When the Time is Right

It’s no secret that I finally have a first draft of my third book. I’ve talked on Twitter about how my long-suffering husband has been subjected to that initial read these past few weeks.

This first independent read feels so important. Until then, the book has very much been my own. I might have talked through ideas for odd scenes, gained a couple of opinions on plotlines, but it’s very much the figment of my imagination. Sharing invites a critique and, more importantly, whether it hangs together, is believable and works.

This is probably more significant for me on this book as I’ve tried something a little different. It’s still detective fiction, but with a host of new characters and a different setting in the very real town of Stratford upon Avon. I should add – for fans of DCI Helen Lavery out there – that I’ve also started a new Helen adventure. However this is a new project, something different, so I was interested to see whether or not it really worked.

It can be problematic asking a member of your family to read your work. They may be overly generous because they don’t want to upset you. Likewise, you may feel that a good comment is ‘biased’. Luckily my husband is my harshest critic. He pulls no punches, although those that land are kind and only leave a slight mark on my pride that is easily erased. He’s not an editor, but he reads a lot. So, he checks whether the characters are believable, whether the story flows, whether I’ve tied up all the loose threads. He also corrects many of those glaring errors that, as writers, we don’t see in our own work.

The verdict? He liked it. Yay! I know I should be shouting from the rooftops here. This pile of paper represents almost eighteen months of work. But there is still an awful lot more work to be done. I need to send it to beta readers for feedback and also my editor for an opinion – being with an independent publisher means my books aren’t commissioned. Will she like it? Will she think it works for a novel, is commercial enough?

I keep looking at it and playing with different scenes. Then I pick it up and change odd words. The story itself is there, but the editing, it seems, can go on for ever. Yesterday, I said I’d sleep on it. Maybe this is telling me something: that’s it’s finally time to let go and give it a ‘real’ share. Maybe the time is right.

Have a great week, all.


10 thoughts on “When the Time is Right

  1. I get the best reads from my wife. She didn’t attend college, but she has an incredible eye. I think she holds back a bit for fear of sending me into a tail spin. If she tells me it needs work, I know for certain it stinks. It’s great when you can feed off your reader. I’ve paid for round table pitches to agents and heard them make absolutely stupid comments about pages from me and the other writers at the table. In the end, an agent has nothing but an opinion. It’s good if you have someone you trust even more.

  2. That’s a huge pile of paper! Seems daunting to me. Well done Jane, an excellent accomplishment. When you say you’re sending it to beta readers/editor etc – do you mean you’re sending your first draft? Goodness, my first draft is as rough as! Certainly not good enough for anyone to read at this stage. Hope you get to relax for a while before the next stage of work 🙂

    • Hi Samantha, Thanks for your kind words. Every scene is reworked before I have a first draft – this is just before I make any feedback changes. My initial words on the page are ‘as rough as’ too, I can assure you of that! Best wishes with your own novel. Your turn next;)

  3. That’s really great, Jane! You’re well on the way to a third novel. If your authorial sense tells you the time is right for a ‘real share’, then good for you! I can’t wait to come to a signing…

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