since this ‘edit’ isn’t working.  That’s about as much as I can explain about this for the time being.  I’m tied in knots already with all this stuff.  Do I really want to inflict that confusion on my reader?  Id speaking – why not?]

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