Tuesday, March 17, 2015
A Fresh Set of Eyeballs?
It's time. I've stared at this thing long enough. Right now, I'm half-way through my 3rd draft and I find myself consistently doing more reading than actual editing. That's not to say that there's not a lot left in my novel that needs re-working, revising, etc. I think though that, after looking at all of these words, after re-reading them so many times over the past year, I'm not really seeing it all that well anymore.
Take my first chapter. I can tell you that there's a lot that still needs fixing. I just am not sure that, this far in, my vision remains clear enough to identify what that is. I've let it rest in between drafts. There have been long stretches where I've done a lot of reading, separate from my book. My brain has taken a vacation, more than once. And still, I'm starting to realize that there are only so many times that I can read my work-in-progress.
It's time to set it all before a fresh set of eyeballs.
All along, I've told myself that I wouldn't let any beta-readers at this until I thought my manuscript was perfect. At this point, though, I feel like the entire process could use a real jump-start. Here's what I've decided to do: I've asked my wife to look at it. Once I finish my 3rd draft, she's going to do a read-through. Mind you, she has no idea (other than knowing the genre) what my novel is about. I want her to let me know what's working, 'cause I can't tell anymore. I want her to tell me what dialogue feels un-realistic or robotic, 'cause I'm now deaf to it all. I want her to pick out all the straggling clichés, cause, 'cause my hands are exhausted.
It tough, as a writer, to show your work to someone else when you know it's unfinished. In my case, it's especially difficult as this is my first novel and my wife hasn't really ever seen anything substantial written by me. To let her read what, in my mind, will only be a 3rd draft is tough.
Tough, but necessary.
I don't know if others would agree with me or decide on a completely different plan of action. Truth is, I don't really care. It is what, I believe, will work best for me. If I've learned anything throughout this process, it's that every author's process is his/her own.
So, what works for you?