Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First reader -- time off

I guess I'm officially at the end of the third draft. I printed it out the other day for the first time and mailed it to my sister, who will be my first reader except my wife. I learned from the last book that this step helps shift me into a different critical space. Just the thought of the paper coming out of the printer and the image of some other person holding it usually helps me see the work differently. I start to imagine it through other eyes. Which means I start to see problems and issues that I was too tunnel blind to see before.

Still, I feel pretty good about it. Before we put it in the mail, I listened while my wife read a couple chapters out loud, and I liked what I heard. I could hear a few clunky sentences and one scene that still drags too long, but nothing that made me despair. My sense is that after 7 months and 3 drafts is in shape as good as the first book after 2 years and 9 drafts. (It's also half as long, so that helps.)

Which still means it needs work. I'm chomping at the bit to get more readers, but the smart play is to hold off for awhile and see what else I can figure out on my own. And I need to get some more distance for that, so I really am taking some time off. At least a week and maybe longer if I can find some way to keep myself away from it next week. We'll see how quickly my first reader gets back to me and what energy that sets in motion.

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