Following the well-known advice of William Faulkner, I have selected a few passages of my latest work and taken them out as being superfluous, self-indulgent and downright unnecessary. I’ve copied and pasted one in here, as I couldn’t bear to kill it completely…
Francesca lifted one mustard, navy and red patterned curtain and looked out.
“Maybe we should skip dinner – it looks like it’s going to rain.”
“No way, it’s our last night. We are going out, whatever the weather.”
All three girls had ironed their only dresses with the travel iron they’d found in the wardrobe, pulled out smarter shoes and made up their faces. Laura had used Rachel’s wooden beads to tie her blond hair back for her, after slapping Francesca’s comb and hair gel away.
They all looked at each other, nodding approval. Francesca was striking in a dark red shoulderless satin two-piece, Laura was wearing a navy full-length floaty wrap dress with a chunky necklace and Rachel was in a white linen tunic, a deep sky-blue shawl round her upper arms.
As they stepped out and looked up at the heavy sky, they shrugged their shoulders and carried on. Francesca had put plastic bags over her precious Manolo Blaniks, much to the amusement of her companions.
“Well, I’ll be the one laughing when you two are walking back with soaking feet.”
They followed Laura’s guide to Florence, running past brightly lit haut couture boutiques, 5 star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants. The cobbled streets were dark apart from the lights of the shops that ran alongside them but the girls were not bothered.
After a few minutes of rushing through the side-streets, shrieking at the rat who suddenly dashed across their path, Rachel stopped dead, causing the others to crash into her.
It was the sound of a violinist playing a beautiful, haunting piece of music.
“Where is it coming from? Can you see who’s playing?”
They followed the sound for a few minutes, but couldn’t locate its source. Laura linked her arms through Francesca’s and Rachel’s.
“Come on – it’s like a rainbow – we’ll never find its end. And I’m starving.”
As she spoke, the raindrops started to fall – slowly at first, and then in a clattering downpour. They all started to run, screaming and laughing, with Laura leading the way to their restaurant, trying to keep her guide dry underneath one of her arms. So much for the careful make-up, the crease-free outfits, the smooth hair. But they didn’t care, they just ran through the streets of Florence with abandon, and pure delight.