… the perfect break. I’ve just come back from a short break down in Dartmoor. We go down there whenever we can, stay at the excellent Lydgate House Hotel (which I’d recommend) and walk and read. That’s walk lots with a little reading whilst we break, or walk a little then read for an hour or more surrounded by beautiful or inspirational scenery. This time, for me, it was as much inspiring as breathtaking.
I’ve just finished a novel and requested a proof copy. It’s had multiple iterations of proof-readers, first-readers, comments and such. The proof will go to a completely new reader or two who, no doubt, will have their own views, too. A product of my imagination will be exposed, once more, to a critical gaze and the red/pink squiggles will appear upon it.
My thoughts and writing exposed. Oh dear. A common fear.
There is a twist, however: the exposure goes both ways. As much as your thoughts are exposed by putting them into words, the critiquers thoughts are also exposed by their reaction to the words.
The past few weeks I’ve been happily buried in various writing tasks, though they are distractions to applying late edits to the thriller I am determined to get out in some form. After finishing one SF novellette, I wrote the final episodes in another, serialised, story and then went back to turning the serial into a novellette.
Curiously, I found the changes needed to the episodic story were heavier than I realised.
I have an excellent proof reader and some really good first readers. I am always delighted to see pink marks and observations come back on an early draft (or red, or purple – different pens, different people). I prefer pink pen marks because they stands out so well. For me, it’s not that I’ve failed but that the readers have engaged with what they have read.
And that is a wonderful thing.
I’m going through a late edit of a supposedly finished book and receiving feedback from first readers. Once this is finished, I’ll send it out to fresh readers who have kindly offered to read through it for me.
The first readers have been really useful, honest and straightforward, not just marking up spelling or punctuation mistakes, noting differences between chapters. But it is the edit itself that has been the most interesting to note: a previously relatively minor character has come to the fore and insisted on taking a larger role.
It’s been a difficult week, one in which progress on my MA has been slow. The Shipton Shorts Awards ceremony was at the weekend and, unfortunately, the very helpful lady who was organising the catering had an accident, ending up in hospital. She’s out now, with her arm in a sling, and we were lucky to have plenty of others step in to help (thanks, everyone!) but that, coupled with a number of other hiccups and over-commitment, meant the Pain Management suffered somewhat so pain returned with a vengeance. I am now working hard at recovery and I gave a choir a voice lesson last night – which is great fun – so things will be back on track soon.
More on Shipton Shorts, later, as the evening was good fun and we constructed the bare bones of a potentially quite complex story. And more on the problems associated with reworking a work, too.