Lifting the Lid #3 “It’s done. Who reads it?”

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11th May 2015

“I got friends, I got family here.” Eliza and the Bear, 2013

Welcome back.

Firstly, if you’ll bear with me, I’ll take you back into the past for moment. You may remember that I sat down to write my first novel, The Radio with no background in writing. No tips. No assistance. Previously, I described the many mistakes I made when writing that first manuscript and handed out a few essential tips for those who want to write.

As you follow this blog, you’ll notice a theme running. The kinder hearted souls out there may term my stumbled walk through the industry as mildly naïve. Those who are perhaps more honest, would call it pure idiocy. This whole blog series is a beautifully laid out description of how not to go about things. Hopefully, you’ll benefit from my mistakes and my near slip into losing my mind.

Let us first deal with ‘It’s done’. I now know that this is never true. Ever. It gets to the stage that you only declare it’s ‘done’ because you cannot tolerate reading and rereading the same bloody sentence again. There is nothing wrong with these feelings. They are normal.

When I felt that The Radio was at an acceptable standard I passed it around friends and family. They were largely positive. I now know that their opinions don’t really count. The simple fact of the matter is that they are invested in me. Through friendship or DNA, they know far more about me than just a novel I wrote. They knew it had taken me years of hard work to conclude. They were hardly going to say it was rubbish. It’s similar to seeing my five year daughter in a (frankly appalling) nativity play and then when she appeared afterwards – cheeks red, eyes shining, huge smile – telling her it was rubbish.

I was buoyed however by the feedback and decided that it was unlikely it even needed an edit. The feedback was that good. I’d just run through it one more time for spelling errors that my Dad had pointed out and we were good to go. Yeah, right.

It was at that time that I stumbled across some online communities to share my work with (if you email me I can tell you the good ones and the ones to avoid). I decided that I would post a few chapters on there and get the opinion of other writers. Again, this was largely very positive. I began to believe that maybe, just maybe, I could write. Perhaps, I was okay at it. The feedback from every single person without exception rung in my ears. “It could do with an edit.”

Hmm, I thought, okay let’s give it a shot…

Next time we’ll have a look at the edit. Good grief.

‘Til then, take it easy,