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            The floor was soft for a long time before we decided to rip it up and replace it. Water had been leaking next to the bathtub, but we weren’t sure the extent of the damage until we got the linoleum off and could see the rotten sub floor.

            I went off to teach for the day, and my husband tore up the rest of the floor. When I got home he had removed the bathtub—by cutting it in half and shoving it out the window, which he also removed.

            Next came the tiles, along with the sheetrock. And why not strip off the paneling—which I have long been annoyed by—and get down to the studs to make more room for the new tub, which would have to be shimmied into place? We’d have to retile anyway, and paint.

            One thing led to another. Out went the vanity and the medicine cabinet. Now we are down to a shell.

            When my three-year old grandson came over, he stood outside and looked into the room with shock. His daddy told him that the room was down to its skeleton now, and we would rebuild it.

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            Sometimes when I start revision, I feel this way. I remove a chapter, which makes the opening irrelevant, weak or rotten. Once I get rid of that, the middle is leaning to one side and needs propping. If I cut it, which I sometimes do, the ending doesn’t fit. Though it may seem perfectly good, out it goes.

            This week I am starting a novel revision class with Cheryl Klein http://cherylklein.com/ through Writer’s Digest University http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/ called “A Master Class in Plotting and Structure.” I have been going through my manuscript working with a book map Cheryl provided. I see weakness in my prose. Slightly rotten chapters with no particular purpose are taking up space, and will likely get cut. But that will leave others with nothing to lean on. It’s likely the middle will topple and the ending will have no justification.

            I will be stripping and lifting away, looking for that strong skeleton I know is underneath.Image

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