Oh Those Ambiguities…

Blogging The Editing Day #7

Usually I love ambiguity. A morally ambiguous character can challenge preconceived ideas. Ambiguous dialogue can show that the speaker is either dissembling or being awkwardly polite. Ambiguous settings are right at home in speculative fiction, while ambiguous endings mirror the bitter-sweetness of life. In humour, intentional ambiguity (pun) can be anything from clever to cringeworthy. If it sneaks in unintentionally, it can be delightfully serendipitous.

Or just plain wrong…

My ambiguous moment in Chapter Six managed to evade capture for an entire afternoon. I’d just finished rewriting a scene and was feeling chuffed about how well it eliminated a small plot hole.

A family member, also known as Beta Listener #1 (BL#1) just happened to ask how I was going.

Me: Have you got time to let me read out a half page? I’ve been staring at it for too long and need to know how it sounds.

BL#1: Yeah sure, go for it.

Me: [reading] blah blah blah … she’d called into the tenement for the fifth day in a row, only to find his room occupied by four skinny children and a dilapidated aunt—

BL#1: Wait wait wait! Four skinny?

Me: What?

BL#1: FOREskinny

Me: [winces, frantically deletes, rewrites] Five skinny children …