Thursday, February 16, 2012

Suddenly Seeking Reader

So much for New Year's resolutions, huh?

It's already the middle of February and I've spent most of my time this past month drinking, dancing, playing roller derby and generally finding any excuse not to write. My husband's been in Siberia for a month and I was honestly convinced that his absence would motivate me to write more. That while he was gone I would be so bored in the empty house that I would be forced to sit down and write. Turns out, I was so bored in the empty house that I left it at every possible opportunity and stayed out til four in the morning drinking vodka sodas and dancing to Journey.

Apparently, when left to my own devices, I revert to my natural state. My natural state being...drunk.

But he's back now and I've dutifully returned to the keyboard to write both here and in 'the novel'. It was hard to sit down and start, with my old friend panic joining me quite quickly, but once I did, it's been moving ok.

I'm currently dealing with the fact that up until now, the narrative has swirled around Wendy and has been told mostly from her perspective. The newest chapter however, is from Brandon's perspective. I'm not sure why I'm doing this, but it just seemed right at this point in the story. But I can't help wondering whether this will be sustainable in the long run. Really, it doesn't matter and I should just write it however it is coming out for now. That's what redrafting is for! But it's hard not to at least try to be thinking three, five, seven chapters ahead.

What I really need right now is a reader. Every writer needs a reader. If you write a whole novel in a vacuum, with no outside perspective (I've been using that word a lot), you'll become blind to it. Won't see when it's strayed too far off the path.

My husband's a writer. A really good one. But he's my husband so I could never trust him to be objective (even if he would be). I have a great deal of extremely smart and well read friends who I know would be willing to read for me, but they might not read with the same close, critical eye that another writer would. I have writer acquaintences, but none that I'd feel comfortable asking to read something at such an early stage. It's a big ask really. It takes time and effort and most of these people are working on their own writing while marking student's writing. It's like whether they know you really well or hardly at all, it's difficult to be honest. There's always my agent (Hello Caroline!), but really it's not her job to read early stages of first drafts. She'll get the second draft.

I miss the workshop environment of University. Lots of writers, all at a similar stage in their 'writerly life'. All expected to be critical and constructive. It's invaluable and I worry that without that I'll forever struggle to get the words right.

Reader wanted: Objective, critical but not cruel, to read first two chapters of the first draft of my barely started second novel and tell me whether it's shit or not. Why or why not? No time wasters.

Expect a writing post later today. If you expect it, maybe I'll actually do it.


  1. I flatter myself that I might have been ruled out as an "extremely smart and well-read" friend - but I'd be quite willing to be your reader.

    1. Thanks FG, I may take you up on that offer.


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