I've done it. I've handed over the manuscript...handed over eagerly to someone I totally trust. Yet, even as I printed out those last pages I was editing. Thinking that I should have added this, made that scene longer, focused on that photograph because there is a link to....

But, I also knew, no matter how unfinished it was time for another's eyes to go over it.

First of all, someone has to see whether there is a story there.

I think there is, but of course the story is mainly in my brain.  As we all know, the major difficulty in writing, is getting down on paper what we have going on up there. Often so many things are overlooked because to us, it is obvious.

Naturally we know that the hero has a slight lopsided smile, we see it in our mind all the time. What do you mean the reader has no knowledge of this? It's mentioned nowhere in the book? Hmmmmm.

I know there are some people that insist NO ONE sees their first draft. Or even their second, third or seventeenth. Until it is total perfection, no eyes but their's see it.

They feel that a cold reader could easily offer feedback that will kill the creativity. The work may never be looked at again.

I, however, like to know if it's something worth going on with. The writing industry is such a hard task master. Less publications and publishers, means less chances of publication. In reality I don't really want to know the chances of being published (and yes I know there are numerous stories of books being rejected time after time, and on the 23rd submission was accepted). Does that actually happen any more?

People always say too 'that a good story is always accepted'. There is truth in that...but what happens if your good story is very similiar to one just accepted for publication? Timing is so important. And let's not forget personal taste.

The important thing is that I have a manuscript. It is still very unfinished, it has some holes (hopefully I have repaired the gaping one I discovered last month). I'm sure I have a multitude of errors. There will be name changes and character lapses. The rejigging of the time line could be all wrong. But I won't know until I get some feedback.

A cold reader, one that you trust, is to be treated like gold. Find one that is tactful yet truthful. Who is articulate and can communicate well. Who can find all those tiny mistakes, but can also see the big picture. Can see your characters and setting, and demand more from you.

So what happens when you send your baby off for someone to prise and pull apart? You could spend weeks, months even in a state of anxiety. Will they like it? Do they see what I was trying to do? Is it too bland? Will they tell me to keep to the day job (which I will anyway but...a girl can dream)

For me, I've taken a few deep breaths. For the past month (apart from the world throwing itself at me) I've focused on finishing this ms to hand over. So far this week I've got back into some poetry. And I've started to brainstorm an idea for a children's book.

It's time for other things.

Time to let it go. I can't change what my cold reader will think or say. Hopefully the words on the page will say enough.

I'll have to wait and see.



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