Reports are coming in

I’m beginning to get reports from my reader about the early chapters of my novel, The Sleep of Reason. I didn’t know what to expect since I’ve never formally used a reader on any of my other novels (and the times I submitted short stories to a reading group I was part of decades ago proved fruitless).

She began her comments about chapter 1 by saying it made her intrigued and eager to keep reading. That’s a good thing to have your first chapter do for a reader, of course, especially since mine does not begin with any sort of whizz-bang action or conventional hook. It’s intended to be measured and thoughtful, and yet she finds it intriguing, so I think it’s on target.

She points out a large inconsistency about the antagonist’s character. It was something I wrote about him in the very first incarnation of the story — back in the days when it was a short story rather than the full-blown novel it has since become — and I’m glad she caught it. When I wrote that bit I hadn’t seen the direction the bigger story was going to take, so I didn’t know that the character development I created then wouldn’t fit later. And since I had written and polished it over the years, I became inured to it and simply skipped over the fact that the latter parts of the story contradicted it.

Curiously, having someone else’s critical analysis of one’s own writing seems — at least in my case — to cause one to see it all with a fresh eye as well. As I’m reading her comments about the material, especially a paragraph she cites that she really likes, I see fixes needed on my own that I had overlooked in my countless readings before. I spotted a mixed metaphor, for example, that I can fix to clean it up at that point of the story and to point to some developments many chapters hence. Excellent.

Once again, I am embarrassed with myself. There was a point where I thought I had a fine, finished, polished draft ready to start sending out into the world. I am so far from that. But the good thing is I know that I am.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, Sleep of Reason

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