That Sweet Taste of Anticipation…

Like most writers I know, I’m cursed with inherent self-doubt. I’m delighted and humbled when readers enjoy my work, there is no greater feeling for an author than a message from a reader telling you how much they’ve enjoyed a story, but every time I open a new document in Word and start a new manuscript I wonder whether I can do it again. A novel is a huge undertaking. Experience has shown me that I can write the requisite 90,000 words, bring a story together and get over that halfway mark when my mind goes blank and my brain wanders. But making it work, pulling it all together, AND aiming to produce something better each time – that is a challenge.

TTWO research notes

Last weekend I completed the first draft of the new book. It’s rather shoddy at the moment. There are gaps that stick out like cold sores throughout the manuscript, the writing needs tightening, more research is required in places and some of the characters require a polish. But finally I have the foundations of a framework to work with.

I printed it out, all 175 single-lined pages. For some reason reading from a different format (paper as opposed to screen) helps me to pick out errors and typos that I skim over on the screen, and also potential plot holes and character traits that need work. I shall work through the script myself addressing these points, before I seek other opinions on the story. My first beta-reader is my long-suffering husband (who is my harshest critic) – he’ll go through the book to ensure I haven’t left any loose threads hanging.

I admit I have to steer clear of him during this time. The temptation to lean over his shoulder, watch his facial expressions, focus on his body language and gauge what he’s making of the story is pretty overwhelming.

Also, this forthcoming week I’m taking a trip to the local fire station to check on the some final points of research which should be interesting. Since the appointment was confirmed a few days ago, I’ve been debating with friends on Twitter whether or not they’ll let me slide down the pole. I do hope so!

But for now, I’ll go back to that sweet taste of anticipation, sprinkled with a little fear, until my first reader completes his task. How do you review your work? Do you print it out, send it to your Kindle or other device? Do you use beta readers? I’d love to hear your views. Contact me on Twitter, Facebook or leave a message here.

4 thoughts on “That Sweet Taste of Anticipation…”

  1. Hi Jane, and what cool news on your writing front . . . I’m actually at the exact same moment (if three novels behind you!) with my first rather long novel in the hands of a few early readers while it winds its way through the publisher’s proofing system. I am too close to the book at this point, but I loved reading about your own process, how finishing the book first is paramount. A lovely book cover helps too! Best to you and yours and Bollo 🙂

    • Thanks Justin. Am delighted to hear that you first novel is nearing publication. Exciting times for you! Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Always lovely to hear from you and I wish you all the very best with the book. Love your cover btw:)

  2. I have not been writing long, so still not sure if I’m doing things in the right order, if at all. Sometimes this bothers me, and I wish for all the confidence of an established author, but I love to write and that carries me forward. I do have a beta reader though, so not all hit and miss.
    Time will tell if I am any good (or not) but until then I am happy to be here at all…

    • Hi Jaye, Thanks so much for dropping by. This is my fourth book and I’ve approached each one differently, so I think the learning continues. The main thing is that we enjoy the process. I wish you lots of success with yours.


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